Essie Golden, content creator and founder of Thick Laces, a sneaker collective centering plus-size women in streetwear, said that making sneaker culture more accessible also means rightfully centering and giving creative credit to people of color. While it’s great to see sneakers on runways and red carpets, it’s imperative to remember the origins of this style.
“I think people forget that streetwear and sneaker culture was started by Black and brown people, I think it’s kind of gotten away from that,” Golden told HuffPost. “It sucks that we’re able to be the inspiration, but not always be a part of the overall culture.”
Golden also shared the importance of size accessibility in shoe wear. Because so many sneakers are unisex, it’s easier to find actually good-looking shoes in a wide range of sizes, compared to, say, heels or flats, which often don’t run past a women’s 11.
“I’ve been plus-size my entire life. You know, when you finally find something in your size, like it’s life-changing,” she said.
Alysse Dalessandro, a content creator, sneaker collector and Thick Laces member, said that fatphobia can still permeate footwear. When the hottest style of sneakers runs super narrow, it’s easy to feel like you literally don’t fit in.
“But it doesn’t mean that you’re good or bad or your feet are good or bad or your body’s good or bad,” Dalessandro said. “It just means that there are certain styles that work best.”
Dalessandro noted how inspiring and helpful it’s been to see other plus-size people style streetwear. She suggests DMing or emailing your style icons about their process, and encourages people to do the same to her. Chanel and Golden are open to messages, too. Through the groups’ hashtag #thicklaces and #kicksandfros, you can check out posts from women all over rocking sneakers.
And if you’re to get some new sneaks for spring, the trio shared the kicks they’re loving right now.
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