Ladies, do you still get surprised when you see another female rockin’ those Stussy Dunks? Dudes, are you still shocked when a woman walks by with the Rayguns you’ve been sweating for months? Well, those days are gonna be getting mighty regular, real quick. Females are blowing up the sneaker world right now! Don’t believe it? Check this out…we got females not just hunting, not just collecting, but representing all aspects of the sneaker game. This article highlights just a few of the women who are holding it down for the ladies all over the world. Nike, look out for Pointer and Rose Choules. Alife, don’t sleep on Rosemary Frazier of GoliathRF. Sabotage, respect KGiovanna and her hungry-hungry customs. And Sneaker Freaker, keep an eye out for that crazy lady kickin’ it up on her website...
What sparked your first interest in sneakers? How old were you?
I was 13 and chilling out after school wearing my brand new forest green PUMA Clydes, and this girl Rachel came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I like your trainers,’ which led to us being best friends all through school. I thought, ‘Yeah, they are nice.’ So I sat down and drew them.
Are you a sneaker fiend?
I’m not a consumer; I don’t collect shoes. But I can make them by hand, design them and produce them, so it’s my mission to shake up the footwear market and prepare for females doing their thing. My aim is to build up a really good female line that a guy hasn’t come near. How do they know what we want? No offence to men of course, it’s just that I can make my own shoes…so I’ll decide! I’ve also started collecting rare vintage plimsoles. I don’t know what it is… It’s addictive once you start, the more you like the more you hunt, the more you hunt the more you see, then you’re a goner.
How long have you been designing sneakers?
Only 14 months as a full-time job... Not very long!
What sneaker are you most happy with (that you designed)?
It would have to be the ‘Growler’ that I designed with Mat Fowler and Hannah Draper (playarea) because it’s great producing ideas with people who are on the same wavelength. It feels like there’s a real culmination of our styles on that shoe.
What part of the sneaker design process do you like the most?
Sketching: always. Because that’s what I love to do primarily. But it’s great when I’ll draw something which I know I can develop, and I know I’m going to be pleased with the final shoe. It’s a weird feeling, like you’ve jumped the first hurdle.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in being a woman sneaker designer?
[laughs] Yeah, it’s a challenge. Most people buying Pointers probably don’t know it’s me designing them. I think people would assume it’s male driven like most brands (although I work with a man who runs the company). But, to be honest, I find it more challenging that I’m 23 and doing the job I do. I get a bit nervous when buyers come into the office – and it’s not that I’m a girl – it’s that they are sometimes double my age…
What are the benefits?
When I tell people what I do they seem really shocked because I’m a girl, and I secretly get off on that, but the main benefit is wearing my own shoes. It basically comes down to following through with producing something you want to wear. Also, hopefully I’m attracting more girls to do the same...
Any advice for female shoe designers?
You have to know every job along the line and how things will be done. It’s a basic principle, I suppose. If you can do that, it will make you a more conscientious designer. I’d also say just do exactly what you want - don’t feel pressured by the fact that the industry is male-orientated - it will just make you come up with fresher designs. Don’t hide the fact you’re a female designing, that is what will make you stand out.
What’s the next thing you foresee in sneakers?
I foresee people taking matters into their own hands. People love working on collabs because they have influence on the final product which they can be proud of. It’s a whole different thing to buying existing shoes in the shops. Like Nike iD: people want a hand in choosing their own colourways.
What else do you want female sneaker fiends to know (or just all of us crazy fiends out here)?
Don’t be afraid to say if you think something’s shit. There seems to be a widespread epidemic of ‘the emperor’s new clothes’. Just buy what you’re into, and what makes you feel good. And if that doesn’t exist then help us produce it! We are half the population, and that needs to be represented.
This article appeared in Issue 7 of Sneaker Freaker. Buy it here