HOW WE CAME TO BE

PENSOLE’s “learn by doing” curriculum teaches students the entire footwear design process: inspiration, concept-development, design process, problem solving, materials, prototyping, marketing, business, networking and branding.

D'Wayne Edwards - Founder

D'Wayne Edwards - Founder

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Suzette Henry - Director, MLab

Suzette Henry - Director, MLab

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IT’S ALL POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF OUR PARTNERS

PENSOLE’s vision is to provide the entire footwear industry with the next generation of designers, and in order for us to do that we have created a COMMUNITY of PARTNERS who will share their students, expertise, products and services to help us reach our goal. If your company would like to work more closely with PENSOLE, please contact dwayne@pensole.com.

PEOPLE WHO BRING SUCCESS TO THE ACADEMY

PENSOLE features the most sought after faculty in footwear, comprised of both young professional designers and established footwear design leaders from the top footwear brands, with more than 150 years combined experience to help you with your professional development. Since the first PENSOLE class in 2010, more than 100 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, in positions with footwear companies worldwide. PENSOLE students have come from over 35 different countries making all programs truly diverse to represent the global nature of the footwear industry.

ALUMNI

  • Sese Izurieta-Herrera
    Sese Izurieta-Herrera
  • Randall Yarborough
    Randall Yarborough
  • Precious Hannah
    Precious Hannah
  • Mark San Buenaventura
    Mark San Buenaventura
  • Jacques Perrault
    Jacques Perrault
  • Ilija Nikolic
    Ilija Nikolic
  • Erin Cochrane
    Erin Cochrane
  • Edmund Holmes
    Edmund Holmes
  • Claudia Maria Lopez
    Claudia Maria Lopez
  • Quintin Williams
    Quintin Williams
  • Stefán Cristobal
    Stefán Cristobal
  • Siramol (MUAN) On-Sri
    Siramol (MUAN) On-Sri
  • Michael Cook Jr.
    Michael Cook Jr.
  • Kevin Bethune
    Kevin Bethune
  • Kalaine Noble
    Kalaine Noble
  • Glen Chang
    Glen Chang
  • E. Brent James
    E. Brent James
  • Daniel Raes
    Daniel Raes
Sese Izurieta-Herrera

Hometown: Quito, Ecuador

Education(High school or College): SCAD

Current Employer: GSI Group Mexico (Designer)

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

I have been part of the Pensole family since January 2014.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Even though Pensole is focused on footwear, it is an experience that will change you as a overall-designer and as an individual. Everything you learn will somehow help you evolve in any field of your life. 1- Communication was one of the most important things I have developed since I joined Pensole; the fact that you have to communicate your ideas to individuals from different cultures/fields has developed my ability to be as clear as possible (within design and social relationships). 2- Work Ethic, nothing will be given to you, you have to earn everything in life. It is true that you may meet new people and create important connections; however, at some point, it is all about your work and how you deliver/perform, in every opportunity YOU create.  

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

My advice to new students is to learn from every experience. Again, it is true that this is a footwear school, but to be a great designer you need to understand the needs in many fields, cultures, individuals. So open your creative mind, be adaptable, learn from everything and every one, this will strengthen you as an overall professional and help you create more opportunities.

Randall Yarborough

Hometown: Detroit, MI/Irmo, SC

Education: University of Florida

Current Employer: SKLZ

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

PENSOLE was an amazing experience that got me on the path to actually understanding everything that goes into the footwear world. Not only did it challenge me in footwear but as an overall designer as well. The time spent at PENSOLE was an extreme privilege and everything that I learned from how the design process should function successfully (Design, C&M, Development, and Marketing) to the simple shape of the shoe I use today in my current position and will for the rest of my career.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional? 

Understanding the value of a team environment. I’ve played all sports from Hockey to Basketball and being able to understand/work with others (Developers, Marketing, Engineers, Sales) to design a product has played a huge role that I gained experience from my time at PENSOLE.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Take what you learn during your time at PENSOLE and apply it to life. Design is your life. PENSOLE will help mold, develop, and produce a new and greater beginning to your design career.

