Nov 2009 – Miami, FL

Held by the DASH PTSA, the Taste of Design is a benefit to raise funds to invest in quality education for the next generation of design professionals, the students of Design and Architecture Senior High School. The evening honors design professional alumni for their creative and design skills, while raising money for future professionals. The DASH Creative Mind Awards Celebration will awaken the senses for an estimated 400 of South Florida’s most influential creative, arts and business leaders, as they get a taste of the design district’s top restaurants, while experiencing dynamic music, fashion, film, artwork, and much more.

Read more about the Taste of Design here.

Nov|Dec 2008 – Sole Collector Magazine

July 2008 – Dime Magazine Online

Converse Brand-ing

I just got back from the Converse Branding event held down by our office at the Sports Museum of America. The good people over at Converse invited us out for some hors d’ oeurves, as well as finger-sized Philly cheese steaks, to go in accordance with the Philadelphia 76ers’ new power forward Elton Brand. Converse presented the EB1’s, their new Elton Brand signature shoes, and they are hot (we’ll drop them on you as soon as Converse gives us the green light).

Elton and the team of Converse shoe designers spoke about what went into making the shoe and other nuances of the EB1. Brand came out to speak with the media sporting a big smile and rocking a polo shirt with his new EB Converse logo on it. Brand’s logo is an “EB” enclosed in a D with horns, which represent his Peekskill high school Red Devils and the Duke Blue Devils, where Brand played his college ball. David Falk, the man who represented Michael Jordan in his playing days and currently represents Brand, also attended the event and he jokingly insisted that the D which, Elton said stand for his mother Daisy’s name and his childhood housing complex Dunbar Heights, also stood for David Falk.

The EB1’s are scheduled to be released on 11.1.08, and will be sold exclusively at JCPenney for an affordable $65. Brand stressed the importance of creating a shoe that was a good performance shoe for guards and post players alike but “could also be rocked with jeans.”

-Kyle Henry

See original article here.

Feb 2008 – USA Today

Wade 3 on the All Star Weekend stage.

Jan | Feb 2008 – Ambassador Magazine

Fancy Footwork: CCS Grads inthe Footwer Industry

Detroit’s acclaimed College for Creative is known for placing its design graduates in the automotive industry. But in recent years, CCS alumni have been cropping up in a much more pedestrian field: footwear. The success of its design graduates has prompted CCS to expand its resources for other artists who want to get their feet wet- in sneakers.

“(CCS) doesn’t have a general product design program,” recent graduate Duane Lawrence says. “Now there’s been more of a push for footwear specific [design courses] with the consecutive successes of people coming out of there from 2001 through 2005.”

Ambassador caught up with two of those people- Duane Lawrence and Jason Mayden- to find out how they got where they are today.

Duane Lawrence
Designer- Converse

“Since I was young I’ve always wanted to do footwear,” says Lawrence, 25, now a designer at Converse. “I can’t even remember how old I was when I first wanted to do shoes.”

Growing up in Miami, Lawrence was once a ballboy for the Miami Heat during high school. Now he’s designing shoes for the franchise’s star gaurd, Dwyane Wade.

Most recently, Converse released the third edition of Wade’s signature shoe.

“I’m proud of those because I think of all the Wades that we’ve put out, it’s the one that’s richest in story and details,” Lawrence says. For the design, Lawrence worked in the significance of the number three in Wade’s life: the Holy Trinity (Wade is a devout Christian), his jersey number, and the year of his career in which he and the Heat won the NBA championship, among other details.

“The shoe tells his story both on the court and off the court,” says Lawrence, who recently met with Wade- widely considered one of the most fashionable men in the NBA- to talk about next year’s Wade 4.

Lawrence interned for Converse’s parent company, Nike, in his junior year of college and joined Converse after graduating from CCS in 2004. Althought he has quickly secured his position in the footwear world, it was not without bumps in the learning curve- specifically business travel.

“Last year was a tough gap,” he says. “I did China five time sin about eight months, and I’ve been to China already four times this year.”

-Kimberly Chou

Dec 2007 – Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Dec. 17, 2007

For artist couple, ‘our kids’ are their best work


When Stacey Mancuso and Tom Wyroba — married for 25 years and proud parents of two grown daughters — discuss their life’s work as arts educators and artists, almost every conversation includes two often confusing words: ”our kids.”

‘There’s a lot of us saying, `My kids are better than your kids,’ ” Mancuso says, referring not to their own daughters Elizabeth, 22, and Alexandra, 24, but to the 600 or so students that she and her husband work with every day at competing magnet art high schools.

”We compete as educators and artists. It’s constant. Sometimes it’s overt and sometimes it’s subliminal,” says Mancuso, principal of Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High School, which was just ranked No. 8 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of the top 100 high schools in the country.

Wyroba, who has been teaching art for 21 years at the New World School of the Arts, shoots back with a response akin to something you’d hear on a school playground: ”Well, our kids are the best. I don’t think we’re competitive because New World is just better than DASH.” New World ranked 63rd on the U.S. News list.

A friendly tug of war ensues when Mancuso, 58, and Wyroba, 57, discuss the achievements of their kids.

