Saturday, March 28, 2009
Sneakerology at University
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, " Sneakerology 101" is a class at Carnegie Mellon University where students explore the impact of sneakers on identity and culture. In the true spirit of zeitgeist, sneaker fashion is a reflection of the time we live in and encapsulates not only new polymer technologies but also the combined experience of shoe makers from the beginning of time. Whilst shoes may appear the same as the ‘originals’ the addition of new polymers developed for and post Space Age mean even retro shoes in the 21st century whose form may appear similar to that which went before are unique and ‘out of this world shoes.’ Since it s inception last year “Sneakerology 101” attracts many students most of which want to come back the following year just to catch up with the changes. The one-credit, pass/fail offering attracts novices as well as the sneaker obsessed. The course covers topics including early hip-hop roots and New York City street fashion, footwear advertising and consumerism, shoe design and technology, and the effect of boutiques and limited-edition releases. Carnegie Mellon University had some concerns at first because they could only credit the course once however students don’t seem to mind spending the extra time in the classroom and continue to come back. Since its debut last year, “Sneakerology 101” has developed an Internet following among sneaker freakers. Carnegie Mellon delivers Sneakerology through the school's student college, an initiative that lets students explore and teach subjects not available through regular university offerings. As a mid-term assignment, students must design their own sneaker and compose a 200-to-300 word description of its makeup and what inspired it. For their final exam, ‘Sneakerology 101’ students take part in "Kicksburgh," campus event with vendors and artists that celebrates the city's urban fashion and footwear. Last year attendees were asked to donate a pair of used sneakers to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that provides shoes to victims of natural disasters in third-world countries.