PENSOLE – School of Footwear Design

D’Wayne Edwards was the former footwear design director, Jordan Brand, a division of Nike Inc. Born with a gift of being able to draw anything he could see and little did he know that a No. 2 pencil would help him discover and live out his dreams.

Raised in Inglewood, CA, D’Wayne became one of the First African-American footwear designers and the youngest footwear designer in the footwear industry when L.A. Gear hired him as an entry level designer at age 19 in 1989.

In 1989, D’Wayne was one of the first African American footwear designers in the industry and has dedicated his career to creating a path for more African American designers to enter the footwear industry. To date, there are less than 80 African American footwear designers in an industry of over 1,500. One of D’Wayne’s goals is to provide aspiring African American exposure to the footwear industry and the multiple career opportunities available.

In 2010, D’Wayne decided to start a new chapter in his career with the goal of the supplying the industry with the next generation of footwear designers by establishing one of the first, footwear design schools in the U.S. By the name of Pensole in partnership with two of the most prestigious design schools in the world; Parson The New School for Design in New York and Art Center College of Design in California.

Pensole’s students have the opportunity the emphasize in the following areas: Footwear Design, Color Design, Material Design, SOLEcial Design, Stem Sole, and Sole Business. Pensole’s current sponsors include: Jordan, Cole Haan, Converse, and Nike.

[dt_sc_pullquote type=”pullquote3″ icon=”no” align=”center”]In the summer of 2010, D’Wayne Edwards and Matt Rhoades launched Pensole in partnership with the University of Oregon for 40 aspiring designers from around the world.[/dt_sc_pullquote]

In order for D’Wayne to achieve his goal he would like to create strategic partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through partnerships with select larger universities that will allow HBCU students to attend Pensole at their university.

[dt_sc_pullquote type=”pullquote1″ icon=”no” align=”center”]PPDG is working with Pensole to develop a partnership with Georgetown University. Georgetown would serve as one of the select larger universities that would offer students at the 13 HBCU’s in the Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area to attend Pensole School of Footwear and Design.[/dt_sc_pullquote]

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Monica Poulard Hawkins
Founder & CEO I Truth Teller l Thought Leadership l Creator
Monica Poulard Hawkins is Founder, CEO and Connector of Professional Pipeline Development Group (PPDG), a boutique management consulting firm that houses world-class thought leaders, strategists, and business executives in serving its client base of Fortune & Global 1000 Corporations, Heads of State, and Non-Profits. We work to help them reimagine their organizations for the future ad build capacity for impact in new ways.