While I attended the Agenda Festival in Long Beach, I go to catch up with three woman that embody girl power in this male dominated fashion industry. Two of these women belong to an organization called Girl Mob based out in Brooklyn,New York. Girl Mob is a popular blog that concentrates on embodying and celebrating women of color and when I asked them what it’s like to be apart of male heavy industry and how streetwear became apart of their lives. Founder Yari Blanco stated “You know…I remember when I was 12, my cousin took me to the shoe shop and bought me my first pair of Filas and with that tomboy chic I just felt confident and comfortable literally and figuratively so I think in that way it saved my life” while co-founder Brittany Edwards felt that “streetwear allows me to be a non-traditional feminist”.
When I asked Yari how she felt about the industry being male dominated, she personally feels like the industry needs to step up being that there isn’t always a girl section amongst a streetwear brand, she believes that bigger brands should take initiative to hire more women and follow the path of what Puma’s doing (putting woman like Vashtie, Solange, and Rihanna in the forefront to design and create for other women). After Yari gave me her take, Brittany explained to me that no matter what, she’s always prepared whether her surroundings are male dominated or not. Following her statement, she shared an upcoming event she is working on called “Straight to Feet” to bring more women together. Not only will the event educate and connect other women but to also share one another’s passion for sneakers and possibly motivate each other to shake up the industry and become more involved within streetwear’s sneaker/fashion communities and/or possibly carve out their own lane for girls to follow.
While the duo are creating opportunities for other women to collaborate and create opportunities for one another, a young woman who happened to a rep for Melodi Eshani (an empowering platform that embraces women and streetwear) named Deseray also gave me her own take on what it’s like to be in a fashion world dominated by men. Once we started chatting, Deseray expressed that streetwear is definitely dominated by men and wish there were more avenues for women who love streetwear but is definitely a reason why she loves being apart of Melody’s streetwear collaborative brand . Even though she would like to continue being fashionable while being comfortable, she still has a hard time navigating the limited pieces that would best suit her look and that she wants that narrative to change within itself.
Although we cant exactly create a huge change between now and the next 24 hours on the opportunities that streetwear provides to women, we can continue to support uplifting and innovative platforms like Girl Mob and Melody Eshani’s brand (along with her Reebok collaboration) and attend events like Straight to Feet to encourage women to keep knocking these doors of opportunity down . If there is no door, create one not only for yourself but for the sake of inspiring the next 12 year old girl out there who’s going sneaker shopping with their cousin right now. All in all, it’s time to shake up the narrative for the better of the culture.