SHAVONE. (née Shavone Charles) is a musician, entrepreneur, founder and creative – and now she’s the star in PUMA’s latest campaign for their latest versions of their classic Suede VNTG silhouettes. As announced by HYPEBEAST, the campaign photographs were shot by famed streetwear photographer Christine Jane and SHAVONE. took to social media to bring the heat to her 16.1k Instagram followers in her navy blue iterations.
“I often partner with creatives across my network and within my creative collective Magic In Her Melanin as well on different projects and loved working with my photographer and friend Cristine Jane on the portraits featured in the campaign,” the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 alum told HelloBeautiful about her latest collaboration. “When PUMA [tapped me] to help anchor the Suede campaign, they gave me the full creative runway to creative direct my own portraits and truly express my vision in bringing a new take on the vintage shoe to life.”
HelloBeautiful exclusively caught up with the VSCO Communications and Creative Partnerships Director about her first PUMA collaboration, the role that sneakers play in fashion and Black culture, and the direct connection between fashion and technology. Check out the full interview below.
HelloBeautiful: When did you first become interested in fashion and sneakers?
SHAVONE.: [Fashion] has always been an extension of my voice and creativity throughout my childhood and adulthood. Streetwear in particular was a key part of my cultural fabric and upbringing with my dad and brothers being very heavy into vintage sportswear, everyday fashion and sneakers. I spent my earlier years being very into all of the unconventional things that “girls” weren’t supposed to be interested in, including gaming, music (as a rapper and classically trained flautist), sneakers, [and] basketball.
HB: What’s your go-to PUMAs?
SHAVONE.: I love the suede body because it’s classic. The silhouette is timeless and [I] always opt for simplicity and timelessness with my favorite fashion pieces and sneakers.
HB: How did this collaboration come about?
SHAVONE.: The PUMA team and I have been in touch since last year. Their team had reached out earlier on and expressed interest in collaborating. The timing on this particular campaign was so perfect for me, as I had just built out a creative studio at home throughout shelter in place for content production. With making my music and being signed to FORD Models, I’ve had to really flex my creative muscles with at-home content creation, creative direction, styling, makeup – you name it!
HB: What is your relationship like with the PUMA brand? Have you always loved PUMA sneakers, and what do you love most about the brand in general?
SHAVONE.: As a brand, they are really in the streets, doing grassroots collaborations with Black creatives that are the pulse of culture and thought leaders across creative industries. [PUMA] is paying attention to diverse thought leaders who are leading in disruptive ways. Their work with the late Nipsey [Hussle] has been a hallmark example of how authentic and thoughtful they have been with Black creators. Right now, it’s critical for brands to have a point of view and mission that’s clear to their consumers and creators. PUMA has done a great job aligning their mission alongside the brands and creators they partner with. Our campaign was just the start of hopefully much more to come in 2021!
HB: As a Black woman, what does this creative collaboration mean for our community?
SHAVONE.: Simply put – we can’t be what we can’t see. This collaboration is one of so many more needed moments – and campaigns – that involve mainstream brands championing Black women and Black creatives that are not boxed into one single industry or monolithic category. Too often, we’re pressured to think we need to shrink in order to exist in mainstream spaces and truly thrive. I want to see the Diaspora of more Black stories and identities of Black women holistically represented, in our full spectrum and brilliance.
HB: How have sneakers played an integral role in the Black community?
SHAVONE.: Sneakers and fashion in general are pillars of Black creativity, Black future and Black renaissance. We are the pulse of “cool” and have been since the beginning of time. Sneakers have been such a staple part of our fashion DNA and self-expression. For Black women in particular, I feel being a “sneakerhead” and being bold with fashion that channels street and androgyny are all forms of protest and radical existence. For me, sneakers are freeing and gender defying.
HB: Why is the relationship between technology and style important within the fashion industry, especially for sneaker brands?
SHAVONE.: Technology is the nucleus of all things creative right now. From fashion to music and entertainment, technology continues to be the glue connecting all of these communities and ideas together. Sneaker culture is one of the biggest interest verticals on social and across the entire internet right now, and has been for some time. During my time at Instagram and Twitter, I worked with data engineers to look at consumer interest verticals and most-talked-about topics around the world. Year after year, report after report, I logged “sneaker culture” and “fashion” as two of the top mentioned subjects on two of the biggest platforms in the world. If you think about Instagram – what would the platform be without fashion or streetwear? So many creators can now stand in front of their style and stories through social, with the world at their fingertips. Technology has created increased access in fashion and I’m excited to see technology continue to disrupt the fashion industry.