 

Precious Hannah

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Education: Design and Architecture Senior High / College for Creative Studies

Current Employer: Nike / Jordan Brand

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

Attending PENSOLE was an eye opener, not only to me as a person but also a designer. I never knew how many other people craved to influence the design world as I did myself and I was surrounded by them everyday. Being able to solve problems with other creative minds not only in footwear but also the consumers daily life changed the way I thought about the craft, function and simplicity of the product.  In the end I walked away from PENSOLE more confident in knowing that there would be an opportunity to show and influence others like Dwayne influenced me with his passion for design.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Be honest to yourself and your design. If you know it doesn’t look right or doesn’t feel right fix it while you can because when its time to present, your actions will show that you weren’t passion about it the first place.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. It could really change the path that your on. It sure changed mines.

 

Mark San Buenaventura

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA

Education: BA Business-Finance (Loyola Marymount University), MFA Industrial Design (Academy of Art University)

Current Employer: The North Face

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

When I was at PENSOLE, I had said something to the effect of ‘this is the best educational experience I’ve ever had…’ That sentiment remains with me. Being taught by veterans of the footwear industry from major players such as Nike and Adidas, I felt so fortunate to have access to such professionals. I learned first-hand the process and skills necessary to communicate a story translated into a marketable footwear design. We were guided through the process as if we were actually in a professional design studio. You could say it was like an internship and a product design class melded into one. I had the brief to design an expandable baby/toddler shoe so I was luckily able to conduct research in the surrounding Pearl District community where young families were in abundance, then take that insight back to the classroom to design off an actual toddler last while getting feedback from the likes of Mark Dolce (the one thing I’ll always remember him advising me about my design–”Sexy-lize it”). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

As awesome as it was learning from high-level professionals, the experience of doing this day in and night out with classmates from all over the world (seriously.. we had Guy from Israel to Jake from Australia) was priceless. I gained so much insight from my peers and moreover, friendships. Even though we all had our own project briefs, we were all able to interact and help each other out where we could. And just the mere fact that we were all there for the same reason, there seemed to be this aura that pushed everyone’s potential. In the end of it all, the beauty in all of this is that to this day I’m still in contact with many of my Solebrothers/sisters and the teachers that passed through, whether it’s chatting with Jake about his latest endeavor or running into D’Wayne at an industry show.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Every design should have a STORY behind it. How meaningful it is and therefore, how well it is communicated affects how effective it is for the user. 

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students? 

Be inspired, and never quit on your passion–it’s what gives meaning and happiness in your life.

Jacques Perrault

Hometown: Bend, OR

Education: Art Center College of Design

Current Employer: Adidas 

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

Pensole woke me up to what the footwear industry was all about. It was a long two weeks that gave me tools I couldn’t have picked up in two years.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Diligence will never go unnoticed. In a corporate situation you have to stand up and challenge the brand and process to change the status quo.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Practice often and practice to improve.

Ilija Nikolic

Hometown: Milan, Italy (born in Serbia)

Education(High school or College): Domus Academy, Milan – MA in Accessories Design (specialized in Footwear);

Current Employer: Dolce&Gabbana (Senior Footwear Designer – Sneakers)

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

July 2010 – 2 weeks of intense footwear design training. It was great to share experience with other designers, coming from different backgrounds, but share same passion for Footwear Design. Meeting established industry professionals from Jordan, Nike and Adidas who gave us feedback and advice was priceless.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Besides making new friends, I left Pensole with more knowledge. I improved the silhouette of my drawings. For example, I was designing a hybrid between a fashion hi-top sneaker and a motorcycling boot with the contemporary basketball shoe construction. In my drawings, the silhouette was loose-laced and bulky. It was too wide on the side view around the ankle, as how many kids would ware it off-court… D’Wayne corrected it to a more close-to-foot and on-court fit silhouette. Therefore the technical drawing became more precise etc.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

The advice I’d give to future Pensole students is: work hard towards your dream, because a Footwear Designer job is one of the best jobs you can have. It is balanced by professional satisfaction and reasonably comfortable life. Even if I won a jackpot, I’d still be designing shoes for fun.

