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The Pensole Footwear Design Academy, in partnership with FN Platform and Stitch Factory, a fashion incubator in downtown Las Vegas, announced on Wednesday the five winners of its third FN Platform Challenge.
As part of the contest, 11 handpicked aspiring footwear designers participated in an intensive class at Stitch Factory from Jan. 20-31. Each was assigned shoe design projects in the five FN Platform categories — Bond (men’s), Cosmo (women’s), Camp (leisure/outdoor), InPlay (children’s) and Zen (comfort) — and all had the opportunity to show their completed sketches at the Pensole booth.
The winners of the competition were 24-year-old Jared Fiorvich of Santa Cruz, Calif., for men’s; 29-year-old Christopher Dixon of Greensboro, N.C., for women’s; 22-year-old Sebastian Herrera of Ecuador for leisure/outdoor; 27-year-old Steve Morse of Huntington Beach, Calif., for children’s; and 23-year-old Claudia Lopez of Monterrey, Mexico, for comfort.
Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards said the diverse mix was essential for the challenge’s success. "It was an assembly of an eclectic group [of people]," said Edwards. "We were creating a real-world experience. Students could learn about different cultures and share their design abilities. They created a fellowship in a short period of time."
Edwards went on to say the event was, in essence, a non-competitive one. "It is you against yourself not each other,” he explained. “You [must] try to be better than the day before."
Winner Fiorvich, who is employed in the construction industry but has a passion for design, said the competition and its mentorship aspects “pushed me out of my comfort zone.”