A great new opportunity was presented to students who wished to get one foot into the sneaker industry through a new online education and mentorship program.
The program — led by industry giant Reebok — worked with various partners to complete this tremendous for young designers wanting to make an impact on sneaker culture.
Who Made it Possible?
The iconic lifestyle brand Reebok partnered with Yellowbrick, an online platform focused on Creator Economy, to create their first mentorship program. Other partners were APB, a fashion and sneaker specialty retailer, and Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national education and workforce nonprofit.
Working with a total of 36 individuals ranging in ages from 17 to 20, the program looked to develop their skills, experience, and knowledge to pave their path toward the sneaker industry.
Reebok’s Creator-Focused Program
During its launch, the program chose 36 participants who went through a national submission process that started in the spring of 2021. Those selected engaged with online schooling combined with Yellowbrick’s Sneaker Essentials course for 12 weeks. This process also involved Reebok and covered everything to know about sneaker development.
Each participant then created a final project that showcased a unique design. Sean Finucane, the Vice President for the Wholesale division at Reebok, commented, “With the support of this program, these gifted students now possess valuable experience and portfolio pieces that will help them demonstrate their talents to the industry regardless of the path that they’ve taken. We are honored to have been a part of that process.”
This Program Led to an Opportunity
Three students who had the best designs were also given a bonus project and the opportunity to work together to create a shoe to be produced and sold.
The winning design was the work of creative director and artist Isaac “Ikey” Reeves, who hails from Lafayette, Indiana. However, two other students, Ben Gass and Ashley Hamilton were invited for their creative talents and helped execute marketing and production responsibilities.
“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. We saw real passion and commitment, and we’re extremely happy for these three students.”James Whitner, Owner & Founder of The Whitaker Group
The team, along with the guidance of mentors, was able to take their design into the final design process and production.
They also developed and executed the creative assets and marketing plan to promote the sales of their creation. Proceeds from the product will go towards the program’s funding, which partners are hoping to start within the next few months.
The Winning Shoe Speaks for Itself
James Whitner, Owner & Founder of The Whitaker Group, the award-winning retail company that owns APB, said, “We were simply amazed by the dedication we saw in these learners… We saw real passion and commitment, and we’re extremely happy for these three students.”
The program concluded with the release of the Reebok sneaker designed, marketed, and produced by the three students.
The sneakers can be purchased online from 4.29 at www.apbstore.com, as well as APB locations throughout Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee.