Erin Corrian-Alexis holds nothing back when it comes to designing footwear and creating art. The Londoner is at the heart of the capital’s youth culture and art scene, her designs are conceptual and creative, she’s taught live drawing sessions at the V&A with gal-dem and her illustrations empower women with Afro hair, even Drake is a fan of her work.

Having recently showcased her BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation work at LCF BA17 Spitalfields Market and Mare Street, Erin is a politically engaged artist spending her time between personal projects and industry work. Her latest project, The Big Cartel, started as illustrations and live drawing of women close to her but has received plenty of positive attention that she’s turning it into a business.

We talk to Erin to find out more about her footwear designs, customising trainers and having one of the world’s biggest musicians as a fan of yours.

Can you tell us a little bit about Erin Corrian-Alexis and what you do?

A little bit about me… I’m a 23-year-old north west Londoner. A sweet Aquarius girl who’s graduating with a degree in footwear design and innovation this summer and paints whenever she can find the time.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

You recently completed your Footwear degree. When did you know you wanted to study at LCF?

When I was in college I did a few UAL short courses available free to students whose parents had not attended university (these courses are no longer available because the Tory government doesn’t care about working class people). (- do check out UAL Insights for the new outreach courses – ed). There I met tutors at CSM who helped me get onto the foundation where I found product design.

How would you describe your style and aesthetic?

A conceptual designer with a strong interest in functionality. I guess aesthetically my style is quite sturdy…

Trainers or shoes…

Wearing trainers, designing shoes.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

We’re huge fans of your illustrations/painting on footwear. How did all of that start…

I think everyone wanted/expected this for me because I paint well and make shoes but customising shoes is so popular these days and I prefer less traditional painting when it comes to clothes.

You’re also the creative mind behind the Big Cartel, a beautiful illustration collection of women. Can you tell us the story behind the Big Cartel and what you want from the project?

I have always loved painting so I kept it up whilst studying. My series on women which I made available on Big Cartel started as a personal project but received a lot of positive attention online so I thought I may as well make some money from them.

The Big Cartel, a project by by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

The Big Cartel, a project by by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

We noticed that Drake is a fan of your work. How does it feel being recognised by Champagne Papi?

I don’t know how big a fan of my work he is but my followers have gone up since he’s been liking so thanks, Champagne Papi.

Cordwainers Footwear graduate Erin Corrian-Alexis with musician Drake.

Cordwainers Footwear graduate Erin Corrian-Alexis with musician Drake.

Why do you love what you do?

I love being in my own head and having the space to be in my own head. I come from a big family and have loads of people around me so I find it difficult to be alone. In fact, I am never actually alone when I get to be it is because I’m working so it’s almost a retreat.

You’ve also taken your live drawing to the Victoria & Albert museum last year with gal-dem. Did you always want illustration and live drawing to be a big part of your work?

Yes! Live drawing has always been something I’ve really enjoyed and it’s only ever been used in developing my skills.

Congratulations on having your final footwear collection shown at LCFBA17 in Shoreditch earlier this month. Can you talk us through your final collection?

Through my collection, I’ve chosen to celebrate Afro hair and intricate techniques that go into maintaining it. Mongolian Fur runs throughout the collection and can be manipulated to the desires of the wearer using ‘How To’ cards that provide instructions for styling. A ‘Care Kit’ also accompanies the collection and features products to rejuvenate and moisturise the fur.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis, BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation.

What are your plans post-graduation?

Ultimately I’d like to start something of my own but right now there is a lot I still need to learn. I’ll be starting a design job soon where I hope to learn from someone for a few years.

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