Slaying the Game: 5 Female-Designed Colabs that Killed It
The last year has been huge for women in sneakers, as brands diversify their offerings, and women make the sneakersphere their own.
It’s no longer adequate to approach a female-geared sneaker with a ‘shrink it and pink it’ attitude. And brands are realising this, responding with a slew of releases that not only cater to the female market but garner hype from the community as a whole (we’re looking at you ‘Bleached Aqua’ TNs).
There’s the occasional pink af Jordan — and we still love that — but it doesn’t have to be every shoe. Now, we’ve got choices. Hyped releases are going down to small sizes, and brands are reworking iconic silhouettes specifically for female sneakerheads.
Brands are listening to us, but there’s more to it than that — women are making themselves heard in the sneakerverse. And they’re coming in loud and clear.
Female designers are breaking down the walls of the boy’s club and taking their rightful place on the podium, producing some of the most talked about — and most hyped — colabs of the year.
This International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the female contribution to the game.
Yoon Ahn has had one hell of a year. Not only did she begin her tenure as Dior’s jewellery designer, but she and her brand AMBUSH crushed the streetwear and colab game, linking up with Nike for one of last year’s blockbuster partnerships. She brought the Air Max 180 into the future and created one of the best Nike apparel collections to ever hit shelves. *Crosses fingers for a restock*.
London-based Martine Rose set tongues wagging earlier this year when she brought her unconventional style and turned a Swoosh classic on its head. Her bulbous Air Monarch, with its misshapen lumps, was almost uncomfortable to look at early on, but when we heard the deformities were the result of fusing a size 18 upper onto a size 9 sole, we were sold — what a concept! It was weird, wonderful and, quite frankly, genius.
Speaking of weird and wonderful, the world did a triple take when Chitose Abe’s Sacai x Nike LDV Waffles hit the runway in June. She threw the rule book out the window, forgoing harmonious hybridity for exaggerated styling and a raucous mix of colour. The Waffle Daybreak-LDV mish-mash, featuring double tongues, double laces and double Swooshes, will hit shelves in coming weeks, followed by a duo of equally-wild Blazers. We're praying the sneaker gods are on our side for this drop.
Aleali May is no stranger to kicking butt in the sneaker world. Back in 2017, he was the first female collaborator to create a unisex Jordan shoe, and second-ever Jumpman female collaborator (shouts to Vashtie on being the first). She followed up her 'Satin Shadows' with another Air Jordan 1 last year, all the while dangling her 'Millennial Pink' Air Jordan 6 in front of our noses. Was it F&F? Would it release? Confirmation came last month that the Infrared-inspired 6 would hit stores, and we couldn't be happier.
Feng Chen Wang
The Converse Chuck Taylor has been kicking around courts and streets for over 100 years, but Feng Chen Wang's chop-shop colab proved that the centenarian can still surprise. The Chinese-born, London-based designer took her forward-thinking approach to apparel and applied it to the classic Con, splicing the beloved canvas upper with leather in a move that has become something of a signature for Wang. Watch this space!