The Black Footwear Forum (BFF), a collective of footwear industry professionals and supporters, is set to return this year to celebrate and safeguard the influence, leadership, and creativity provided by Black professionals in the global footwear industry. The forum encourages collaboration in establishing industry goals to develop and advance black talent at all levels.
Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, President of Pensole Lewis College, expressed his excitement for the event: “This is by far my favorite time of the year. I am humbled to have the support of the industry’s top brands who deeply care about our culture and the Black creative talent that agreed to volunteer their time to share their knowledge. This makes it possible to collectively uplift the culture, and remind us of our value and our industry. Every year we try to raise the bar and BFF 2023 will be a magical moment that will continue the movement.”
The event, known as “The Industry’s Homecoming,” is made possible thanks to the donations of over 30 major industry brands, including Nike, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Adidas, Target, Foot Locker, Millerknoll, Rock, AmazonMusic, and more. BFF serves as a community that brings together the most significant cluster of black creatives to share, educate, motivate, network, and address diversity and inclusion challenges in the design industry.
Matt Priest, President and CEO of the FDRA, praised the forum, stating, “The Black Footwear Forum has evolved into a nationwide movement, shining a spotlight on the diverse and impactful contributions made by Black creatives within the American footwear industry daily. The vitality of the footwear industry is intricately tied to the involvement of the Black community, and as such, FDRA relies on the BFF to provide a vital platform for our industry colleagues to connect, learn, and celebrate together.”
The forum will kick off on September 21 with the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Pepsi x Frito-Lay Refresh and Relax Lounge at PLC, designed by PLC students. The event will feature empowering conversations to celebrate and analyze diversity in the design industry, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and networking mixers. The last day, September 24th, will feature Adidas-sponsored events for women and a session exclusively for men called The Game Behind the Game.
The event sponsors for 2023 comprise many companies, including Adidas, Amazon Music, The Athlete’s Foot, Bacardi, Caleres, Carhartt, COACH, Designer Brands, eBay, Foot Locker, General Motors, Logitech, Microsoft, MillerKnoll, Nike, Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, ON Running, PepsiCo, Puma, RG Barry Brands, Rock, Rubik’s, Steve Madden, StockX, Target, Under Armour, VisitDetroit, Wolverine Worldwide, XBOX, Xencelabs, and more.
The BFF works to cultivate community for Black footwear professionals through national and regional chapter events and activations. For more information, please visit https://www.blackfootwearforum.com