Suzette Henry

Suzette Henry

When I am driven and listening to my instincts, I live in creating firsts.

My journey in the Fashion Industry began both in the sales and merchandising side of retail.

After much hard work and tenacity I moved into manufacturing where my goal was to learn everything and build a career in Fashion. I was lucky to work for one of the first children’s

Designer Brands out of France: Absorba. I later moved on to Guess? Apparel where I began to hone my skills developing seasonal products with suppliers, creating a sample library and basically teaching myself how to design and develop denim washes. I loved the behind the scenes movement, being creative, making things happen and trending future seasons. My next move was seamless as I thought it was time to move to the footwear industry. I began at

Sketchers as the first Material Designer, creating my second library, building a core vendor network, influencing CM palettes and lots of trend shopping. I grew personally and professionally and as my voice grew, a dear friend asked me to network in Portland, OR.

I created a new role at Nike in 2001 as Material Designer for several performance categories: driving color and material language, building relationships with vendors and innovating design processes. Within 1 year I was presenting new materials to MJ, which changed the course of my career again as I was Jordan Brand’s first Material Designer and first female in Jordan Design.

As the Material Designer for Jordan Design, I spearheaded the signature and hierarchy footwear that came out of Jordan. I worked closely with footwear Designers, developing exclusive materials and relationships which have carried over to the MLab. I am proud of my successes, including exclusive Material Designs on the AJXIX, which showcased unconventional materials used in luxury performance footwear.

I cherished each signature project from the AJXIX to 2010, which includes the AJ XX3, the 1st Sustainable Performance Basket Shoe. My first experience working with polymers was on AJ 2009 signature shoe where I learned how to apply multiple colors to dual injection outsoles.

I believe in integrating seasonal color and material direction to influence design. Introducing language early in the conceptual process begins dialogue, saves time and sustains the integrity of design.

Material Designers bring so much to the table in a world that blends the communication, science, and art as well as the five senses. It has taught me that design is not about my opinion but the expertise you deliver. It cultivates relationships that overcome time and geography.

Material design has led to my current passion, Material Director of MLab a creative material resource for Pensole Footwear. Pensole is North America’s first footwear specific school and I am proud to create the first material resource for it.

The MLab is generously furnished with the same vendor partners I worked with at Nike, as well as partners from the Automotive, Medical, Aerospace and Performance industries. Through the MLab I continue to mentor and offer educational opportunities to future Pensole students, professionals who want to empower their current role, as well as design consulting through a CMF lens.

“Always leave the door open to creative opportunities, it’s like spoon-feeding yourself passion” — Suzette Henry

MLab‘s Mission

MLab is a creative business model, which drives education and innovation through design resources. Our platform promotes an inspirational environment of comprehensive Color +Material Design education through Pensole + MLab.

We emphasize strategic design education, with access to global suppliers and vendors through a sustainable lens.

MLab‘s Services

  • Pensole CM Programs – competition enrollment
  • Professional Development – empower your current design role
  • Design Consulting – navigating brands through sourcing + research + material innovation
  • All services include access to MLab
  • For inquiries + pricing contact

MLab‘s Partners

Art Center . Adidas . Clarino . TLC . Ariaprene . AX Suede . Sadesa . Favini . Mesh01 . YuanLing . SanFang . Poron . Bond Laminates . Ecco . AsiaTan . Sappi . Eastman . Merck . Freudenberg . Chen Tai . Ding Zing . Paiho . Kuo Yuen . Youngil . Framas . Horween . Dae Sung . Cone . Eunsung . DongWoo . North American Tanning . Mogye . SBJ . Tong Hong . Dayl Mesh . Unique Group . Schoeller . Wolverine . Zin

For more information about MLab, visit

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