Rob Goodwin is a couture footwear, accessories and costume designer/maker based in London.
After many years working in a freelance technical role in the TV industry he decided that he wanted to learn to do something more creative involving hand skills and craftsmanship. After initially considering classic men’s tailoring or furniture making he eventually chose to learn the craft of shoe making because he’d,“always loved the transformative effect a great pair of shoes has on a woman, like some kind of leather alchemy”.
Whilst studying for a Masters in Footwear at the London College of Fashion he developed traditional and original leatherworking techniques which were applied to his footwear designs and subsequently to his leather headwear. The final MA final collection was the first to fully develop couture, hand made pieces based on a strong narrative concept. The collection - ‘Kongo Bacchanal’ - consisted of shoes, boots and helmets that were inspired by the costumes and mask making traditions of both the Venice Carnival and of the tribes of the Congo Delta combined to create something unique, modern and original. This collection debuted at the V&A in February 2010 and caught the eye of the Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander who generously wrote,
“The show also produced a shining star in terms of footwear and leatherwork, in the shape of Rob Goodwin, whose “elephant” mask, unicorn-helmet, knee-boots and shoes demonstrated his mastery of hand-craft.”
During his time on the MA course he undertook many extracurricular commissions – most notably for British and Italian Vogue – and was chosen as a finalist in the ITS#9 Accessories Competition in Trieste (July 2010) and displayed at Vogue’s ‘Who Is On Next’ exhibition in Milan (September 2010). He then made shoes for the poster campaign for Sadler’s Wells production of ‘Shoes’ as well as a one-off pair for Save the Children’s ‘Killer Heels’ Charity Auction in 2010. More recently his work was selected to be part of the YKK/ITS ‘Future of Fashion exhibition in Covent Garden, London (Feb/March 2011). Outside of fashion he’s also made leather sculptures which have been exhibited in group art shows alongside work by Sir Peter Blake, Rachel Whiteread, Gavin Turk and Vivienne Westwood amongst others, most recently at the Saatchi Gallery in London (October 2010).
A following collection ‘The Valkyries’ produced in 2011 continued and developed the handmaking techniques, this time applied to shoes, headwear and a cape which were inspired by 19th Century militaria combined with 1950’s biker gangs. Items from this collection have featured in numerous magazine editorials since release. He is currently working on a new collection alongside designing costume pieces for the English National Ballet's forthcoming production of Stravinsky's Firebird as well as designing for other footwear labels and producing bespoke pieces for commercials, film and theatre.
“I continue to make everything by hand, including in many cases hand dyeing the leather, hand stitching seams and other decorative techniques which aren’t often feasible in factory made products – a process that I feel distinguishes my designs from others in the market. Thank you for taking the time to see what I do... I hope you like what you see”.