D’Wayne Edwards will receive an honorary degree from ArtCenter College of Design and deliver a keynote address at the spring graduation ceremony Saturday, April 27, 2019, 10 a.m. at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Edwards, former design director of Nike’s Jordan brand, has mentored hundreds of sneaker fans and young creatives, guiding them to become designers through his PENSOLE Academy in Portland.
Aiming to diversify the industry, Los Angeles native Edwards collaborates with ArtCenter and corporations such as Foot Locker to educate talented individuals, creating a footwear designer pipeline to employment at top brands. He has been instrumental in expanding the network and programming for the College in Portland and will be recognized for his accomplishments and the impact he has had on ArtCenter’s community.
“D’Wayne is a visionary who has made career dreams come true for so many aspiring designers,” said ArtCenter Provost Karen Hofmann. “His commitment to educate a diverse next generation of footwear design professionals and work with brands to employ this new wave of talent is an extraordinary achievement that will create incredible value for the industry and the market for years to come.”
Edwards’ start in the industry came after he submitted a new shoe sketch every day into the suggestion box of L.A. Gear, where he worked as a file clerk. After six months, the suggestion he included with every sketch, to hire him as a footwear designer, was realized. At 19, he became the youngest, and one of the few African American footwear designers in the industry. His designs have sold more than $1 billion worldwide.
Photo: Marcus Yam