Keds is releasing a collection of Latin-inspired shoes. Now, before you wonder why it’s okay for some brands to appropriate a culture while it’s not okay for others to do so — as we saw with the Carolina Herrera Resort 2020 line — it’s all about the intention and collaboration. Here’s how you do it right: Keds partnered up with two Latinas to create a shoe based on their heritage and culture.
“Introducing two new collabs from women-run brands we love,” Keds posted on Instagram. “Elena Gil and Thelma Davila are the female entrepreneurs behind Costa Rican jewelry and accessories brand Lolita Mia and Guatemalan lifestyle brand Thelma Davila. Both women are self-starters that believe strongly in themselves.”
It looks like the collaboration between the shoe brand and the women is extending beyond shoes. Thelma Davila posted this image of adorable and colorful card holders.
“We teamed up with Thelma Davila as part of our Ladies for Ladies collection to create this playful, fiesta-ready sneaker,” Keds said in a press release, “Thelma sits at the helm (as founder, CEO, and designer) of her eponymous lifestyle brand, a Latin American company that handcrafts women’s accessories using traditional Guatemalan textiles.”
For the Lolita Mia shoe, her collection was “Inspired by the tropical exuberance of her homeland, Elena handcrafts beautiful jewelry and accessories to bring elegant comfort to every day.”
The shoe retails for $69 and is available only online.
This is not the first time Keds teamed up with women of color designers to release a culturally-inspired design. This year the company also joined forces with Brooklyn-based, sustainable, and ethical textile brand, ace&jig. They work with woven textiles from India that are made from “ethically-made, custom yarn-dyed woven textiles.”
“Keds brings an authenticity to their craft that resonates with us: they are the only sneaker brand in the world that has been making sneakers for women for over 100 years,” ace&jig co-founders Jenna Wilson and Cary Vaughan said about the collection on the Keds site, according to the Daily Beast.
When a brand decides they want to sell a collection that is inspired by any culture, that is different from their own, what is crucial to do is seek out designers from that culture and collaborate. Consumers will appreciate that.