Foot Locker buys in to the future of footwear design with $2m investment in Pensole
Foot Locker, Inc. has made a $2 million strategic investment in Pensole Inc. the company which operates Pensole Footwear Design Academy.
Along with the new investment, the two companies will collaborate on new educational programs as well as the design and manufacturing of exclusive products for the Foot Locker, Inc. family of brands.
Founded by former Jordan design director D'Wayne Edwards, Pensole works to bring new designers into the footwear industry by "offering free tuition and a learn-by-doing curriculum that teaches students the entire footwear and apparel design process," according to a press release. To date, Pensole's design academy has funneled 400 graduates into the sneaker industry since its first class in 2010.
In addition to supporting Pensole, this new investment will also allow Foot Locker and its vendor partners to gain early access to collaborative design and new manufacturing talent.
"I am excited to deepen our relationship with Foot Locker so we can empower consumers to create their future through innovative educational programs," said Edwards. "It has always been our joint mission to foster the next generation of emerging footwear and apparel design talent, and I am confident that our collaboration will contribute to the continued growth of the academy, success of our students, and accelerated innovation in the footwear industry."
Previously, Foot Locker partnered with Pensole in 2015 through an annual master class design competition, "Fueling the Future of Footwear." On top of the 400 Pensole academy graduates now working in footwear, thirty students who have completed these Foot Locker and Pensole Master classes are currently working in the industry.
To date, Foot Locker has also sold three styles created through the master class globally, all of which have had successful sell-through.
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