Latest Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award Winner Designed Shoes Made From Salvaged Materials

Kenneth Cole, along with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), has named the third annual winner of the Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award. Susan Zienty, a San Francisco Academy of Art University graduate student, will take home the prize at the CFDA Fashion Awards on Monday in New York for her portfolio based on a collection titled Adolescent Anonymous, which is intended to highlight the beauty that can be found within the foster care system.

“Susan has a modern design aesthetic, which is a natural complement to our brand,” Cole said. “She is impressively passionate about the marriage of business with social responsibility, which has been a long-standing component of our mission at Kenneth Cole. Susan understands the importance of using a business platform to promote not just a modern version of what one stands in, but also what it stands for.”

Zienty drew inspiration from her experience in the foster care system to design a collection made with sturdy platforms and block heels representing a foster child’s need for a strong support system. Moreover, she encased salvaged materials and precious stones within a other substances in memory of her loving relationship with her longest-lasting foster sister.

“Receiving this year’s Kenneth Cole Footwear Innovation Award, in partnership with the CFDA, is an accomplishment that has been beyond my imagination. The portfolio that I submitted is based on a collection that commemorates, celebrates and unveils the profound beauty that can emerge from hardship in the foster care system,” Zienty said.

“I am humbled that a project like this has been recognized by Kenneth Cole, a global fashion brand that is passionate about marrying style and social consciousness, and the CFDA, an organization I have always held in high regard. I am so looking forward to joining the Kenneth Cole team and beginning my fellowship in New York.”

This year’s selection committee included Cole; Sara Kozlowski, the CFDA’s director of education and professional development; Aki Choklat, chair and associate professor at the College for Creative Studies; Kristy Caylor, CEO of Cerci; Sarah Blair, senior vice president of DMM Women’s Accessories at Barneys New York; and Sam Broekema, accessories director at InStyle magazine.

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