Erin Cochrane

Hometown: Edmonton, AB, Canada

Education: Bachelor of Industrial Design, University of Alberta

Current Employer: Nike

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

My experience at Pensole was the catalyst that spurred my career as a footwear designer.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

You can learn to work just about every job at a company, but not everyone can learn to be a designer. Value design and the process, because without you there would be no company.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Go to school and learn to love design and the positive affects it can have on people and the environment. Don’t just be a sneaker head.

Edmund Holmes

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Education: College for Creative Studies

Current Employer: Jordan Brand
Share your experience at PENSOLE?

The first Pensole class was very diverse in age, race, background, which made me extremely excited to learn and share, so I arrived early everyday ready. I was ready to create an opportunity for my future.

The project Dwayne gave me was creating a shoe for a cartoon (Generator Rex). I watched the cartoon, looked for things I could solve for and build a story. Each day my goal was to show progression.   We also met in groups in class to help each other move forward in each others projects as well. When it was time to prepare for our presentation. I stayed up all night preparing my work to present. The next day I was extremely sleepy, but I felt good about the work I did.

Designers from the industry come to Pensole to share their experiences and give feedback on our designs. Suzette Henry taught us about the importance of color and materials in design. Matt Rhoades taught footwear and product sketching. Dwayne always gave us insight on how the footwear industry works. Howard White, spoke and told us a very inspiring story at our presentation.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

You have to be able to work with other people. It is not an individual job. You work with different people everyday. Team Work …Dream Work

Be smart about how you build your network and reputation.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Learn to listen and filter for what best. Not all advice is right. Simplify , research, and solve. Don’t over complicate things.

Claudia Maria Lopez

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Education: ITESM Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education Campus Monterrey

Current Employer: Innovation and Design Manager at Xceed Sport, Mexico

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

One of the best experience of my professional life, mainly because I had the opportunity to met talented people and receive the most worthwhile feedback into my project.  Thanks to that, I improved my design process and my design skills.

Furthermore, there is no experience quite like knowing the footwear industry in PENSOLE with D’wayne Edwards as a mentor and Suzette Henry in the MLab.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

PENSOLE help me to open my eyes and see the world in a different way.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Work hard, become a professional and design what the world haven’t thought yet and make it real.

 

Quintin Williams

Hometown: Elko, GA

Education: Savannah College of Art & Designs (SCAD – Bachelors in Industrial Design)

Current Employer: PEAK Sports USA/Oranj Creative

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

My personal experience at PENSOLE, as I tell every aspiring footwear designer, was nothing short of amazing!  Firstly, to be picked for a group of only 23 designers worldwide was flattering and it let me know that I was on the right track.  Secondly, to connect with people that shared the same passion and love for footwear design as I did was something that I found very unique and much needed.  Up until that point, I found very few people that could really relate to what I wanted to accomplish not only as a designer, but as a shoe designer.  Being around that type of energy and environment sparked major inspiration and motivation for me.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

One of the biggest take aways from my experience at PENSOLE that helped me as a professional was the idea of how big and important networking is.  Networking is something ANY professional needs to succeed in their respected fields.  In the footwear industry, if you haven’t heard already, the circles are very small.  You will really notice how small it is once you’re a professional just by talking with a co-worker finding out that they know someone that worked at “x” brand, which in turn knows your best friend that works at “y” company.  Being at PENSOLE and building a friendship with my colleagues was a major plus for me.  Because at the end of the day, you will never know who could potentially hire you for a job in the near future or vice versa.

Another take away was the importance of story-telling in products.  Without a story or purpose, a product is just another product.  It’s those stories and meanings that separate a good shoe from a great shoe.  The story can range from purely solving a performance problem or implementing an emotional appeal within that product to pull at the hearts of the consumer.  At the end of the day, some type of story needs to be told for maximum results.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

My advice to any future PENSOLE students would be to LISTEN and ABSORB.  You will hear and speak with many professionals and veterans that have designed for some of the biggest and widely known sport brands and athletes of the world, so sitting back and taking notes will be key.  Hearing the truths of how the industry really works and what it takes to be a successful designer will do nothing but make you better.  So LISTENING is key.  Also, ask as many questions as possible.  You may never get to experience this much knowledge and experience in one place ever again in your life.  As D’Wayne told my class, “Assume nothing.”

