Foot Locker has announced the launch of Behind Her Label, a global forum aimed at closing the gender gap in streetwear culture by recognising the long-term achievements of women who have previously gone unnoticed. Aida Kiraya, aka Afro Kickz, a London-based streetwear artist, is the first European partner.
The initiative is part of Foot Locker’s Powered By You’ online platform, which seeks to build a more inclusive future for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or ability.
Foot Locker acknowledges the gender divide in streetwear design and is taking action to close it by launching ‘Behind Her Label,’ a forum that promotes and supports young female streetwear designers. Each collaborator will design an exclusive product line that will be sold in one Foot Locker store in their hometown as well as on the Foot Locker EU website.
Aida Kiraya, the initiative’s first partner, will design a Vans capsule collection based on her African roots, with 50 pairs available at Foot Locker starting in April.
Aida founded Afro Kickz, a sneaker customization company, in 2018 with the aim of creating sneakers influenced by traditional African imagery and contemporary black culture. Aida and her peers in North London used to be ashamed of their African heritage, which is why she wanted to construct something that would shift that paradigm for future generations. Afro Kickz was born out of the love Aida had for sneakers growing up, merged with the love she now has for her culture as an adult.
Aida Kiraya, founder and sneaker customiser at Afro Kickz said: “My work is inspired by African and black culture; whether that’s other artists or inspirational figures or different parts of African culture. I really think it’s important to celebrate African culture because growing up I didn’t have that many people to look up to.
“I also don’t feel like women get a lot of recognition when it comes to streetwear, especially in my line of work. I think it’s really important to highlight women in streetwear, not a lot of people think that women are actually behind the designs they see – when I first started customising, a lot of people would always assume that I was a guy.
“I feel really honoured to have this platform with Foot Locker, because I feel like it’s a way to not only showcase the fact that I’m a woman but I’m also a black woman doing things that are inspired by where I’m from.”
Carmen Seman, Vice President of Marketing for Foot Locker in Europe, said: “Through Behind Her Label, our mission is to help close the gender gap in streetwear culture by providing resources and giving an elevated platform to emerging female streetwear designers.
“We’re excited about the collaborations with local designers; they are unique, extremely talented and their love for streetwear culture shines through in their respective collections.”