A congrats is in order for D’Wayne Edwards who was named on Fast Company’s Most Creative People in 2014 list. Edwards is the founder of Pensole Footwear Design Academy, an outlet for young, talented footwear designers to learn by doing.
Edwards grew up in Inglewood, California drawing shoes and being told over and over that he would not succeed as a shoe designer, which only fueled his drive to do so. After graduating from high school he discovered there were limited options for where he could study footwear design so he took a job at L.A. Gear and went to night school. With determination, skill, and hard work eventually Edwards was hired as a shoe designer at the age of 19 and his career took off from there.
From L.A. Gear to Karl Kani Footwear Edwards kept reaching for his dream and in 2000 he began working at Nike. After only 7 years he achieved his ultimate dream of designing an AIR JORDAN. It was during this time Edwards had an epiphany. He began mentoring designers and started the Future Sole completion for high schoolers. In 2010 he worked with the University of Oregon to bring 40 kids to campus for a two-week program, which has now evolved into Pensole.
Today Pensole partners with Nike, Parsons, MIT and others. More than 60 Pensole alumni have taken jobs at footwear companies and this month Edwards launched the World Sneaker Championship that will bring together 21 students from eight regions to find the best sneaker designers in the world!