Stefán Cristobal

Hometown: Portland, OR

Education: PENSOLE / University of Oregon

Current Employer: Nike Golf

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

I have been fortunate to have attended courses at PENSOLE on three occasions (Future of Footwear 2013, Sole of Oregon 2014, and World Sneaker Championship 2014). It becomes quickly apparent that the classes are not just focused around shoes but also personal growth. D’Wayne and Suzette challenge the students to push the boundaries of design and to innovate through problem solving.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

At PENSOLE, I learned that any decision made while designing should be based on verifiable data. Everyone will have an opinion on aesthetics, but it is difficult to argue with facts.

Also, there are no Rockstars in the design. In order to be successful, you must be able to collaborate with your peers.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Future students should come ready and willing to adapt. The design process is not linear; unexpected things will happen, and you will have to roll with the punches.

Siramol (MUAN) On-Sri

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Education: Parsons the New School for Design

Current Employer: Adidas Y3

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

I originally applied to Pensole hoping to learn more about the Sport industries. After spending 5 weeks in the program, Pensole turns out to be a school that teaches me much more than just the design skills needed in the footwear industries, but also a life skill that continue to have an impact on me both in my career and personal development.

One thing I’ve learned from D’wayne, in whichd I would never forget, is that learning is a journey, and that we should always be in a constant state of learning so that we continue to improve ourselves and be better than what we were the day before. This is something I live by everyday.

My experience at Pensole has been a life changer. The people I’d been with in the program has so much impact on my growth as a person and as a designer and we finished the program with a life time friendship. The people whom I met outside, that also went to Pensole, automatically became my guidance, as they are so willing to help out during my transition into the professional environment. No matter where you come from, Pensole brings together people and created this close-knit network.

Pensole has given us so many great experience and opportunities, but more importantly Pensole inspires us to share and pass on those opportunities to other and for me this is the beauty of it all. I am very glad and honored to be a part of this family.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

* Talent means nothing if it doesn’t come with hardwork, time management, responsibility and a good organization skill. Talent might ‘get’ you the job, but the rest of these traits will ‘keep’ you the job and get you ‘promoted’ in that job.

* No matter what industries you end up in your career, you WILL have to work with people. There is no room for ego; learn to work as a team and always be open-minded. Learn to build a good relationship with people, genuinely, and it will get you places.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

* How much you put into the program is how much you get out of the program: you have a full control of your learning experience here.

* Be open to criticism; take it as a feedback. Those criticisms only make you better and stronger and you will face it many, many times in life. Get use to it. See it as an opportunity to prove yourself.

* Do not make an effort to learn only from your instructor, make an effort to really learn from your peers in the program. Each and every single person in this program is selected to be there and they have so much to offer. Never underestimate the power these people can have on you: they are more than just your classmate.

* Believe in yourself. In real life there will be people who makes you feel like you can’t do this or that.  At the end of the day it’s you who make that decision because if you can’t even believe in yourself, how could someone else believe in you.

Michael Cook Jr.

Hometown: Florence, South Carolina

Education: Savannah College of Art & Design (Bachelor of Fine Arts / Industrial Design)

Current Employer: Global Brands Group (New York, NY)

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

My experience at PENSOLE was jam packed and phenomenal! Loads of information and important facts to note! Everything felt hands on, and the connection to industry leaders gave me insight on what’s expected and how to maneuver through the footwear industry.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Never forget to sketch!! (This is a ‘grain-felt’ skill that no one can duplicate). Although at times different techniques could be used to execute projects faster (computer renderings, etc.), ALWAYS find time to practice sketching. This will differentiate you from the CAD guys (lol I’m one of them).. especially if you run into someone important and there’s no computer around.

