Leathersellers Prize-giving day

So now we have reached the end of term which always arrives punctuated with a lot of interesting meetings for the non students. Perhaps the students enjoy them too, but the impact of actually having to turn up at exams may take away some of the pleasure.

For the BSLT we have the degree ceremony and also the now traditional prize giving in the Leathersellers Hall in London. This latter had the biggest attendance I can remember in many years with the staff having to bring in extra seats for all the standing visitors that turned up. There was pretty much a full attendance from students and staff plus many of those external colleagues who help on the technical committee (discussing issues with the students during the year and looking at the experimental tannery) and LIAC, the long standing Leather Industry Liaison Committee which meets twice a year to be briefed on, and to a degree advise on, strategic issues. All these along with the press and others filled this fantastic venue, and begin to demonstrate the excitement the invigorated leather school is now creating.

Ken Nokes was the main speaker. He is a Leeds leather graduate and one of the members of the LIAC group I have just mentioned. Ken has had a long career in the tanning industry before the biog decline of the 1980s much of it with companies that become part of the Garnar Booth and then Pittard Garnar set up – such as Russells and Wilson and Tilt. Latterly Ken has been working with SATRA from which he has just retired.

One really fascinating point which Ken raised is that he sees the growth in the leather and footwear industry in China slowing as a result of environmental issues, labour shortages and wage rises. This is perhaps good news for India, Pakistan, Brazil and most of all Africa.

Winners of the BSc Prizes awarded by Leathersellers were:

1st – Tanveerul Amin

2nd – Ankit Sondhi

3rd – Eldon Leo

Winner of the Leathersellers Certificate Award was: Zufair Ahsan

Winner of the Leather International Award was: Chen Guoying Kelvin

The Fashion Show now mainstreams leather

Another major event is the University Fashion Show which has now always got a major leather element. The Vice Chancellor has made it known that the Fashion School wins by having special courses in footwear and leathergoods design as well as utilising a lot of leather in the general clothing and fashion courses. For this we thank all those tanneries who have been so helpful in supplying leather each year. To demonstrate the very close relationship between leather and fashion at Northampton prizes were awarded by Cordwainers, Leathersellers, and Church shoes family foundation. Pittards leather was a sponsor of the event. The new technical team in the tannery, especially Paul Evans played a major role this year in working with the design students on the leather ideas.

New machinery for the tannery

The first of the new machines for the tannery – a new fleshing machine and a sammy setter – have now been bought and should be in place for the start of the new session. Discussions are on going on the rest of the equipment and the layout.

Michael Redwood

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

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