President of Detroit’s Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design, D’Wayne Edwards invites the city to its reopening through a series of events and workshops catered towards sneaker heads and designers.
The fourth annual Black Footwear Forum (BFF) event will feature speakers and panels held at Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC) in Detroit, Sept. 16-18, in partnership with the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA).
“Since its first year, the Black Footwear Forum has evolved into a major industry gathering to celebrate, inspire and acknowledge Black creatives globally who are responsible for the culture of our industry. This year it’s happening in the only city in the US designated a UNESCO City of Design — Detroit, Michigan.”PLC FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT D’WAYNE EDWARDS
At the 2022 BFF, attendees, executives, industry leaders and the community of Detroit will gather for three-day FREE event of celebrations, conversations, and networking as BFF continues to highlight, strengthen, and support Black professionals globally in the footwear industry.
“I can’t think of a better city than Detroit, a better place than the Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design, and a better time than now for the BFF to reconvene in-person after a multi-year hiatus,” said FDRA President and CEO Matt Priest. “Excitement for this event has been off-the-charts as registrations and corporate support continue to roll in. BFF Detroit will be the highlight of our year.”
Schedule of Events
Thursday, Sept. 15 officially kicks off BFF with the first of many community activations for Detroit residents. A collaborative partnership between Merit’s Fate Program and PENSOLE alumni, who are designers for some of the top brands in the industry, will conduct a PLC footwear design workshop at the PLC | FDRA | BFF Lounge by StockX in downtown Detroit. This workshop will also be open to the public, who can meet with other Black design leaders from the top brands.
“A Kids Book About Design” by A Kids Company About launch will feature College of Creative Studies graduate and award-winning designer, entrepreneur and educator Jason Mayden. Following will be the BFF VIP dinner for staff, speakers and sponsors, at the Detroit Pistons Performance Center, overlooking the Pistons’ practice facilities. And the evening will close with a mixer for all attendees at the PLC | FDRA | BFF Lounge by StockX in downtown Detroit.
Saturday, Sept. 17, BFF will begin with opening remarks from PLC President and founder D’Wayne Edwards and Terrence Floyd, activist founder of We Are Floyd and brother of George Floyd, followed by a variety of talks and panel discussions. A schedule of featured panels and speakers:
Tappedin: Speaking about the new roads that have been paved for women in the footwear industry
● Jazerai Allen-Lord, award-winning and internationally acclaimed sneaker strategist and designer
Blacklight: Role Models / Hometown Hero
● Cheresse Thornhill-Goldson, design director for Adidas S.E.E.D.
Black Genius: The importance of role models
● Kevin Carroll, author, speaker, performance coach, and founder of Katalyst
Storytellers: Speakers share personal projects, or projects of which they are most proud
● Tyrel Kirkham , vice president for brand and marketing strategy for the Detroit Pistons
Tappedin: Career Pathways + storytelling
● Garry Thaniel, general manager for sneakers at eBay
Blacklight the Industry: A Conversation about protecting your IP
● Jason Mayden, designer, educator, and entrepreneur author of “A Kids Book About Design”
● Hosted by James Whitner, American fashion entrepreneur; owner of streetwear boutiques Social Status, A Ma Maniere, and A.P.B.
Dinner and Mixer
● Downtown at the PLC|FDRA|BBF Lounge by StockX
Sunday, Sept. 18 the forum will close with the BFF Black Women’s Brunch and Adidas S.E.E.D Creator camp downtown at the PLC|FDRA|BBF Lounge by StockX, downtown Detroit.
All downtown events are free and open to the public all four days.
Other guests scheduled are:
- ● Matt Priest, president and CEO of FDRA
- ● April Walker, fashion icon, creator, author, educator
- ● Jeffrey Henderson, footwear designer and founder of AndThem
- ● Portia Blount, VP of apparel for Reebok
- ● Scoop Jackson, author and award-winning journalist for ESPN
- ● Sydney James, interdisciplinary artist
- ● Jessica Smith, director of strategy at Adidas
- ● Alexander John, international footwear designer
- ● Lauren Guthrie, VP for global inclusion, diversity, equity and action of VF Corporation
- ● E. Scott Morris, chair of footwear for Pensole Lewis College
- ● Ashley Comeaux, VP of product design at Allbirds
- ● Damien Hooper-Campbell, chief impact officer at StockX
- ● Liz Connelly, senior manager for design education and growth at Adidas
- ● Che Pope, Grammy-winning producer at WRKSHP