Always LISTEN! Take notes! There will always be a time where knowledge is being shed. You WANT to be the one soaking it in! When someone is teaching, jot things down to practice and apply later. Something I always do at my desk is put on my headphones, but turn the volume down extremely low or off….and I LISTEN. I can’t count how many times I’ve learned some of the insides of the Footwear Industry just from ‘eavesdropping’ on the things around me. The benefit about notes is that you can ALWAYS go back and revisit. I still have all of my PENSOLE notes with me today.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Be Honest: Be honest at where you ARE. Don’t try to go in pretending you are someone you’re not. You want to get help in your weakest areas so you can become stronger as a designer. It’s ok to embrace your weaknesses, and let PENSOLE refine your skills.

Seek Knowledge: Open up and ASK QUESTIONS. There is no such thing as a stupid question. The more you ask, the more you learn. PERIOD. Quiet mouths don’t get fed.

Network: Make connections. Build relationships. Those are things you can’t buy. In the long run, it’s the people you know that could possibly open up doors. Never underestimate a handshake or conversation. However, never overestimate your relationships either, you can’t expect ‘handouts.’
Ultimately, what good is an experience if you don’t actually EXPERIENCE it?

Kevin Bethune

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA

Education:

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame

M.B.A., Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

M.S. Industrial Design, Art Center College of Design

Current Employer: BCG Digital Ventures (www.bcgdv.com) … an innovation, product development and commercialization firm within The Boston Consulting Group.  Kevin is a founding team member serving as the Director of Human-Centered Design & Innovation.

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

I found design much later in my career, but I’m especially thankful for the timing.  At Nike, D’Wayne was one of the few creative leaders who gave me a shot to design shoes under his mentorship.  The experience led me to leave Nike to pursue additional design education at Art Center College of Design. Pensole Academy became an integral part of that journey as D’Wayne teamed with Art Center to run a pilot with a first wave of students.  Sure enough, I found myself a student of D’Wayne once again.  Just because we knew each other, he wasn’t about to cut me any breaks.  :)

Pensole was truly a deep immersion into the realities of the footwear industry.  D’Wayne, Suzette and other industry experts really invested in us.  There was a mixture of lecture, demos, learning-by-doing, navigating design critiques and presenting ideas with confidence.  The workload and pace stretched all of us, but the level of immersion, exposure and well-rounded mentorship was invaluable.  Innovation is hard work, but D’Wayne equipped us with the tools to be successful … not just in design, but for our careers and life.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

For me, there are 2 things that stick with me everyday.  1) there’s something very honest about a No. 2 pencil … this analog tool makes you really think about the quality of the idea your sketching  There’s power in using it to iterate faster and flush out your thinking before investing time in the computer on renderings that often mask bad concepts.  In my view, the best designs always start with analog means.  2) it’s important to have a brief with clear design constraints, but you must diverge like crazy to consider all possibilities before converging on your final answer.  At Pensole, you will sketch A LOT of divergent ideas … but you can look back at an impressive body of work and pull the best elements when you’re ready to integrate your ideas into that one optimal product.  These 2 pieces of wisdom inform how I navigate my creative process and how I coach other designers in my work at BCGDV.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Be in the moment (every moment) and humble yourself.  Really listen and do.  Don’t just talk about it … be about it and put your all into it.  Don’t be a pessimist before you even start.  Be true to the opportunity (as many would wish to be in your shoes) and really put D’Wayne’s teachings into practice immediately on Day 1.  Also, network with the experts that visit the Pensole Academy and really show them your process to get feedback that will help you downstream.

Kalaine Noble

Hometown: Scituate, MA.

Education: Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Current Employer: Wolverine Worldwide- Stride Rite

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

On the first day of the PENSOLE Athletic Footwear class, I got the impression that maybe this was a course for Sneakerheads… and that I might not fit in. But after my second class, I quickly learned that this class is what you make it, and that D’wayne really caters to what your needs and interests are in the footwear industry. He worked one on one with me and my fellow students to craft a relevant brand based footwear projects that we could be proud of.

