As director of design at the adidas School for Experiential Education in Design (SEED), Thornhill-Goldson strives to create a community for young designers, especially women of color.
Working alongside counterparts Jessica Smith and Liz Connelly – the program’s co-founders – the team is committed to providing access, awareness and a pathway to help open the door for more women to access the plethora of jobs that are in the industry.
Students are also actively supported as they are paid throughout the program – essentially being paid to learn, as Thornhill-Goldson puts it. In addition, they receive a housing allowance each month. Financial aid is part of how adidas SEED aims to reduce the barriers students face.
“IIt’s really about creating equity,” she said. “We try to remove as many obstacles as possible. Thus, our students simply need to be at least 18 years old and able to work in the United States. These are the only requirements. And being a woman of color because that’s what we focus on.
She continued, “No resume, no portfolio. None of the things you need to have to get into one of the top 10 art schools. Our whole premise is truly experiential. We create opportunities for our students to experience design and to work with us and collaborate with us. And we rate them on their ability to collaborate, take feedback and act on it, and be curious — all leadership qualities one would need to be successful. We believe we can teach you how to design. We can teach anyone to draw or design, anything.
In 2020, SEED welcomed its inaugural class. Two years later, he is currently recruiting his third generation. The two-year program extends beyond footwear and includes crash courses through product creation, working with women’s adidas originals for a footwear collection, as well as apparel, accessories and footwear. backpack.
The goal is for young creators to become more complete designers.