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PENSOLE|MLab Powered by Vibram will Challenge 20 Aspiring Designers from Around the Globe to Design Shoe with Key Materials Vendors and New PENSOLE-Specific Vibram Outsole

PORTLAND, Ore. – December 19, 2016 – PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy today announced the launch of PENSOLE|MLab Powered by Vibram, a hands-on, four-week, intensive design immersion program focused on material design principles, according to PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards.

“We have always believed in the importance of having color and materials as part of the PENSOLE curriculum,” founder of MLab and PENSOLE material director Suzette Henry said. “And as industries shift how they manufacture, the need for specialized color and materials skills grows.”

Edwards and Henry felt the timing was right to launch color and material focused courses; as such, both PENSOLE footwear and material design students will be given insights that will prepare them for these global roles.

The PENSOLE|MLab master class will take place from February 20 to March 17, 2017, at PENSOLE in Portland, after a global search for the best 20 aspiring designers—comprising 12 in footwear, five in color and materials, and three in brand design—is completed. The students will compete to design an athleisure shoe using materials from PENSOLE|MLab’s key vendors, with a Vibram outsole developed specifically for this course. The winning designers will receive compensation from Vibram for the design, which will be sold globally.

imlab_original-file_300-01Registration begins today. Design students wishing to be considered for the class can obtain submission details and apply at The deadline for registration is January 15, 2017.

Vibram will provide scholarships for the hand-selected aspiring designers to experience PENSOLE’s rigorous “learn by doing” curriculum, wherein students are introduced to what it’s like to work as a professional footwear designer.

The PENSOLE|MLab master class will feature industry professionals ranging design directors, designers, design recruiters, technicians and developers, all there to share knowledge to inspire, guide and challenge young designers to reach their creative potential.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

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, comprised 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 27 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 185 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, in positions with footwear companies worldwide, including Columbia Sportswear, Timberland, Converse, AND1, New Balance, Wolverine, Cole Haan, Under Armour, Keen, Ariat, Stride Rite, adidas, JORDAN, Kenneth Cole, Reebok, ECCO, Android Homme, Carcel and Nike.

Vibram® is the world leader in the development and manufacturing of high-performance rubber soles for outdoor and leisure activities, workwear, fashion, orthopedics and correction. For 80 years the yellow octagon that symbolizes Vibram® has been synonymous worldwide with quality, performance, safety and innovation in the footwear industry. With its international headquarters in Albizzate (Varese) Italy, Vibram® produces more than 40 million soles every year, dedicates over one million kilometers to testing, is present in 120 countries and has manufacturing, research and representation bases in the USA, China, Japan, Brazil and Italy.


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