Foot Locker has invested 2 million US dollars in Pensole Footwear Design Academy, which offers a ‘learn by doing’ curriculum for footwear design.
Founded by Jordan design director and educator D'Wayne Edwards, Pensole’s mission is to create a pipeline of new designers for the entire footwear industry by offering free tuition and a ‘learn-by-doing’ curriculum that teaches students the entire footwear and apparel design process, from product inspiration and concept development, to manufacturing and branding.
Since its first class in 2010, the Pensole Footwear Design Academy has helped train 400 graduates who are currently working in the sneaker industry.
As well as investing in the design academy, Foot Locker has announced that it will collaborate on new educational programmes and the design and manufacturing of exclusive products for the Foot Locker, Inc. family of brands.
Foot Locker first supported Pensole in 2015 through an annual master class design competition, ‘Fuelling the Future of Footwear’, which has seen 30 students go on to work in the industry, and Foot Locker also sold three styles created from the class globally, all of which were very successful.
"Through this investment, we are excited to extend our partnership with Pensole, an organisation that shares our deep commitment to fostering education and driving design innovation and excellence in the industry," said Richard Johnson, Foot Locker's chairman and chief executive officer in a statement. "Pensole's position as a leading footwear design academy will enable Foot Locker, Inc. to deepen our relationships with our vendor partners and leverage the next generation of talent across our brand partners for exclusive consumer-facing concepts."
Edwards, added: "My relationship with Foot Locker goes back over 30 years from consumer, to designer, to educator and now partner. I am excited to deepen our relationship with Foot Locker so we can empower consumers to create their future through innovative educational programmes.
"It has always been our joint mission to foster the next generation of emerging footwear and apparel design talent, and I am confident that our collaboration will contribute to the continued growth of the academy, success of our students, and accelerated innovation in the footwear industry.”