Pensole founder helps bring shoe design classes to LA area


The founder of a Portland-based shoe design school offers high school design classes in Inglewood, Calif., where he grew up.

PORTLAND, Ore — Portland’s own Pensole has partnered with Adidas and the Iovine and Young Academy, founded by Jimmy Iovine and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, to bring shoe and apparel design lessons to high school students in Inglewood, CA.

The classes, called Wood U, stand out for Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards among other partnerships he has with the German brand. Bringing shoe design lessons to students who wouldn’t otherwise have them is Pensole’s whole mantra, but it’s special this time around, Edwards said, because he’s originally from Inglewood.

“It was honestly a dream come true because I had this concept of Wood U about 20 years ago, and it was just something that was sitting on a Word document on my computer. So when Adidas told me approached about this opportunity, I was extremely touched – emotional, honestly. Even during the program, it was emotional for me too, just because these children needed it. They need hope like I needed it 30 years ago,” Edwards said.

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Wood U’s first installation involved 15 students from two Inglewood-area high schools: Inglewood High School and Morningside High School, which initially scared Edwards because the two high schools are bitter rivals. Students at either high school have an unspoken rule, he said: You don’t talk to kids at the other school.

Read the full article in the Portland Business Journal.

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