DMU graduate named rising fashion star by Drapers


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Adele Williamson has been named in the prestigious ‘30 under 30 rising stars of fashion retail’ list compiled annually by leading UK fashion resource Drapers.

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The Footwear Design graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was selected by the business insider, as part of its initiative to champion those taking their first steps on the career ladder and highlight young talent in the industry.

“It was a really nice surprise as the announcement was made just before my 30th birthday. Drapers is such a big name in the industry and it feels good to be recognised in this way,” said the 30-year-old from Leicester.

Adele is the first female bespoke shoemaker in the 190-year history of Tricker’s, the family-run Northampton factory famous for its brogues and boots.

She started out as an intern in 2015 during the final year of her degree, and after graduating in 2016 she embarked on a three-year training scheme. Working with a master cobbler, she learned the brand’s intricate shoemaking process which remains unchanged in almost two centuries.

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Taking between nine to 12 months to make a single pair of bespoke shoes, the process involves constructing a personal last taken from the shape of an individual’s foot. Customers include royalty, politicians and leading figures in the arts.

“As a maker it’s a really authentic place to work and I couldn’t ask for anywhere better. I’m really proud to be working for a company that was willing to invest time in training me,” she said.

“Doing an internship really opened my eyes. I thought I wanted to be a designer before, but my initial stint at Tricker’s made me realise that I enjoyed the repetitive nature of their making process and that had I a lot more patience than I thought I did.”

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Adele has travelled the world showcasing her skills, representing Tricker’s at Florence menswear trade show Pitti Uomo and touring the brand’s stores around the world.

One particular career highlight was meeting the Prince of Wales during his visit to Tricker’s last year. She was commissioned to make a bespoke pair of opera pumps for him, which included trips to Highgrove House to take his measurements and perform a fitting.

She said: “It was a surreal and remarkable experience, one I’m extremely proud to have achieved so early on in my career.”

DMU’s facilities and industry connections helped to prepare Adele for the workplace.

“We had access to all of the excellent art and design workshops, which really helped me to practice and be creative. For our model-making we were encouraged to experiment with anything from woodwork and spray painting to 3D printing and glass blowing,” she said.

While at DMU, Adele’s creativity was recognised many times. She was named in the country’s top 15 young designers in the Cordwainers’ National Footwear Student of the Year Awards, reached the top 10 finalists at MODA – the UK’s biggest trade fashion event – and was shortlisted for a coveted Christopherson prize at the university’s Degree Show.

More recently, Adele was awarded a prestigious grant from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which supports excellence in British craftsmanship, thanks to a nomination by Tricker’s.

Posted on Monday 9th March 2020

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