With another session of their wildly successful SOLEcial Studies program on the horizon, I sat down with one of the architects of the program, Sean”Paper Chasr” Williams.
What prompted SOLEcial studies to be birthed and how did it happen?
SOLEcial Studies was born out of a conversation with PENSOLE’s founder D’wayne Edwards back in 2010. He showed me and Dee that the content and discussions we have on the show actually had an educational value to them, and that we actually “teaching” people with each lengthy discussion we had. He had just launched PENSOLE and offered for us to teach it as an introductory experience to his PENSOLE students when he has residence at the Parsons New School for Design in New York. That is where SOLEcial Studies got it’s start and from there we branched it off into a stand alone program. We still work in concert with PENSOLE wherever needed and we’ll always be education partners with D’wayne and PENSOLE. We’re forever grateful to him!
Mr. Edwards definitely has his handprints on the past, present , and through PENSOLE, the future of footwear. What capacity is or has been your involvement with that program?
Dee and I have always been strong supporters of D’Wayne’s endeavors. We’ve seen the value on PENSOLE to the industry very early on, so our goal will always be to help him however we can. Be it assistant teachers, promoting, connecting the right people to him. There’s no one concrete way we help to further the efforts. There are may many ways.
Switching gears back to SOLEcial studies, though the program has been around for a few years, for those who aren’t aware could you give an overview of the SOLEcial studies program?
SOLEcial Studies launched on 2011 as OSD’s footwear education training program. Our main goal with the program is to do 3 things; (1) Make people smarter consumers (2) Teach them about jobs that exist in the corporate side of sneakers and (3) Get them to think about their own potential business that fills a void in the sneaker industry. When the program concludes, we give a certificate of completion, we continue to mentor our students (long after the experience is over) and we write letters of recommendation for any student who applies for a job directly in or closely related to the footwear industry.
It really seems that the program covers all the angles. I tip my cap to you for touching on the entrepreneurial aspect of the sneaker world. I also think it’s great that you are educating the students of the program on the fact there are more jobs connected to the industry than retail or design and that’s so needed and when you show them that, do you see the light come on?
Usually by week 4 of the experience it surely does. Because after week 3 we’ve presented certain examples that will force people to shake their stereotypes of the industry.
That is good thing that you are opening their minds, shifting their paradigm in terms of how they view the industry. Now when one of the pupils gets that awesome job in the sneaker industry or launches that business, do you have that sense of pride like a parent does or like Mr. Miyagi watching Daniel defeat the Cobra-Kai?
We actually DO. We’ve actually been able to find get students placed in positions with some of our sponsors and partners as well! We’re really looking forward to doing more of that!! It completes the cycle when someone launches a business or gets that job!
Where is the program being held?
The program is available online through the online education platform “Lore”. We did that so that sneaker lovers any where in the world can take the class..
That’s good news for those who reside outside the northeast. Can you sign up on the OSD website for the live class?
Yes, you can indeed sign up here http://www.osdlive.com/osds-solecial-studies-returns-for-summer-2015/ Registration ends in 7 days on 7/7/2015 (at midnight..LOL)
Brother, I appreciate you taking the time out from your busy schedule to talk with us for a fe moments. As we close this out, are there any words of wisdom you’d like to impart on future sSOLEcial Studies students?
If you’ve had even the “slightest” curiosity about the business side of sneakers, I encourage you to sign up. No matter where you are in the world, you can benefit from the experience.