Graduate’s award-winning footwear celebrates black empowerment

Edwina Arthur poses with her award-winning footwear

Article by: David Millett

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Ravensbourne fashion graduate Edwina Arthur has won a New Designers Award for her innovative footwear celebrating black women and empowering black voices.

Edwina, who graduated from our BA (Hons) Fashion Accessory and Textiles Futures course this summer, won the Pentland Brands Award at the 2022 event, and will now embark on a two-month paid placement at Pentland as a result.

During the placement, she will receive training, mentoring from creatives, and hands-on experience on project briefs set by Pentland Brands – such as designing new footwear ranges.

She won for her final major project, ‘Make a Noise’, a women’s footwear collection that explores black empowerment through music and culture.

Edwina Arthur shoes

A promo shot showing two distinctive shoes from Edwina Arthur's collection

The range combines 3D printed and knitted elements to create a distinctive look. The soles and heels are generated using an algorithm that converts the shape of the soundwaves from Nina Simone’s song ‘Four Women’ into 3D forms.

Fabrics in other parts of the shoe also incorporate these soundwaves, as well as Ghanian-inspired patterns.

Her winning design was selected by a judging panel who had high praise for Edwina’s ‘original and progressive’ use of music and culture to influence her design process.

“Edwina’s socially-conscious design really struck a chord with us,” they said. “We’re excited to see what she does when applying that thinking to our portfolio of brands.”

Reacting to her win, Edwina said: “I was extremely honoured to win the Pentland Award. It felt like a full circle moment because my course did a brand project with them in my first year.

"Now, to be able to work with them – and my work being so different to first year that it's unrecognisable – means I've done something correctly!

“I want to say a special thank you to the support of my course leader, Liz, and the help from the prototyping team, specifically Johnathan, Samantha, and Nikos.”

Edwina’s attention-grabbing collection has been turning heads elsewhere too – it was also shortlisted for several awards at Graduate Fashion Week.

See more of Edwina's work on her Instagram, _edure