”It was just announced that Esteban Cortazar, a 2005 DASH graduate, was chosen to be the head designer at Emanuel Ungaro,” Mancuso says as Wyroba chimes in with a collection of New World graduates who have quickly ascended the art world ladder.

”We’ve got Naomi Fisher and Hernan Bas who have exhibited internationally and are represented by the Fredric Snitzer Gallery,” Tom responds. Fisher’s drawings were in the inaugural show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Bas’ work appeared in the Whitney Biennial in New York. ”And then there’s Bernard Chang, a 1990 New World graduate who was a concept designer at Disney. I can give you a list of students who’ve generated millions of dollars [in art sales] during the years I’ve been here,” Wyroba says.

Mancuso interjects: ”And two of our kids got into the Whitney Biennial this year.” And, she adds, “then there’s Duane Lawrence, who was hired by Converse to design a signature shoe for Dwyane Wade. And Christopher Benjamin, who is a senior designer for Volvo.”

Dec 2007 – Sole Collector

view PDF SoleDec07

Nov 2007 – Dime Magazine

Oct 2007 – Slam Magazine

Third Time’s The Charm

Dwyane Wade’s signature shoe could make him number one. He’ll settle for three.

Back when he signed with Converse in ’03, Dwyane Wade was just one of the guys. The rookie from Marquette joined four other first-year pros– guards Kirk Hinrich and Troy Bell, and forwards Michael Sweetney and Chris Bosh– as part of a team that would drive the venerable brand forward. A lot changed over the next three years. A few weeks after Wade signed on the dotted line, Nike purchased Converse. Bell played in just six NBA games. And Wade became a superstar.

Now, with fellow All-Star Bosh having moved over to Nike, Wade- the ’06 Finals MVP and now the midst of a long-term extension he signed with Converse- is indisputably the face of the brand, a position once held by the likes of Julius Erving, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. On November 3, Converse will release the $100 Wade 3, Wade’s fourth signature shoe and the one that best reflects who he is.

In the case of the Wade 3, design inspiration was as plain as the number on his back. “The three is very important to me, it symbolizes so many things in my life,” says Wade, whose new releases always come out on the third day of the month. “Of course I wear it because of the Holy Trinity. But then it went from there to my designer, who brought the idea to me how triangles are one of the strongest shapes in the universe- he’s tellin’ me how they symbolize strength and success and unity. And that’s kind of how- that’s the definition of me, in basketball that’s kind of what I symbolize. So it all worked out, and the triangle’s just something that’s very important to the shoe.”

So, the triangle. It’s an unusual starting point for a shoe, but Converse designer Duane Lawrence, who’s worked with Wade since the beginning, was able to find plenty ways to make it work. “The triangles provide heel support, lightening, and traction,” Lawrence says, pointing out the triangles march down the heel all the way down the length of the outsole. “Wherever the triangles show up, it’s a performance feature.”

As they’re already well into the design of the Wade 4, a dizzying array of Wade 3 colorways are almost entirely complete- from retail SMUs to a wild Christmas day version (think “iridescent lizard”) to the inevitably necessary All-Star shoe. Not to mention a low-cut version and an entire blizzard of off-court shoes and Wade-branded gear.

“This has gotta be the biggest blowout for one of my shoes so far,” Wade says.

Three. It’s the magic number.

-Russ Bengston

2007 – Chicago, IL

Black Creativity 2007: Designs for Life

Jan 12- Feb 28, 2007
Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago, IL

Designs for Life introduces you to contemporary African-American industrial designers who merge science and style to address day-to-day consumer needs. From sofas to solar panels, their products make life easier, safer and better.

Read more about the exhibit here.

Winter 2006 – Sole Collector Magazine

September 2006 – ESPN The Magazine


Just did how Miami conquer the NBA? Gotta be the shoes. “Seeing Dwyane Wade [right] wear my shoe and win the championship?” says designer Duane Lawrence. “That’s gratifying.” Since 2004, the 24-year-old [a Heat ballboy before attending Detroit’s College for Creative Studies] has helped Converse dream up kicks like the ring-bringin’ WADE. Converse shoe designers start at around $50,000 a year, but it takes 18 months for their imaginings to become shoe-store reality.

November 2005 – Chicago Sun Times

August 2005 – Slam Magazine Presents KICKS

Design School


Video Links

Stack TV

The Inspiration, Design & Performance Elements of the Wade 3
The Becoming of Dwyane Wade’s Shoe Designer
The Wade 3: Lighter and Sleeker
Duane Lawrence on the WADE Slash
Duane Lawrence on the Converse EB1 Signature Shoe
Duane Lawrence on the WADE 4
Converse ’08 Fall Preview


Wade 1 Commercial
Wade 1.3 Commercial: Nervous
Wade 1.3 Commercial: Game Face
Wade 1.3 Commercial: Behind the Scenes
Wade 2.0 Commercial
Wade 2.0 Release Party: Fashion Show (Jet Nightclub, Las Vegas)
Wade 3 Commercial: Behind the Scenes
Wade 4 Commercial

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