Portland-based PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy has launched a KickStarter campaign that aims to provide 100% free programs for all students.
Founded by long-time footwear designer D’Wayne Edwards, PENSOLE teaches its students the entire footwear design process — from the initial concept-development to the marketing and branding of a product.
According to Edwards, the purpose of PENSOLE is to provide the footwear industry with a new design talent.
“2017 has already proven to be PENSOLE’s busiest programming year since its inception,” Edwards said in a statement. “In our mission to offer master-class design curriculum with no socioeconomic barriers, while providing the footwear industry with a farm system for new design talent, we believe an aggressive crowdfunding initiative will fast-track the process, target a younger audience, and enable us to reach a larger global audience than we have so far.”
The “Support Free Education” KickStarter program is multi-tiered with clear goals and intentions set at every tier. If the first tier of $50,000 is reached, PENSOLE will produce a limited, handcrafted-in-Portugal pair of sneakers designed by PENSOLE alumni Maxwell Lund and will be given to the first 2,017 backers that pledge at least $217. When $50,000 is reached, PENSOLE will also establish PENSOLE SneakerHead of State that will promote footwear design/industry awareness to high school students nationwide, in a form of design focused competitions.
Additional tiers from $75,000 all the way to the ultimate goal of $1,000,000 will trigger different initiatives, such as a free after school shoe making program, free international college program called PENSOLE Pssprt, which allows students from around the world to engage in design courses online, and other programs aimed towards young aspiring footwear designers. When $1,000,000 is reached PENSOLE will be able to renovate and upgrade its Innovation Studio.
Since PENSOLE was founded in 2010, more than 200 graduates have gone on to work at brands like Nike, Jordan, New Balance, adidas, Under Armour, And1, Kenneth Cole, and many more.
You can show your support for PENSOLE here.