Setting sneaker sexism straight: Titi Finlay on bringing female voices into streetwear culture

Streetwear has its faults. Like society as a whole, this community has areas it can improve and people it can include.

Women are a group we can do more for, and Titi Finlay is making this known.

“We can fix this by having more women making decisions at the top and being part of the conversation.”

She’s speaking from experience. Titi heads up the social media for Laced HQ, a sneaker marketplace, having spent time at ASOS beforehand. She has seen the lack of female voices being given platforms in streetwear’s conversation.

“I don’t think the exclusion of women in sneakers is 100% deliberate, it’s just uninformed.

“There are so many men I speak with who are pleasantly surprised that a female designer designed their favourite pairs, and when I tell them about the sizing struggles its just something they never considered.”

It is something that goes ignored in the culture. A marketplace where everyone is out for themselves, looking to cop the latest hyped item to stunt or resell, some people don’t even have an opportunity to get the product in their size.

And, with only a small narrative pushing to change this, it’s an issue that can easily be ignored by the consumers who manage to get their shoe fix.

Titi, however, has spent time highlighting the key steps that need to be taken to level the playing field. Number one: more women.

The two words may seem obvious, but behind the scenes, the people calling the shots aren’t the people living the issues. Having “more women in roles like mine and making the big decisions” is a progressive move for the industry.

Alongside this, telling the stories that need to be heard is integral. The importance of covering every aspect, avenue and event in female sneaker culture cannot be overstated.

A friend of the Scottish designer once said: “You can’t put us in a box because there is no one definition of a female sneaker head”. It’s these differences that need celebrating.

Having recently held a Nike By You workshop in their London store, Titi’s work is shaping the brands around her. And through events like these, she’s putting the demands of the consumer right in the faces of the corporations.

“Listen to your supporters and cultivate your community! The sneaker industry must become more inclusive and sustainable to survive.”

The power is in our hands, the consumers, and with people like Titi at the forefront of the culture, long overdue and much needed change is heading our direction. Once it does, the fashion industry will be a much better place for it. But there’s no resting on our laurels, the scene has a lot of work that needs to be done.

Titi Finlay speaking to Wear? Archives.

Images courtesy of Titi Finlay (@ttfinlay).

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