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The historically male-focused sneaker industry is being challenged by designers like Aleali May and new platforms to encourage female sneakerheads


Maya Moore x Aleali May Air Jordan Court Lux Collection

Some women are challenging the sneaker industry, which has been known to often exclude female creatives and fans.
Aleali May was the first woman to design unisex sneaker for the Jordan brand, and the second to have an official Air Jordan collaboration.
Two female sneakerheads just launched a female-oriented sneaker site to help facilitate greater access to products for women.
Here’s a look at how women are finding a place in the multi-billion dollar industry.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Aleali May has been described as the most influential female sneakerhead. And truth be told, she probably is.

As the first woman to design a unisex sneaker for the Jordan brand — and the second to have an official Air Jordan collaboration in the brand’s 36-year history — May is certainly one of the more vocal and accomplished female sneakerheads in the game.

Plus, with close to half a million followers on Instagram, she’s made a name for herself in the historically male-dominated industry.

“We’re just now seeing a lot of collabs outside of Nike as well really gravitate towards women and realizing that there’s this whole huge lane that hasn’t been filled yet,” May told Business Insider in an interview about how she got her start in the industry and how she’s helping pave the way for other female sneakerheads.

The sneaker industry’s ‘Boys Club’

The multibillion-dollar sneaker industry has been historically known to exclude women in various capacities, from limiting female sneaker sizes in hyped drops to lacking strong female representation at the design and creation level.

“I think a lot of these stories about the sneaker world can be very male-focused,” said Jacques “Kustoo” Slade, one of the most influential content creators and hosts in the sneaker world. “I don’t think the female voice is given enough credit.”

While icons like Virgil Abloh, Tinker Hatfield, and Jason Petrie might be some of the more iconic faces on the design side of the sneaker industry, there are women who are involved in and appreciate the culture just as much.

For May, becoming a female pioneer in the sneaker world was never her intention. Earlier in her career she worked at Chicago-based conceptual gallery RSVP Gallery, which was created by the famous sneaker and streetwear designers Virgil Abloh and Don C. Eventually May moved back to her hometown in Los Angeles, California, and she was approached by the Jordan team in 2015.

“They reached out and just wanted to have an organic conversation at first,” May said of the start of her Jordan journey. “And then they were just like, ‘Hey, do you want to come to Portland [Oregon] and just talk more Jordan talk?’ And of course I did not say no.”

Eight meetings later, May was asked to design a sneaker for the brand. And while doing so would make her the second woman to have an official Jordan collaboration, May said at the time, she wasn’t really thinking about the implications of the offer.

“Honestly, I …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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