The participants were chosen through a rigorous national submissions process that began in spring 2021. Once selected, the students received online instruction weekly for 12 weeks. The pro bono instruction combined content from Yellowbrick’s Sneaker Essentials course (developed in collaboration with Fashion Institute of Technology and Complex) with live mentorship from leaders at Reebok and APB. The program covered sneaker development from concept to market, including design, sales, marketing and the C-to-C retail market. All participants produced a final project that included a unique sneaker design, production and retail and go-to-market strategies.
As a bonus project and opportunity, the three students who submitted the most compelling designs and plans were invited to work together to develop a shoe for production and sale through APB. The selected design came from Isaac “Ikey” Reeves, a creative director and artist from Lafayette, Ind. Two other students, Ashley Hamilton and Ben Gass, were selected for their additional talents and helped execute the production and marketing behind the shoe.
“We were simply amazed by the dedication we saw in these learners – joining the sessions every Saturday and handling tough assignments during the week while also working jobs or attending school,” says James Whitner, owner and founder of The Whitaker Group, the retail company that owns APB. “We saw real passion and commitment, and we’re extremely happy for these three students.”
“Our Sneakers Essentials course has been elevated through the work that we did with Reebok, APB and JFF,” says Michael Godshall, chief creative director, Yellowbrick. “Students were able to interact directly with Reebok and APB experts representing all facets of the industry. We’re immensely proud of what all the participants accomplished. We look forward to working with our partners on future career pathway programs.”
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