Pioneering Dutch footwear designer Jan Jansen recently visited London College of Fashion for a two day workshop and 1:1 tutorial session with MA Footwear and BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear students.

Photo Roy Beusker

Pioneering Dutch footwear designer Jan Jansen has over 50 years of experience in the industry. Photo Roy Beusker.

A master of his craft with over 50 years worth of industry experience, Jan Jansen is highly regarded by footwear professionals. He visited our Golden Lane site to discuss his career, receiving design awards for his avant-garde shoes and applying your skills to the modern footwear market.

Jansen is one of the most inventive and original translators in his chosen field. He is admired for his individual design style, which is often daring with unexpected verve.

Image credit: Laura Thomas

Jan Jensen during his two day workshop and 1:1 tutorial session with MA Footwear and BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear students. Image credit: Laura Thomas.

Dean of School of Design and Technology José Teunissen and MA Footwear course leader Eelko Moorer hosted Jan, and were present to hear his advice on translating prototypes into commercially successful shoes.

LCF News spoke to Eelko about the visit. He said,

“It was a fantastic experience and great opportunity for MA students to work and engage with him on their projects. The closing lecture provided valuable industry insight for both BA and MA students, not only in the work of Jan Jansen, but also how the industry operates for independent designers and the importance of remaining innovative.”

Jan began his career under the Jeannot label, producing thousands of highly successful designs, before moving to companies like Charles Jourdan, eventually setting up his own shop in Amsterdam in 1968. He expanded into Europe and later North America, and was part of the realm of Dutch fashion influencers shaping the industry in 1990s alongside Dries van Noten and Viktor & Rolf.
Jan spoke to the students about starting a label, technical skills and dealing with industry partners. MA Footwear student Heleen Overbeck told us:

Jan Jansen is one of the most genuine and kindest teachers I’ve ever met. His experiences (of half a century!) within the industry was inspirational to hear and helpful to us, as starting footwear designers. He gave us some valuable tips through his experiences and working life when dealing with industry partners, but also technical skills he acquired through his career. He showed us how to use his skilled expertise in last making and how to combine them with modern techniques. The workshop was valuable and energising.

Heleen, also Dutch, moved to London because she believes it’s the best MA course available for Footwear Design.  She applied because the course “offers great industry links, has a core value for craftsmanship and a strong link to innovation and new techniques within the fashion industry… in my opinion, LCF and studying in London makes a great difference for any art student who wishes to work and succeed career wise within their area of expertise. The amount of knowledge, brands, networking contacts and valuable history in this city is unique and was for me a definitive driver to move countries.”

Another student who had a tutorial with Jan was Laura Thomas. She said,

“Working with Jan was fantastic, not only is he incredibly kind and humble, but he also took the time to look at our own projects as well as teaching us last minute making skills. These skills will definitely have an influence on my projects, I hope to develop this way of working further. An absolutely invaluable experience.”

We also spoke to MA Footwear student Eliana Zurlo, who reflected on the visit.

“It was a great to have a workshop with Jan Jansen. He taught us techniques techniques to learn how to create our own last and shared with us all his experience in the footwear industry.  Jan Jansen is an artist of the lasts, soles and heels, and his works inspires great admiration. It was a memorable experience.”

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Jan has at LCF for a two day workshop and 1:1 tutorial session with MA Footwear and BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear students.

Jan is often referred to as a ‘rare person in the shoe business’ because he works like an artist, designing every piece in his line, and not following fashion or what other shoe design companies are producing. He passed on this information to the footwear students who are hoping to shape the industry like previous LCF alumni including Jimmy Choo, Charlotte Olympia and Camila Elphick.

Alumni can connect with LCF in the following ways: