Stylist and designer Keia Kodama had a major moment this year with her “Hair Force 1s,” a one-off sneaker art project created to pay homage to the Black hair and beauty industry. Working off a pair of Nike Air Force 1 High kicks, Kodama customized the upper with braids and baby hairs and overlaid the famed Swoosh with repurposed bamboo earrings.
While the project was centered on celebrating the ever creative Black hair industry, the use of a Nike sneaker can also be interpreted as a statement on Black women’s importance to and influence on sneaker culture. While historically underrepresented in campaigns and among design teams, if you remove all the many things Black women like Kodama have contributed to sneaker culture, you end up with, well, a pair of Keds!
Commenting on the hitting-all-notes appeal of her No. 1 pick, Air Jordan x A Ma Maniére Retro 3: Raised by Women, Kodama explained, “The story telling and paying homage to women was amazing. The subtle details are one of those necessities that you didn’t know you needed.”
Check out all five of her selections below.