As of last year, women’s sneakers had a huge success. Women’s sneakers sales rose by 37% in 2018 as compared to 2017. Women are choosing comfort over everything. Last year, the runways featured sneakers left and right at the global fashion weeks, causing the lines between luxury and streetwear to blur and merge together as one.
We have truly entered the age of sneakers and skirts and women are getting cozy in their rightful places in this male-dominated industry. Women are changing the streetwear arena one step at a time and formulating their own spot in the industry. For years, the streetwear industry has been dominated by male fashion professionals and even dubbed it as the “boy’s club”, shunning the idea of including women. Other figureheads in the industry are beginning to notice and speak up about this topic. Designer Heron Preston has even stated that “streetwear has always ignored the voice of females”. Well, women are making their voices heard now and solidifying their place in streetwear in more areas than just style.
Female Sneaker Collaborations
In December, Aleali May released her “Court Lux” sneaker pack collaboration with the Nike Jordan shoe brand, which sold out everywhere within a few hours following the release. Just last week, May released her Air Jordan 6 Millenial Pink sneakers which also sold out the same day. These were Aleali’s second and third collaborations with Nike’s Jordan brand and Aleali is the second women ever to do a collab with Jordan after Vashtie. Also, Lebron James’ HFR x Lebron 16 was his first women’s basketball shoe collab with Nike and Harlem’s Fashion Row released last year in September. More importantly, the sneaker was designed by three talented Black women: Undra Celeste, Kimberly Goldson, and Fe Noel. Serena Williams even joined in on the women’s sneaker fun by teaming up with Virgil Abloh and Nike for the “Queen” collection featuring 10 classic Off White x Nike shoes. Let’s not forget that Kylie Jenner finally joined her family on the Adidas team as their newest brand ambassador and released the Falcon shoe, which was a huge success as it sold out as well.
“Streetwear has always ignored the voice of females.”-Heron Preston
A Women’s Touch
Women have added their own little touch to streetwear by giving two spectrums of style for two different type of women. On one end, you have the typical cozy style which includes hoodies, sweatshirts, and graphic tees. However, edgy chic is becoming an increasingly popular style in women’s streetwear. Apparent in brands like Matte Brand and MISBHV, edgy chic combines feminine elements like lace and body con with street hints like leather and reworks them to push the boundaries of regular fashion and streetwear. Edgy chic highlights liberated and free-spirited women by encouraging women to be rebellious and sexy in what they wear.
Women, Streetwear, and Fashion
Women globally are creating their own independent roles in areas like politics and sports, so it was only a matter of time before the domination trickled down into the fashion industry, specifically streetwear fashion. With strong self-sufficient mindsets, women are beginning to start their own businesses. Many women are pursuing the paths of becoming self-made and self-taught entrepreneurs in fashion, mainly Black women.
Women like Rihanna and Aleali May are influential figures who have been paving the way for the expansion of women’s roles in streetwear. Brands like Bephie, MadeMe, Sporty and Rich, and many more are all setting the example that streetwear can be for women by women. The creation of these women’s brands has opened doors for women to truly express and be themselves. Even brands like KITH, Stüssy, and Nike have began to weigh in on increasing the presence of women in their brands through inclusion of womenswear extensions.
As for the future of women’s streetwear, opportunities for growth and expansion are evident, but recognition is the challenge at hand. We are in the era of the women, yet our voices are still not being heard. Women are looking for more opportunities for comfort and streetwear has that for us. For some of us, streetwear has always been a first choice when it comes to fashion and style even when it was not on our side. The big break for women’s streetwear is coming, it just all comes to do two things to bring ultimate success to women’s streetwear and women in streetwear: change and support. It is about time to recognize these women in streetwear and support brands with selection specifically curated for us.
Credits for Pretty Phresh exclusive: photography by Kadeem Morris; (@jamrockdawg); stying by Monae Bynum (@hiiimmoe); modeled by Ayanna McKie (@ay.annaa) and Tyonna Parker (@tyeskii); makeup by Innocencia Miller (@inno.artistry); and, creative direction by Morgan Smith (@muvamorgs).