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Allbirds and PENSOLE Academy Introduce the BRD Program: Better Responsible Design



Allbirds and PENSOLE Academy Introduce the BRD Program: Better Responsible Design 

Allbirds and PENSOLE join forces for an eight week course focused on designing a better future


PORTLAND, OR – April 19, 2021 – Allbirds, a leading innovator in footwear and apparel, today announced a new integrated program with renowned footwear academy PENSOLE, aimed at identifying and nurturing the next generation of inclusive, sustainability-driven designers.

The BRD (Better Responsible Design) Program, will give a diverse group of 20 young designers access to leading industry experts and unique professional instruction, focused around equipping the design community of the future with the tools theyneed to create environmentally-conscious work. Allbirds and PENSOLE will specifically source talent from HBCUs and art and design colleges nationwide, alongside gifted amateurs who are looking to break into the footwear space. Participants will emerge with an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working with natural fibres through guest lectures from Allbirds product leaders and the Color Material Accelerated program from MLab at PENSOLE, as well as a how to design with carbon intensity in mind.

At the end of the eight week program, two graduates will be chosen to join Allbirds for a three month internship, where they will continue to refine their knowledge of the sustainable design space and explore bringing their ideas from the course to reality. Rather than just crafting hypothetical products, students of the BRD Program have the potential to play a pivotal role in ideating, designing, and developing actual commercialized Allbirds shoes.

Applications for the BRD program are open today (April 19) through Monday, March 24. The course will run for 6 weeks starting Monday, June 7th.

“The next generation of designers will be instrumental in developing the kind of innovative solutions required to push the footwear industry toward a more sustainable future. It’s of the utmost importance that we create an inclusive space for creative ingenuity to flourish, and we could not have found a better partner than PENSOLE to help us achieve this goal.” – Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds


“I first started PENSOLE to open up some of the same opportunities I’ve had throughout my career to students whose talent might have otherwise been overlooked. We’re encouraged to see Allbirds invest in the potential of these designers and look forward to working together to help spur a sustainable revolution in design.” – Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, founder of PENSOLE


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 footwear, composed of both young professional designers and established footwear design leaders from the top footwear brands, with more than 100 years combined experience to help you with your professional development.

D’Wayne Edwards, a celebrated member of the global footwear community for the last 32 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.

About Allbirds

At Allbirds, we believe in making better things in a better way. Since inception, we have balanced purpose and profit, with a focus on combating the proliferation of petroleum-based materials in apparel and footwear. Our story began with superfine New Zealand Merino Wool, but we have since developed a Eucalyptus fiber knit fabric and a Sugarcane-based EVA foam, which we open-sourced for all to use, including competitors. We believe that collaborative development and the sharing of technologies will help protect the planet for future generations. Let’s get better, together.



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