Textiles & Apparel / Garment


VF Corporation's Timberland®, Vans® And The North Face® brands announce 'DiverCity x DESIGN' in partnership with PENSOLE Academy™

VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, today announced that as part of its ongoing commitment to racial equity, its Timberland®, Vans® and The North Face® brands have launched an integrated partnership with PENSOLE Academy™ called DiverCity x DESIGN.

This new corporate apprenticeship program will provide unique access to professional design experience and empower Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students as they learn, create, and build a career in the footwear industry. The mission of the partnership will be to invest in the industry's future and create a program that ensures diversity of thinking and experience. Open enrollment for the program begins today and will run through March 30, 2021. Interested students are encouraged to apply at: 

https://pensole.com/master-class/dxd/ ;   

The immersive curriculum was developed in partnership with PENSOLE™, a Portland-based footwear design academy, which provides students with the knowledge and experiences required to become well-rounded professional footwear designers. DiverCity x DESIGN will equip students with footwear design principles, product creation process, hands-on experience, professional development training and brand engagement. The top performing students will be granted career mentorship with cultural experiences at each of the brand's headquarter cities. 

DiverCity x DESIGN:

  • Phase 1: The competitive program will begin with 27 students attending a three-week online pre-program that challenges their personal and professional skills.
  • Phase 2: 18 of those students will be selected by the brands to enter the eight-week PENSOLE™ Masterclass. Here, students will be divided into three teams to present one capstone project that will develop their footwear and retail industry knowledge.
  • Phase 3: Top 5 performing students will earn the opportunity to participate in a year-long rotational apprenticeship across each of the brands' HQs – Timberland® in Stratham, NH; Vans® in Costa Mesa, CA; and The North Face® in Denver, CO – to gain intimate, hands-on knowledge of different cultures and ways of working.

"I have been a consumer of Vans, Timberland and The North Face brands for decades, and it is humbling to see our relationship grow into us working together on such a meaningful program," PENSOLE founder D'Wayne Edwards said. "DiverCity x DESIGN is an amazing opportunity to reach consumers where they are and provide them a pathway into our industry unlike what they have been afforded before. Thank you to VF for being a leader in our industry and trusting PENSOLE with such an important program that will help shape the future of your company and the lives of your consumers."

The Timberland® Brand?In addition to DiverCity x DESIGN, this spring the Timberland® brand will launch a youth program in partnership with CONSTNT: DVLPMNT and PENSOLE Academy. The "Creative Discovery Tools" youth program will introduce middle-schoolers to careers within the footwear industry through a four-week online footwear and color design program. The goal is to scale the program over the next five years to span middle school, high school, and post K-12 opportunities that focus on developing industry-ready designers.

"Our partnership with the PENSOLE Academy is part of the work to build a more inclusive and equitable future," explained Chris McGrath, Vice President of Global Footwear Design, Timberland®. "Through the program, aspiring BIPOC designers will gain insight and experience that will prepare them to launch into a lifelong career. DiverCity x DESIGN, coupled with our youth program, creates the platform to nurture talent at a young age, and opens doors for BIPOC student to realize a dream job in a field, and with a brand, that may have felt unattainable." 

The Vans® Brand?"As a brand engrained in youth culture and centered around enabling creative expression, we are excited to partner again this year with D'Wayne and the PENSOLE team. This partnership is not only a great opportunity for us to work closely with creative students and provide them insight into what it's like to work at Vans but we are especially proud to support PENSOLE's important mission of growing the representation of Black creatives in the footwear industry." Mark Haskins, Vice President of Global Footwear Product Design, Vans®.

The The North Face® Brand?"The North Face has always been about encouraging exploration everywhere, from the highest mountains to the city streets," said Jean-Marc Djian, Global Vice President of Footwear for The North Face®. "As we continue to invest in and expand our footwear innovations, we are excited to work with PENSOLE to create new opportunities for up-and-coming designers, and ensure the creativity, expertise and expression of the designers we work with is as diverse as the communities who use our footwear to explore."

DiverCity x DESIGN Overview:

• Criteria:

- Applicants must be BIPOC, 18 years of age and actively enrolled in school.

- Career Education: Footwear Design

• 2021 Program Dates:

- March 9 - March 30: Open Enrollment

- April 19 - May 7: 27 students accepted for a three-week online (pre) program. Laptops to be provided.

- May 10 - July 10: VF brands will select the top 18 students from the pre-program to continue to the eight-week online PENSOLE Masterclass.

• At the close of the program, students will prepare a final presentation based on which five students will earn a one-year paid development program experience at the three VF brands.

• After the completion of the one-year development program, VF, its brands, and the students will discuss opportunities for continued career growth.

• Additional program details and the application can be accessed here.

The partnership with PENSOLE™ is the first of many new programs and actions implemented by VF and its brands to advance racial equity within the company and beyond. See more at vfc.com

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