Preeminent footwear designers D’Wayne Edwards and Chris Dixon sit and share what a strong foundation has meant to them and their respective careers. There is nothing like having a purpose rooted in what you want to achieve in life, as well as the impact that you want to have.
Dr. D’Wayne Edwards is a renowned Black designer in the footwear industry, with a career of over 32 years with L.A. Gear, Nike, and Jordan Brand as part of his legacy. After retiring, Edwards became the founder and president of Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC) in 2010. He cites the impact of his brothers, Ronnie and Michael, for his love of drawing and his mother’s faith as part of what fueled his creative journey. Edwards noted during his tenure at Jordan Brand that there weren’t enough team members who looked like him so he worked to encourage those up-and-coming to get inspired. “Kids would email me and say, ‘Hey could you look at this,’ and that became my new addiction.”
That would lead him to cross paths with Chris Dixon, whom he met while a finalist in the FutureSole World Sneaker Championship in 2017. Dixon recalls being awestruck at seeing Edwards: “I told him ‘I’ve been wearing your shoes my whole college career, and I didn’t even know it was you doing it.’ He just smiled and said, ‘Your turn is coming.'” Dixon would go on to win the contest and begin an illustrious career after graduation from Pensole Academy (the professional pipeline institution founded by Edwards), leading to him being a senior designer for Timberland and the founder and creative director of CNSTNT DVLPMNT.
Dr. Edwards also talks about Target’s involvement in the mission of Pensole, from aiding in the financing of Detroit, Michigan’s only Historically Black College & University to aiding prospective students in their efforts to attend. “A lot of these kids don’t even have the money to buy airline tickets to come to us or even have the money to eat. Some of the financing from Target helps to fill in those gaps.”
Check out the A Strong Foundation story featuring D’Wayne Edwards and Chris Dixon above.
Check out A Strong Foundation Behind the Scenes below.