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2015 FN Platform Challenge


This Year’s Global Design Competition to Focus on Medical Footwear Solutions

Portland, OR – March 24, 2015 – PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy, in partnership with FN Platform, today announced the launch of the 2015 FN Platform Challenge, a hands-on, four-week, intensive footwear design master class to identify and introduce aspiring designers globally to the art of footwear design, according to PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards.

The FN Platform Challenge will take place June 1-26 at PENSOLE in downtown Portland and will feature a new category – medical – this year, in addition to men’s and women’s.

“When I founded PENSOLE my goal was to solve real footwear problems, and this year we are focusing on ‘improving the human condition.’” Edwards said. “So we will be asking the public to submit medical conditions they have themselves or are aware of. We will then select four of the most challenging problems to solve during the class.”

Medical conditions can be submitted as a written idea or YouTube video through a dedicated email address: 2015FNPC@PENSOLE.COM. Those whose conditions are selected as projects for FN Platform Challenge will be notified, and students selected for the FN Platform Challenge will work to develop a footwear solution.

The 2015 FN Platform Challenge will feature competitions in a total of three categories: men’s, women’s and medical. In each category, students will be divided into two teams of three students (four Footwear, one Color/Material/Finish [CMF], one Business). At the end of the class, a panel of industry professionals will select finalists—two in Footwear, one CMF and one Business student—in each category to attend the FN Platform tradeshow in Las Vegas, where they will display their final designs. On the second day of FN Platform, industry professionals will select one team in each category to be crowned the 2015 FN Platform Challenge winners.

PENSOLE’s “learn by doing” curriculum introduces students to the product creation process including:

• Footwear design: consumer profiling, storytelling, sketching, tech packs, branding
• CMF: leadership, terminologies, storytelling, palette development, presentation
• Business of design: industry trends, product briefs, strategic thinking, marketing plans

Applicants much choose an area of interest and submit the following:

• Footwear: One hand-sketched (only) original footwear design
• CMF: One original material + color palette showing the use of both materials and color arrangements
• Business by Design: Three examples of existing companies/brands that have a new approach to creating and selling products and/or services

All entries must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m., Sunday April 26 through in order to be eligible to win a scholarship to attend this class. Applicants who are accepted into the FN PLATFORM CHALLENGE will be notified on Friday, May 1. All entrants must be at least 18 years of age.

“The FN Platform Challenge is one of PENSOLE’s most celebrated programs,” Edwards said. “There are very few avenues for young, up and coming designers to have their work shown at the industry’s largest trade show, among some of the biggest names in the business.”

PENSOLE’s “learn by doing” curriculum teaches students the entire footwear design process: inspiration, concept-development, design process, problem solving, materials, business, networking, marketing, and branding. PENSOLE features the most sought after faculty in the footwear world, comprised of both young professional designers and established footwear design leaders from the top brands, with more than 100 years combined experience to guide students in their professional development.

D’Wayne Edwards, a celebrated member of the global footwear community for the last 26 years, founded PENSOLE to give talented young design students—regardless of socioeconomic background—an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, without financial barriers, and to provide the industry with a farm system for the next generation of footwear designers.

Since the first PENSOLE class in 2010, more than 100 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, for footwear companies worldwide, including Columbia Sportswear, The North Face, Timberland, Converse, New Balance, Cole Haan, Under Armour, Keen, Stride Rite, adidas, JORDAN, Kenneth Cole, ECCO, Reebok and Nike.


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