Footwear is a competitive industry, and its ins and outs aren’t obvious to recent grads or even to those shifting careers later in life. Pensole Design Academy is providing a space where students can immerse themselves in creative exploration of footwear design and learn the realities of the footwear industry.
Efrain, Clarence and Zia are three of the twelve students who earned Two Ten scholarships to attended Pensole this summer. Donations from generous friends of Two Ten gave these talented scholars a leg up on their competition, putting the recipients in control at a time when their careers tend to be unstable.
Lessons Learned: This was an amazing experience. I learned that no one product is created in a bubble. Several people have creative and logistical input on how shoes come to market, and a lot of unexpected people have a very strong say. I also liked meeting other passionate, like-minded people who really enjoy the footwear design process.
My Goal: I’ve wanted to design shoes since I was in seventh grade, so landing any footwear job would be a blessing. I just want to get my foot into the industry and let my work speak for itself.
Lessons Learned: Pensole stressed how important the time put into your craft pays off. That’s one thing I’ll never forget. I know there’s gonna always be someone out there fighting for the same job I want and I don’t want to waste an opportunity.
I also learned how to work with others. Community thinking is important in the design process. D’wayne told us to share EVERYTHING with your teammates. These are the people you bounce ideas off of and get valuable feedback from. There was a huge detail on my shoe that I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t communicating with other designers at Pensole.
My Goal: Take what I have learned from my experience at Pensole and from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and apply that to the footwear industry. As a passionte footwear enthusiast with strong public relations background and a fundamental knowledge of footwear construction, design, and materials, I will take those learnings and apply to my future role.
Lessons Learned: This opportunity gave me insider knowledge, industry insights and networking opportunities. In addition, I learned how to successfully turn a design brief, needs of the brand, and the end consumer, into a sample that can be commercialized. This experience narrowed my direction of where I want to be in the industry. I’m very thankful to have had this opportunity from Two Ten Footwear Foundation and the honor to learn from D’Wayne Edwards.