A great aspect of the PENSOLE program is that you get to meet and speak with footwear professionals, giving you the chance to discuss what goes into the process of designing and producing footwear. One of my most memorable experiences was when Suzette Henry came in to speak with us about being a Materials Specialist. Before this, I did not even know that there was such a niche job out there. She showed us materials boards and how to create a material presentation. This is very helpful when you’re pitching a concept at the professional level.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Going into the PENSOLE program, I really did not have a lot of athletic footwear experience. The course aided in my learning of athletic footwear materials as well as terminology that I would not have known without working in the industry. I also took away with me, a solid portfolio footwear project that suited my interests and that ultimately helped me get the job that I have today. I am currently designing children’s footwear in a range of constructions. I did not think I would end up in a design position working on athletics or casual sneakers but now it is what I do every day and I would not have been prepared for the position without my experiences in the PENSOLE program.

The footwear industry is surprisingly small and the connections that you make with the professionals and the students during PENSOLE really stick and become a solid foundation for you to get that footwear position in the future.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

My advice to future PENSOLE students would be to speak up, and don’t be afraid to ask the questions that you would like answered in order to explore all of your professional options in the footwear industry. And as D’Wayne says, the footwear industry is small; be yourself and build strong connections and don’t burn bridges!

Glen Chang

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Education: Art Center College of Design

Current Employer: Nike, Inc.

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

Learning all about footwear with people from all over the world sharing the same passion… Really grateful to be part of the team.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Connections/ Network. Many of my classmates are now coworkers! Trying to help each other out.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Sky is the limit! Have fun! You are going to look back in few years and will miss it!

E. Brent James

Hometown: From: Danbury, CT;  Reside in: Baltimore, MD

Education: University of Pennsylvania, BFA Architecture; Academy of Art University, MFA iD

Current Employer: Under Armour

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

Blog link from my time there: http://counterkicks.com/2010/06/pensole-day-1-sizing-up-the-competition-by-brent-james/

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

1) Defining your consumer is key 2) Don’t be afraid to grab a pen(cil) and a napkin

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

Keep pushing yourself, you can always improve upon your craft

Daniel Raes

Hometown: Slater, Iowa

Education: Iowa State University

Current Employer: Keen Footwear

Share your experience at PENSOLE?

I would like to start out by saying that PENSOLE has made it possible for me to achieve my dream of being a footwear designer and I couldn’t be more thankful. I have been in two PENSOLE classes; the Two Ten Shoe case in January 2013 and the World Sneaker Championship in the summer of 2014. Each class was like a boot camp of like minded people working as hard as they can to soak up all of the knowledge and experience that D’Wayne and Suzette have to offer. While there is certainly a lot of work involved I also had a lot of fun working along side classmates and new friends.

Share 1 or 2 things you took away from your PENSOLE experience that has helped you as a professional?

Although I am new to the footwear industry I have been able to jump right in and start designing thanks to my experience at PENSOLE. During every PENSOLE class D’Wayne focuses on the thought process behind a footwear design. Many students, including me, came into the class thinking that a footwear design consists of a sketch that looks nice. That idea is thrown out the window as you are taught that research, storytelling and countless iterations should go into every design. I have found the process that D’Wayne teaches to be invaluable in my new position. Another benefit of PENSOLE and the wisdom of Suzette is the color and material knowledge I took away from the classes. As a professional I would have been lost without the material terminology and attention to every detail that I learned at PENSOLE.

What advice would you give to future PENSOLE students?

To any future students of PENSOLE I would say to make sure that you are getting the most out of everything you are being taught because it is the experience of a lifetime. You should also be sure to have fun and make friends, as you will undoubtedly encounter some of your classmates and PENSOLE alumni in the footwear industry.

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BECOME A SOLEHOLDER

SOLEHOLDER is a community ownership fundraising campaign that offers 50,000 no par value common stock of PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy, to the public. The purchase of PENSOLE Common Stock is a return on a donation you are making to PENSOLE and MLab but the impact you will make of lives is priceless. visit www.soleholder.com for more information on how you can help us build the future of footwear and join our SOLEHOLDER community;

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