Carnegie Mellon University
LaForce + Stevens
In Partnership with Reebok, Carnegie Mellon Students Launch
Limited-Edition Footwear Honoring Education, Sneaker Culture
Student-Designed Reebok Style Benefits Pittsburgh Social Service Agency
PITTSBURGH—Andrew Carnegie would've loved these "pairs" — the entrepreneurial and philanthropic Carnegie Mellon University students Jesse Chorng and Elliott Curtis, and the "Sneakerology Reverse Jams," the new limited-edition "kicks" they're releasing in partnership with Reebok to benefit Pittsburgh's Hill House Association. Chorng of Los Angeles and Curtis of Brookline, Mass., creators of the first university course on sneaker culture, designed the Sneakerology edition of Reebok's Reverse Jam to honor the opportunities created by education and the impact of sneakers on identity and culture.
"Reebok is happy to collaborate with Carnegie Mellon's Sneakerology students for a limited edition Reverse Jam," said Matt Ting, global product manager for Men's Classics. "It's a pleasure to support young entrepreneurs and brand enthusiasts, especially on a project that furthers education, sneaker culture and philanthropy."
Only 101 pairs of the shoes will be available for order at Kicksburgh, a community celebration of sneaker culture, from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 15 in Carnegie Mellon's Skibo Gym. Kicksburgh, coordinated by Sneakerology 101 students in lieu of a final exam, will include live demonstrations by graffiti artists, performances by breakdancers, and exhibits hosted by urban fashion boutiques and local sneaker collectors. The event is free and open to the public.
Chorng and Curtis developed Sneakerology 101 as part of Carnegie Mellon's Student College (StuCo), an initiative that provides one-credit, peer-to-peer learning experiences not available among the university's traditional course offerings. In working with Reebok, the students applied knowledge gained from years of sneaker collecting and teaching fellow students about shoe design, manufacturing and marketing.
"Working with Reebok has been an absolute pleasure," Curtis said. "The Retro Sport Lifestyle team, especially Ben Kuchler and Matt Ting, have been incredibly supportive of the project, and they have gone to great lengths to maintain our vision for the Sneakerology Reverse Jam."
The Sneakerology Reverse Jam draws inspiration from traditional education settings and Carnegie Mellon. The slate nubuck (a soft, velvet-like leather), yellow side-stripes and wool felt tongue pay homage to classroom staples — the blackboard, chalk and eraser. The university's colors accent the sneaker's outsole, stitching and laces. This theme extends to the insole, which includes a custom plaid reflecting the Scottish heritage of Carnegie Mellon founder Andrew Carnegie, an industrialist and philanthropist. Information about the history of the Reverse Jam is embedded in the insole, and the Sneakerology 101 class logo adorns the heel.
The shoes, available in adult sizes, cost $75 (cash or check accepted). Orders will arrive in 8-10 weeks following the Kicksburgh event.
Reebok will donate proceeds from the sale of the shoes to the Hill House Association (www.hillhouse.org), a community-based organization that has provided care and support for more than 500,000 children, adults and seniors living in urban environments during the past four decades. Hill House spokeswoman Tiffanie Williams said Reebok's support will enhance the organization's arts programs, which provide voice and piano lessons to youth and adults.
"As Carnegie Mellon students, Elliott and I were exposed to the good work done by this organization through the various students groups we were involved with on campus," Chorng said. "Since education is a central theme of this sneaker, the Hill House and its programs became an obvious choice."
The Reverse Jam project, which took approximately 10 months from concept to production, provided the students with valuable career-related experience. Curtis pitched the initial idea to Reebok's design team with graphic design assistance from Mike Pargas, a senior at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, while both students interned with the company last summer.
After graduation this May, Curtis, a social and decision sciences major, hopes to launch a fashion industry career in brand management. Chorng, an economics major, plans to pursue a graduate degree in interactive media and tangible design.