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Iconic men’s shoemaker invites top design school students to reinterpret American style

/ PRNewswire / — Allen Edmonds, a premium men’s shoe manufacturer headquartered in Port Washington, Wis., celebrates out-of-the-box thinking and innovative design in its second annual collaboration with Parsons The New School for Design.
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Parsons design students were invited to explore Allen Edmonds’ design archives and collaborate with master shoemakers to reimagine classic American style. Students brought a range of ideas to the table - including sustainable materials and Midwestern values.

Allen Edmonds President and CEO Paul Grangaard and a panel of expert judges, including School of Fashion Dean Simon Collins, writer John Ortved, and Public School designers and CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund winners Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, selected the Bleecker Street boot by Parsons student Hannah Smith as the winning design for inclusion in the company’s upcoming collection.

Smith’s design prevailed following a three-step review: from original concept, to 3-dimensional CAD design, to a prototype presented to the VIP panel for review. During the competition, four finalists traveled from New York City to the company’s Port Washington factory for a two-day immersion and crash course in the 212-step handcrafted process Allen Edmonds still uses to handcraft their shoes.

"In an industry dominated by overseas manufacturers, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an American shoe manufacturer," said Simon Collins. "This partnership gives our students the opportunity to work directly with the talented design team in Wisconsin and the unique experience of spending time on the factory floor. It really gives them a hands-on education of how to take a design concept from idea to market."

"We’re thrilled to work with Parsons again this year. Only a year ago, our Chief Marketing Officer came up with the idea for the competition stemming from our celebration of Allen Edmonds’ 90 years of American shoe manufacturing," said Grangaard. "We were looking to tap into the talent of students from America’s top design school, who we felt could give us a fresh look at classic American shoe styling. Each year we are more pleased with the level of innovation and construction of the student designs."

Inspired by the history of Allen Edmonds, Smith’s design references some of the traditional design elements found in the company’s archived styles, but with a fresh eye to what a modern guy would want to wear. The Chukka boot is a nod to the 1950’s work boot, but her design combines casual and dressy elements and incorporates color to give it a contemporary look. Smith is a senior at Parsons the New School for Design, studying Fashion Design with a focus in Menswear and Accessories.

"We’re confident the Bleecker Street boot will be a favorite among young men looking for a versatile shoe that can be worn for work or casual," said Paul Grangaard. "The perforated cap toe gives a modern spin to the traditional chukka. We are continually impressed by millennials’ ability to re-invent classic American style."

The Bleecker Street will be featured as a special offer in the upcoming Allen Edmonds collection. For more information, please visit: www.allenedmonds.com.

About Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation
Founded in 1922, Allen Edmonds Corporation is a privately-held, U.S.-based retailer of premium men’s footwear, apparel, leather goods and accessories with a focus on American manufacturing. Allen Edmonds’ famous Goodyear welted shoes are handcrafted in Port Washington, Wis. using a 212-step production process. Consistent with the company’s heritage, Allen Edmonds remains committed to providing excellent products at exceptional value for style and quality conscious men worldwide. By partnering with like-minded U.S. manufacturers, the company’s offering includes men’s clothing and accessory needs from head to toe. Allen Edmonds products are available at premier stores worldwide, including 50 company-owned Allen Edmonds stores across the United States, and online at www.allenedmonds.com.

About Parsons The New School for Design
Parsons The New School for Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit www.newschool.edu/parsons.

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