Talent Knows No Age
It used to be that the numbers told all for P.S. 149 in Harlem: 99% of the student body comes from families that are below the poverty line; 26% have experienced homelessness. The school, for so long, was considered “failing” according to New York City standards. Its shutdown was more likely than not. But when new principal Claudia Aguirre entered the scene in 2015, she made P.S. 149’s transformation her mission. Fast forward to now: The tan brick building on West 117th Street is now home to a hydroponics lab where vegetables are grown, an imaginative curriculum augmented by trips to nearby museums, and 600 happier and more engaged students. And of course the school now holds “Good Standing” status with its city.
To amplify the power of P.S. 149’s kids, Koio organized a sneaker design contest amongst all of them—Kindergarten to 8th grade. The judges: past Koio collaborators (JonBoy and James Whiteside), editors (Michelle Li at Refinery 29, Jian DeLeon at HighSnobiety, and Jonathan Evans at Esquire), and the founders of Koio (Chris and Johannes).
Koio will donate all profits ($50 from every sneaker sold) to P.S. 149. Funds will go towards purchasing a new kiln for the school.
Art Direction: Ana Dorta-Duque
Photography: Mikey Asanin
Styling: Vera Huang