Footaction is kicking off the school year with a nod to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Monday, the athletic apparel and sneaker retailer announced the launch of their No 1 Way Design Program, which will be starting off with an exclusive design competition for HBCU students and recent graduates. The program was created with the goal of fostering diversity in fashion.
“Footaction’s No 1 Way Design Program will create opportunity and bring talents from untapped communities to the forefront,” said Richard McLeod, Vice President of Marketing for Footaction in a press release. “We are thrilled to be working with PENSOLE Academy as we work to create opportunities for students at HBCUs, share their stories and cultivate their entrepreneurship. This program represents our long-term commitment to nurturing the next generation of talent, while offering them opportunities in design.”
PENSOLE is a Portland based design academy specializing in footwear. Founder D’Wayne Edwards and his staff of educators will spearhead the No 1 Way competition, mentoring contestants and offering guidance throughout the competition. Five lucky finalists will be selected to partake in a three-week PENSOLE Master Class during which they will take their designs from concept to reality as “market-ready, apparel-focused capsule collections.”
“The No 1 Way Design Program underscores the need to grow and foster diversity and creativity in our industry,” said Edwards. “We have chosen to work with HBCU students in order to celebrate the creative energy of this community and develop a platform to foster and express their individuality.”
In addition, finalists will also be granted with the opportunity to showcase their designs at New York Fashion Week in February, with cash prizes being awarded to the top three finalists. The winning collection will be produced and sold at Footaction stores across the country.
To learn more about the No 1 Way design competition or to apply for the Master Class, click here.