For Women's History Month, start up Sneaker-Lab asked five women, including me, to each design a collection that tells a story about who they are and what inspires them. The collection was produced in collaboration with Nike iD, and was released on International Women's Day, March 8th, for one week only.
Since this is my first solo footwear collection, I wanted to make sure it looked like me and my brand. I've often had people ask why I don't have merchandise so I wanted to make sure it included elements that I'm known for - my shegotgame tag, the color red and a mix of athletic and fashion fabrics.
The “shegotgame Phoenix” capsule collection is inspired by the phoenix as it burns brightly before turning to ash and being reborn. As an entrepreneur, I often feel that my career is in a constant state of renewal, from 2017 to 2018. The phoenix represents passion, purpose and progress to me - passion in chasing my dreams, purpose in finding my path and progress in constantly evolving and growing. I’ve been able to turn my dreams into reality in 2018 by obtaining a work visa to work in the US - something that I chose to do, after seven long years. So I’m donating 10% of my sales to the ACLU to help other dreamers rise up and achieve, since many didn't choose to come here, I want to make sure they're able to stay and be successful.
The Presto “Progress” is inspired by the rebirth of the phoenix, rising from the ashes and the renewal of energy. The cream symbolizes a new beginning but also the perfectionism entrepreneurs need to overcome to move forward. The red is the phoenix becoming stronger. I decided to use white for the Nike check and ID tags for a pop of bright white to signify hope and also to keep the upper on the foot more tonal. I wanted the ID tag to pop against the black cage, which represents the strength and dark past of the phoenix, before it rose again.
The gum sole is a nod to the natural elements, of the phoenix being born of the earth and rooted to nature. It's also a tie to New York and Toronto - my two cities where gum soles reign supreme. I picked the textured fabric on the Presto because it best resembles wings and the texture shows the little imperfections in the off-white color when you look up close - much like in life something may look perfect from far away in reality, there is depth, texture, even in new beginnings.
I picked the Presto as it was engineered for the wearer’s foot to take control of the shoe— and in life we need to take control and push the limits to progress - like the phoenix. I also grew up running track, as it was my first real foray into team sports (cross country and track and field) and I was always running through parks and the city growing up. A running silhouette like Presto felt like a great combination of sports and style as it's shoe that is dual purpose.
To celebrate the collection, I shot a lookbook with renowned fashion photographer Darrel Hunter to help tie the three shoes together visually and to express my style, my story and show others how to wear the shoe with different kinds of looks.
I’m hoping to use this collection as a case study for continued design work in the footwear industry and to empower other young women to use design to tell their stories and claim their stake in the sneaker world.
Photographer: Darrel Hunter
Hair Stylist: Chrissy at Stag & Hen Hair
Dress: Lil Lilly
Mesh Turtleneck: Ganni @ Net-a-Porter
Rings: Maison Margiela and vintage
Earrings and Tights: Forever 21