World Footwear

Companies

DSW to invest 2 million USD into footwear factory in the US

Feb 24, 2022 United States
DSW to invest 2 million USD into footwear factory in the US
Designer Brands, the parent of shoe retailer DSW, will partner up with Pensole College, ran by the footwear designer Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, to advance its diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Thus, it will invest into the first black-owned factory in the US
"We see the footwear industry lacking effective representation by people of colour, specifically Blacks, and this 2 million US dollars investment will address root causes to remove barriers. Blacks represent less than five percent of those across all design industries, thus lacking much-needed diversity. Designer Brands and DSW's commitment with Pensole will create a U.S.-based shoe factory, with the goal of all work leading to the launch of Black designers' brands inside of DSW”, stated Designer Brands Chief Executive Officer Roger Rawlins.

The factory JEMS by Pensole will produce shoes designed by the graduates of the Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC), which is the first and only Historically Black College & University (HBCU) in Michigan and the first HBCU with a focus on design. JEMS stands for “Jan Ernst Matzeliger Studio”, itself named in honour of the Black footwear pioneer who, in 1883, received a patent for a process that inspired methods that the industry still uses in the footwear manufacturing. The shoes are to be sold exclusively at DSW stores.

"The footwear industry needs more diversity. The partnership we are entering into with Designer Brands and DSW is a new business model that truly empowers the consumer to influence the industry toward that goal. Together with Pensole, Designer Brands and DSW will provide designers opportunities to offer new products directly to consumers. Along the way we will create careers and invest in talented aspiring designers to become the future of our industry”, added Dr. Edwards.


Image Credits: footwearplusmagazine.com



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