The Black Footwear Forum (BFF), formerly known as The African American Footwear Forum (AAFF) will convene once again this year, this time in Detroit.
The forum which addresses and analyzes diversity issues in the footwear field, will feature a gathering of industry leaders and executives between September 16 and 18, 2022. The annual event was created in partnership with the Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (Michigan’s first and only HBCU focused on design) and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA).
“Since its first year, the Black Footwear Forum has evolved into a major industry gathering to celebrate, inspire and acknowledge Black creatives globally who are responsible for the culture of our industry,” said PLC founder and president D’Wayne Edwards in a statement. “This year it’s happening in the only city in the US designated a UNESCO City of Design—Detroit, Michigan.”
Speakers at the event this year include sneaker strategist and designer Jazerai Allen-Lord, Adidas’ Cheresse Thornhill-Goldson, designer and entrepreneur Jason Mayden, Social Status and A Ma Maniere owner James Whitner and more.
The forum will kick off with a community activations for Detroit residents via a partnership between MERIT’s FATE Program and Pensole alumni, who will oversee a PLC footwear design workshop in downtown Detroit.
Corporate sponsors of the event this year include The Athlete’s Foot, Caleres, Carhartt, College for creative Studies, Detroit Pistons, Designer Brands, Foot Locker, Gilbert Family Foundation, Logitech, MillerKnoll, Nike, Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, Rack Room Shoes, RG Barry Brands, Target, Steve Madden, Bedrock, Wolverine Worldwide, GM, Adidas, VF Corp, StockX, Ford, PepsiCo and more.
“I can’t think of a better city than Detroit, a better place than the Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design, and a better time than now for the BFF to reconvene in-person after a multi-year hiatus,” said FDRA president and CEO Matt Priest. “Excitement for this event has been off-the-charts as registrations and corporate support continue to roll in. BFF Detroit will be the highlight of our year.”
The Black Footwear Forum first met in February 2019. Since then, the forum has held an annual meeting, where industry leaders and supporters hold open conversations about the Black experience in the context of the footwear industry and work together on finding solutions.
In February, the forum announced the formation of an advisory committee that will guide strategies for community engagement, education, networking, events, and regional BFF chapters that are slated to launch in certain cities this year. Members of the committee include executives from Converse, Reebok, Puma, FDRA and Target.
To register to attend, visit http://www.blackfootwearforum.com.