ARTICLE BY Cesca Benson

Sneakers By Women Is Celebrating the Women Kicking Butt in the Sneaker World

Sneakersbywomen
Images via Reebok/Nike/Jordan/@alealimay/chromat

There’s no doubt that women are making waves in the sneaker scene right now. Whether they’re fronting monster colabs or working their magic behind the scenes, there are countless women doing the hard yards and achieving great things. Shining a light on this work is Sneakers By Women, an Instagram account that celebrates the incredible work of women in the sneaker industry.

We recently caught up with account creator Julia Lebosse to chat about Sneakers By Women, how she conducts her research, and who’s killing the game.

Julia, tell us a little bit about how you got into sneakers and how you started Sneakers By Women?
I’ve been into sneakers since I was really young. During lockdown, I got bored and I started looking for sneakers and inspiration. I wanted to see what sneakers by women are out there. I realised finding them wasn’t easy and, I was like, ‘why is that’? So I thought, why not start a page that highlights women, because it just didn’t seem like it was being done at all.

It’s hard to find women in sneakers on websites and things like that. It’s quite hard to find women when compared to men. The main aim for my account is to amplify women’s voices, and showcase the work that goes unnoticed, or acknowledge them when the credit was mainly given to men. I want to push further towards equality in the sneaker industry.

You make a point to highlight not just the big names, but the women working behind the scenes. Your research goes deep! Tell us how you go about discovering the women that aren’t often given the spotlight?
In terms of research, it’s definitely a lengthy process. As many of the women I spotlight are not covered on websites or anything like that. Instagram is where I get most of the information. Sometimes people come to me and request for someone to be featured, which is great as they give me the information I need. But mostly just spending time searching through Instagram and sliding into the DMs a lot!

It is a lot of work, but I want to make sure I get all the information correct! I truly enjoy posting and interacting with people in the sneaker industry/community and giving women the recognition and celebration they deserve!

Tell us about your experience being a woman that is into sneakers. What are the best parts? Any challenges?
I think the best part is actually storytelling – that’s my favourite part. Rich stories behind the shoes make people want it so much more, and it feels so much more impactful. You can relate to it on a personal level, or just understand what the inspiration was behind the shoe. I love when people are able to tell a story, show their inspiration, and show their personality through a shoe. The challenging part is that I’m never able to get shoes. I don’t know how many times at this point I’ve lost out on SNKRS or even just raffles. It’s a constant struggle!

In terms the storytelling, which shoes in 2020 had the story that most appealed to you?
That’s a hard question. I actually really like the Converse ‘Mi Gente’ collection. I don’t know if I would rock them myself, but I feel the story behind them was really well executed, and I think it was cool that Converse highlighted that as well.

Sneakersbywomen's creator, Julia Lebosse

Who inspires you the most in the sneaker industry?
One of my favourites has to be Aleali May. I already liked her collaboration with Jordan Brand. And, of course, Vashtie and Melody Ehsani – I really loved their Jordans. It would be so cool to see more women with Jordan collaborations.

Which leads me onto my next question. What is your take on female-led sneaker collaborations?
I definitely think there needs to be more in the future. There aren’t enough! There’s more popping up, like AMBUSH’s upcoming Dunks – that’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’m going to try and cop those, but we’ll see how that goes. I think there needs to be more emphasis on basketball shoes as well, because that’s been somewhat neglected in terms of women, particularly signatures from females.

Finally, where do you see the sneaker industry going from here? What do you want to see change?
My whole account is focussed on featuring women, but I think there needs to be more of an emphasis on females from the sneaker industry in general. More collaborations, more everything! I’d like to see more research into the kinds of sneakers that women are looking for. As sneaker lovers and consumers, sometimes I think what women want is a bit misunderstood. Sometimes it’s just as simple as putting a men’s colourway in women’s sizing. Sometimes it’s that simple!

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