Photo collage via: Nike
Kimberly Goldson, Felisha Noel and Undra Celeste Duncan are the three Black women who designed LeBron James’ first women’s signature basketball shoe, which sold out within minutes of being released today.
The trio were recruited by Harlem’s Fashion Row’s founder, Brandice Daniel, to help the NBA star “create a shoe that honors the strength of African American women everywhere,” Nike said on its website. Founded in 2007, Harlem’s Fashion Row has been using its platform to provide a space to highlight and celebrate the work of designers of color, especially women, for over a decade.
“I never thought that something like this would come from it, to be honest,” The Root reports Noel saying. “It opens new doors for us. But I never dreamed of this—you never think, ‘okay, you’re going to partner with Nike.’ Like, I just didn’t see that coming.”
After hearing James describe his vision for the reimagination of the LeBron 16, Goldson said they all felt a kinship, explaining:
“We each had something that connected the four of us based on what LeBron saw from his mom, and the sacrifices she made for him. My mom did it. LeBron’s mom did the same for him. The connectivity was there between all of us.”
On the sole of the shoe are the words strength, loyalty, dignity, and courage, because for James: “Being the son, husband and father of strong African American women, I felt like this was something I wanted to do for them and for all the strong women out there who are succeeding despite what might be stacked against them.”
Congratulations, ladies! And thank you Harlem’s Fashion Row for uplifting and supporting designers of color.