How a Partnership Between Allbirds and Pensole Academy Will Help Create the Next Generation of Sustainable Fashion Designers

Pensole Academy and sustainable shoe brand Allbirds are joining forces for a project that will introduce up-and-coming designers to sustainable fashion. The two are partnering for the launch of a new design master class focused on sustainable design to be held at Pensole.

“Teaming up with Allbirds for this program, we want to reshape the way aspiring designers view sustainability by having them incorporate it into their designs from the very beginning,” said Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards. “Rather than focus on future innovation, we’re challenging our students to utilize existing resources in a way they’ve never been used before.”

Footwear and apparel designers are invited to submit designs inspired by household items such as an egg cartons, cupholders, mesh produce bags, coffee filters and teabags. Color and material designers are asked to submit a one-page color/materials mood board inspired by biodegradable items.

Said Edwards, “The central purpose is to help redefine what is considered sustainable by showcasing the creative process of people reusing and repurposing items.”

The class will take place from March 23 – April 10 at Pensole Academy in Portland, Ore. It will comprise design programs in footwear, color and materials, and apparel and accessories. Registration is now open until March 9 at Pensole.com. Twelve students will be selected to partake in the three-week class. Tuition and shared housing is free, and the winning designers could be selected for internships at Allbirds.

Direct-to-consumer footwear brand Allbirds, whose sustainably crafted wool sneakers have staked their claim as a tech-industry staple, is currently on the growth track and is seeking a new round of capital to bolster its sustainability credentials.   It is currently raising a Series D funding round as it seeks to become carbon-positive — to remove more carbon dioxide from the planet than it produces. The sneaker brand plans to use the funds to invest in regenerative agriculture, renewable energy across its supply chain and the elimination of unrecycled plastics.

Over the past five years, sustainability has catapulted to the top of the fashion industry’s agenda as climate change becomes a hot button topic and an increasing number of consumers — particularly members of the Gen Z cohort — demand more eco-conscious wares.

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