This year, gender has been a big topic in the LGBT+ community. More and more people now identify outside of the traditional gender binaries and more people are aware of different gender identities.
Over the past few years, fashion companies like Zara, H&M and ASOS have come out with gender-neutral clothing and makeup, which is obviously fab. However, there is a big issue with high street stores not stocking shoe sizes above an 8 in what they deem to be the “women’s section”. For many, a size 8 shoe is just too small – especially for transgendered and non-binary people.
That’s where TSKENYA comes in: a new brand of “affordable, on-trend and comfortable footwear” designed especially for people with bigger feet.
The founder, self-taught Hackney designer Tskenya-Sarah Frazer, has made the most out of her millennial skills using a combination of YouTube tutorials and online courses to create the designs for the shoes.
Tskenya has taken inspiration from many queer artists, such as Prince.
The velvet pants in this photo was one of the textural inspirations behind the ANDREA boot. Prince, forever an icon ✨✨✨ A post shared by #TSKSQUAD (@officialtskenya) on Nov 14, 2017 at 1:29am PST
TSKENYA has recently hit their Kickstarter goal – within a month! – and is already wanting to start implementing care packages and support the LGBTQ+ community.
In their ‘Behind the brand’ video, the 23-year-old entrepreneur talks on realising her brand mission was a lot bigger than herself, “a cis-gendered heterosexual woman.” She found that many transgender and non-binary people couldn’t find shoes or brands that represented them. From that moment, she decided that her brand will “stance against gendered marketing and will to use the brand to illuminate other people’s voices.”
She is making sure her company is stylish and affordable, adding: “competes with other high street and e-commerce retailers: people should not have to spend more because of the size of their feet.”
The brand is being backed by Prince’s Trust, and has had support from the likes of Vogue Spain, The Telegraph and Out Magazine – we can see why! Jinx Monsoon is even on board.
What’s even cooler is that there is a story and personality to each shoe so you know you’re getting a product that has love and passion stitched into it. Read more about the shoe’s inspirations here.
Tskenya is one of the panel members for ‘Maintaining Optimism’ at the BIRDSONG Store, London on 18 December 2017. She will be talking about activism, the concept of intersectionality and what is needed to keep making an impact and change in the fashion industry.
Words: Darren Mew