Actually, that’s It’s A Man’s World. Yup, Reebok has teamed up with Jazerai Allen-Lord (pictured above, far right), creative consultant, designer, and sneaker expert, for its latest collection. Jazerai is a multi-hyphenate who has been in the sneaker world for years covering trends, working with several brands, being vocal about the lack of diversity behind the scenes, and expressing frustrations with cliche sneaker styles geared toward women, as well as who actually tends to get the chance to design shoes.
“I’ve never seen a pack of sneakers designed by four out of five women of color, two of them being dark-skinned women. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a dark-skinned woman other than Serena Williams get a shoe. And yeah, most of the time they to give us one pair and then they make us wait a couple years, and then that one pair goes to a light-skinned girl with curly hair,” Jazerai explains to MadameNoire.
How many times have you seen a fire sneaker drop that didn’t come in your size because they only catered bigger men’s sizes? Or how about the times certain brands actually do release shoes geared toward women! Did you notice that they tend to only release pink colorways or stereotypically girly styles? Yeah, that’s annoying. There’s nothing wrong with being into girly designs, but it’s frustrating when that’s the only option provided to the point where it becomes trite. That’s also why this is a big deal! We know that Reebok has joined forces with Cardi B, but it’s refreshing to know that you don’t always have to be an A-list celebrity to get all the things.
Jazerai is defying convention and making sure that women have a place in a predominantly male world. The shoe she designed for the collection is an update to Reebok’s classic Club C.
Jazerai says she chose the Club C because it’s a timeless shoe that goes with everything, which works with her lifestyle as busy businesswoman, and mother of two boys. Speaking of her sons, the shoe is versatile enough for them to wear as well due to its neutral colorway and design. Their birth dates are embossed in gold on the nubuck tongue, while the sock liner features a handwritten note and illustrations of women who have inspired her throughout her life. The shoe’s hangtags feature Adinkra symbols. One symbol is “Eban,” which represents love, safety, and security, and is also one of Jazzy’s tattoos inspired by her sons, while the other symbol is the “Nyansapo,” representing wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience. Finally, the word “Blessed” is embossed in the sneaker’s logo window, referencing Jazzy’s faith and her first successful design project, God Bless the Fresh.
“Blessed is an all-encompassing, unisex feeling and reflects that my life has come with sacrifice. We need to be transparent and real with ourselves with where we’re at. I am blessed to be here today. Just remember that,” says Jazerai via press release. “Striking out ‘it’s a man’s world’ for me means that I can wear a full men’s outfit if I want, and men can wear my shoe if they want. It’s not man’s world, it’s an inclusive world for everybody, where everything is interchangeable.”
Jazerai brought friends along on her journey. She selected Sanne Poeze of Girl on Kicks, Kimberly Drew, Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde (WondaGurl), and Anhia Zaira Santana (Distordedd) to design their own respective shoes (expected out on September 1). According to Reebok, the brand plans to continue to drive awareness around gender equality so we can expect a new partnership and collaborative sneaker to launch every month from September through January, exclusively at www.Reebok.com/IAMW, in inclusive men’s and women’s size ranges.
Here’s a closer look at the women behind It’s A Man’s World.
Jazerai stated that she has some sort of personal connection with each woman chosen. They were also chosen because they fit Reebok’s mission and aesthetic.
Issa Cool Mom Summer!
You may have seen Distordedd’s art on murals around the country.
Sanne, based in the Netherlands, has also been at the forefront of female sneaker culture for years.
This Toronto-based producer has worked with Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, Jay Z, Drake, SZA, Young Thug, Kanye West, and more.
Kimberly Drew is known on IG for her killer sense of style, but she also curates Black Art experiences. She recently left her post as social media manager for Metropolitan Museum of Art to pursue her own projects.