If you are a sneakerhead who wants to turn your passion for hot kicks into a viable career path, then you might want to zero in on this message.
At the age of 11, D’Wayne Edwards knew that he wanted to design shoes for a living, but at the time there were no resources available to facilitate his dream. He grew up in Los Angeles, CA, where he had the unique opportunity of watching famous Laker players: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and James Worthy practice in his school’s gym.
Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t his interpretations of the players that brought attention to his work– it was the dope shoes that he drew on each of them.
Via Fast Company
“I spent more time on footwear than on muscle tone or uniform,” says Edwards.
And, it wasn’t until eight years later, that he would finally catch his break, and enter the design world as the youngest professional designer in the industry. After securing a job as a file clerk at the popular shoe brand L.A. Gear, he stayed persistent in getting people notice his work him by putting sketches of his work into the employee suggestion box, everyday for six months until they finally decided to give him a shot! (Persistence is key!)
The now former Nike design executive, has designed over 500 shoes, and is actively giving back to young aspiring designers.
That’s is where Pensole Footwear Design Academy comes in. After, being apart of the hiring process for designers, Edwards realized that a lot of the young talent who was just coming out of college lacked training in footwear design.
The design academy, which was started in 2010, is an intensive course that allows 18 students to have the opportunity to work closely with Edwards, and other experts in the field. Students also learn how to do consumer research, study materials that are used to create the shoe, and create prototypes.
Via Fast Company:
“We do an average of 14 hours straight every day,” Edwards says. “We do that on purpose: The design industry is brutal that way. You will have to pull all-nighters to get projects done.”
Pensole has teamed up with Foot Locker this year to engage students in the “Fueling the Future of Footwear,” competition where the winning design will be created and sold in select stores. The winning design will be released today!
Via Fast Company
“I still remember that day back in 1990 when I walked into a Foot Locker and saw one of my shoes on the shelf,” he says. “You couldn’t pay me to give up that moment.”
All of my aspiring designers out there, check out pensole.com for more information !