Carlie Beard | Staff Writer
Less than 1 percent of designers in department stores are of color. Diversity in the fashion industry is often ignored and overlooked.
The Cut, a style and lifestyle website, recently published an article titled, “What it’s really like to be black and work in fashion.” The article, written by Lindsay People Wagner, stated the trials and hurdles black people, designers and celebrities have to face in the world of fashion.
Despite these obstacles, there are trailblazers such as LeBron James who challenge the norm. James has collaborated with Nike and Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) to create the LeBron 16 sneaker.
James, a world-renowned athlete, philanthropist and activist, is known for his contributions to his community. With his newly opened iPromise school in Akron, Ohio, he is creating a better future for the younger generation. Now, he has taken on the fashion industry by challenging social norms to place an important and much needed emphasis on women.
LeBron James recently teamed up with three black female designers – Fe Noel, Kimberly Goldson and Undra Celeste – and Brandice Daniel of HFR to design the LeBron 16 sneaker in honor of women across the world.
Daniel started the fashion company HFR a little over 10 years ago to give multicultural designers a platform to promote their businesses. HFR has put on countless events and fashion shows that highlight fashion designers of color, but this has been HFR’s biggest event to date.
During the first week of New York Fashion Week, Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted a Gala/Fashion Show titled the “Strongest,” and debuted the LeBron 16 sneaker collaboration at the end of the night. The event took place at the Capitale, located in New York City, and the attire was appropriately black tie and Nikes.
Fashion’s most notables were present, including fashion pioneer Dapper Dan, Fashion Bomb Daily Editor-in-Chief Claire Sulmers and fashion correspondent and influencer Tai Beauchamp. Shea Moisture Men and TRESemmé were two of the sponsors of the event.
With this unique collaboration, James wanted the sneaker to represent women. The shoe was inspired by the strongest woman in his life, his mother. Growing up in Akron and being raised by a single mother wasn’t easy. Both James and his mother, Gloria, had to make sacrifices in order for him to become successful. When describing his mother, LeBron used the words “strength,” “loyalty,” “dignity” and courage. All of these words were used as inspiration for the shoe. The words were intentionally placed on the sole of the shoe so that whenever it is worn, women stand on those powerful words confidently.
Noel, Goldson, Celeste and Daniel all united together to show “competition is out, and collaboration is in.” This sneaker is the perfect example how women can work together instead of working against each other.
The HFR x Nike x LeBron 16 sneaker sold out in less than five minutes.