FIT’s Sneaker Essentials Course Adapted for Brooklyn Middle School

Boy holding drawing of orange sneaker
Photo: Kadeem Cobham for Yellowbrick.

In fall 2021, a Sneaker Essentials coursebased on a curriculum co-created by FITpiloted at Brooklyn’s Meyer Levin Middle School won the Hashtag Sports Award for Excellence in Black Storytelling.

Online education platform Yellowbrick worked with FIT to develop the curriculum for the original Sneaker Essentials course (meant for students age 13 and older), which covers everything from design to strategy to law. “It gives an overview of the industry and all the different areas, so students can be introduced to disciplines they didn’t know existed,” says Sarah Mullins, assistant chair of Footwear and Accessories Design. FIT faculty members also teach modules along with instructors from media company Complex, the course’s industry partner.

Photo: Kadeem Cobham for Yellowbrick.

“With this course, we can reach anyone around the globe, which is really appealing—even more so with the pandemic,” says Mullins. “We agreed to do this in November 2018 and we completed all the content by April 2019, when the course launched. It was really fast, but a really exciting project to work on.”

The content is prerecorded and the course is self-driven by students. Every module has a project, but special tools aren’t required. Each project, like creating customer profiles and floor plans for retail spaces, can be completed with cloud-based software.

The Sneaker Essentials curriculum was adapted to create a program for the Meyer Levin school. It encouraged students to tell the stories and history of African Americans through sneaker design and branding. “It’s a great example of how Yellowbrick is very focused on making sure courses are available and accessible to all students,” Mullins says.

—Vanessa Machir

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