The footwear industry has been an integral part of shaping culture across various channels, such as sportswear, music, social media,...
The footwear industry has been an integral part of shaping culture across various channels, such as sportswear, music, social media, and fashion. Arriving just in time for the gifting season, “She Kicks” $95, appreciates the cutting-edge innovators, designers, executives, athletes, entrepreneurs, and influencers changing the footwear realm.
Written by Nav Gill, former editor of Hypebae, and Sanne Poeze, the Dutch influencer and sneaker collector, the book was published by indie New York house Studio 96. Scan technology has been incorporated into this work through an app that allows users to expand content, access giveaways, and shop styles.
The enactment of Title IX in 1972 changed the game for women’s performance sneakers by ensuring access to sports in public schools. Previously, fashion brands heavily marketed sneakers to men exclusively. The book honors this journey through photos of ads for the Lady Waffle, which Nike introduced in 1977, and the Lady Vans product line introduced in 1984.
The book was created to celebrate the women engineering creative sneaker design and cultivate a space where all of these images and stories exist together. The publication features photos, information on design and silhouettes, collaborations, triumphal milestones, female-owned stores, and future endeavors like Web3.
On the other hand, celebrity collaborations are not hard to come by. It wasn’t until 1995, when basketball player Sheryle Swoopes signed with Nike, that a female athlete had a signature athletic shoe. Still, almost 30 years later, male collaborations with athletic brands largely supersede alliances with women across numerous sports.
As one of the largest pillars of influence, if not the biggest, collaborations often represent the significance of a career. Gill said, “People are always going to be inspired by celebrities, and they have such massive selling potential. The examples of Kanye, Beyoncé’s Ivy Park and Rihanna’s Fenty, when those partnerships were biggest was when they were at the pinnacles of their careers and could sell anything. But it depends on the celebrity and the cosign. Sneaker consumers can see through the BS, and it has to be something meaningful.” “She Kicks” representation of artistry among women in the sneaker industry aims to transcend celebrity culture and focus more on the next generation of blossoming creators. Sneaker culture is about homogenized creativity that outranks who made the shoe.
During the 90s, the opportunity for women to move into sneaker design spaces became more accessible as the industry exploded. Though there are design rooms that still skew towards the male gaze, large strides are being taken to make the sneaker industry more inclusive. Sharing the stories of women who have produced works true to them despite all odds generates visibility for designers that may otherwise be overlooked for their contributions. Gill said of designers who paved the way, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
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