We caught up with Brooklyn-based Donette Lowe after we were tipped off about “The Drop,” an event she hosted last Sunday (June 17, 2018) at Kinfolk in Brooklyn. The gathering was an hosted by Cozy Girl Squad, an organization she founded that celebrates sneaker and streetwear culture from the perspective of women.
In addition to lots of women in cozy ‘fits and sneakers, there was also lots of good music and food. The gathering also included a fundraising element with funds donated to Building Beats, an organization that uses music to empower New York’s low-income youth.In an email exchange, Lowe spoke frankly about her hopes and dreams for Cozy Girl Squad, and provided her frank views on the current state of women’s sneakers (better) and streetwear (lots of room to improve!). Check it out below.
Snobette: When did you start up Cozy Girl Squad?
Lowe: “I started up Cozy Girl Squad back in 2015 and officially launched it in 2016. In true streetwear culture fashion, an early male collaborator tried to claim the concept for his own, but I wouldn’t change that start for the world. It reminds me of true underground culture. It started off as site where I only interviewed other dope women and wrote event recaps, and now it’s grown into a creative collective.
Snobette: Where are you based?
Lowe: “I’m based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and originally from Kansas City, Kansas.”
Snobette: What are your goals for Cozy Girl Squad?
Lowe: “My goals for CGS range from doing cool shit with people I truly think are creative geniuses to completely disrupting the way that streetwear represents women and erases women of color. I think that leaves so much room for my goals to be as direct or indirect as possible, but its very clear to me that I want to change the industry for us and connect women who feel the same way that I do.
“Right now, we tackle those goals by creating content that we want to see, producing events, and eventually, I would love for our collective to take on creative commissions for some of our favorite brands and companies.”
Snobette: You just held your second event, call “The Drop” at Kinfolk in Brooklyn. What happened at the event and how was the turn out?
Lowe: “It was our celebration of CGS getting active again. After I did C.A.K.E. in partnership with House of Malcolm, I knew CSG needed to go another route but I wasn’t sure. I took the time to fully develop my business, brand and concept, and “The Drop” was the starting point for a new beginning.
“I love Kinfolk, its like a creative paradise. So I wanted to bring out the girls who love streetwear and kicks, connect them, as well as just bring people out to have a good time in their Nike Tech. The event was literally a nice little Sunday kickback with good tunes and food. We had DJ Ella Hussle come through and then Chef Tay Renee did a custom menu for the event, twas crazy. We kicked it, I did a few giveaways, and folks connected with each other. The turn out was solid, I’m definitely hoping more
people come out and experience the vibes at the next one.”
Snobette: I’ve heard there were a lot of women in kicks at the event. What brands and silhouettes dominated?
Lowe: “Yeah, the girls definitely showed up. I will definitely say that Nike dominated the scene, no question. Jordan 1s dominated, Air Maxes took second. We had everything from the women’s [Jordan] Shattered Satin 1s to the [Jordan 1] Rebel Top 3s. I loved that I saw a lot of women’s-only silhouettes, I’m glad brands are listening to us.”
Snobette: What shoes did you wear to the event?
Lowe: “Won’t lie, I felt a little extra so I did an outfit change midway. The first pair I wore were the Nike Zoom Fly Betrue and then changed into the Shattered Satin 1s.”
Snobette: What drop did you miss out on this year or wanted but simply couldn’t afford?
Lowe: “Can I name two please? So I slept on the Air VaporMax Plus in Bleached Aqua. SLEPT. I was sick when I realized they were gone, I don’t know why my radar was off and I thought no one would be that pressed. Now my real heartbreak came in for the Air Max 97 Plus Racer Pink Hyper Magenta. I got on SNKRS early, clicked on my size at the drop, and waited the longest two minutes of my life for them to tell me that my size was gone. I’m small-feet crew, so I know it was all the girls who grabbed them. The price being too high definitely comes into play for me with some of the collab or premium drops.”
Snobette: What are your thoughts on how the major brands are handling product for women?
Lowe: “I can say almost instantly that I think the sneaker brands are doing way better with women’s product than the streetwear brands, I think people often interchange the two and…nah. Nike definitely drops more heat for women than any other brand. I think Puma still has too much of a shrink it and pink it mentality. Adidas is one of my least faves in general for the fit, but I will say they are trying. I think one brand no one ever mentions is New Balance. I think they are trying to even out the playing field by offering a lot of their men’s options in smaller sizes, always seem to be in stock.
“As far as streetwear, women’s options still suck. I won’t get into Supreme. However one of my faves, Stüssy, just dropped some new lookbooks and women’s pales in comparison to men’s. Bobby Hundreds and Jennifer is literally not okay and I love The Hundreds. He designed a women’s line that is the most basic thing and still with the mindset of appealing to men. Kith could also use some overhaul for women because branded spandex is not representative of the things we ask for.
“I think other brands like Wood Wood and Ader Error are doing a good job. It’s coming along, but streetwear definitely needs to catch up with the sneaker industry. I would love to see the few women-created brands that we have step it up.”
Snobette: In terms of marketing, how are the brands doing in terms of representing young women of color?
Lowe: “So glad that you asked this, this is why Cozy Girl Squad exists. It is outrageous how women of color continue to inspire the entire culture, especially for women, and yet you don’t see us represented. Throwing in one racially ambiguous girl out of nine photos in your brand grid is not enough. And seeing women wearing the very things we get called ghetto, unladylike and everything in-between for…we consistently play the muse and never get the placement.”
“All of that is to say that brands are doing terrible at representing young women of color outside of tokenism, racial ambiguity and invisible inspiration. I don’t see myself reflected, I see constant reminders that no matter how inspirational I am, I’m not good enough by this culture’s standards to be represented and credited for what women of color are responsible for.
“It is also to mention that I don’t think women as a whole are represented well at all. If I see another girl naked in a Supreme shirt on a hotel bed as a campaign drop, I’m going to start a riot in SoHo. While the goal is to eliminate the lack of representation for women of color, we are not with the misrepresentation of women in the culture at all.”
Snobette: What do you think the brands could do better?
Lowe: “Bring women, and especially women of color, into the rooms when the creation process happens instead of just the casting or social co-signs with product seeding post creation. If we were there at the start, a lot of the misrepresentation, appropriation, and overall misogyny wouldn’t be a thing.”
Snobette: While there’s a lot more online options for buying coveted product, there are still some apparel and footwear drops that involve standing in a line. Do you think women view the prospect of waiting in a line differently than men?
Lowe: “Absolutely, women just aren’t doing it. Between being uncomfortable and the likelihood of our sizes not being there or even available from the beginning, its a no for us. I think guys still place a lot of value of that part of the cop and women would just like things to even be made for us in the first place.”
Snobette: What does Cozy Girl Squad have planned next?
Lowe: Now, we cook. We reminded people what we stand for with “The Drop,” and now it’s really time to put our energy into the mission and create the art we want to have in the world. We also want to continue to host events that center around the things we value like art, culture, wellness, etc. all through a streetwear-tinted lens.”
Check out a video recap of the event below. Find more info about Lowe’s organization at CozyGirlSquad.