None of these Nike sneakers are (currently) made in women's sizes.
And two British sneaker fans want to change that.
Meet Emily Hodgson and Emilie Riis, the two women behind a new campaign currently running at purpleunicornplanet.com. Their goal is simple: more Nike sneakers in women's sizes (and particularly those shoes featured in the photo above).
Who doesn't want that tie dye-colored pair, after all?
BuzzFeed Fashion spoke with Hodgson and Riis earlier this week.
So, you've been struggling to find good sneakers, I guess?
Yes! This whole thing started because we had both been looking for cool trainers on our own — in stores, online, even in the States while we'd been on holidays, but without much luck. We work in the same office [at London-based ad agency 18 Feet & Rising] and got talking, first just about cool sneakers and then about how we couldn't find any!
One day in particular we went to be a big sneaker release party in Shoreditch, East London. The invites said specifically it was for women's sneakers, so we lined up for a long time…only to find out that the smallest sizes were still [far too big for us]. That was frustrating, to say the least, and also when we really decided, "OK, we're going to do something about this."
Are you both long-term sneaker buyers, then?
Nike is both of our favorite sports retail brand. But the whole "sneakerhead" identity is something that's grown and grown for us both — even more so once we started this project. It started off as mostly just a fashion thing; working in advertising we love fashion and good design. We both have sneaker collections but they're not large [because of the sizing problem]. In general, women's collections are much smaller than the men's and the colorways are usually really limited.
We just want cool sneakers, so doing something to make that possible was important for us, and seemed natural. The campaign has just grown out of that frustration — and confusion, with us thinking, you know, Why is it so hard to get these sneakers in our sizes? It's so weird that it has to be this difficult.
And so, conversely, something that shouldn't be too difficult to change?
We'd spoken to a lot of girls and they all felt the same way — [most female sneaker fans] knew about it, but we don't think anyone was really doing anything about it on a larger scale. We had just wanted to see what everyone was thinking, and then ran with it.
Sample email to/response from Nike's customer service teams:
What sort of feedback have you been getting?
You can find girls out there who are much bigger sneakerheads than we are. A lot of really hardcore fans have contacted us — supporting the campaign and sharing the message, tweeting us, emailing links to our website around. We've had emails from girls all over the world, saying how they much they appreciate our mission. You know, messages like, "If there's anything I can do for you in Texas let me know!" It's great. We've also both got a lot of personal emails with women supporting our cause.
Our website has only been up for two and a half weeks now. Obviously it's a side project, not a brief from our agency or anything, so we're only able to track the progress in our spare time — in the first 10 days of the site being up we had 138,000 page views, and Google Analytics says we're on every continent. We're getting lots of shares on Instagram too, which is great because it's girls interacting with the campaign.
How about any response from Nike?
Nike [representatives] have actually made contact — we're not sure what that means yet. But they have been in touch and said that they're aware of the campaign and what's going on. At the moment, right now, we've also had emails from other sports brands and fashion brands too. Some people making a documentary about sneakers got in touch too! A lot of doors have opened; it's all just up in the air right now.
No free special-edition sneakers yet, though?
(Laughs) We're not looking for freebies, though, that's not really the aim. We just want Nike to realize that the demand is out there, that lots of other girls feel this way and want to buy their products. We want an answer to the question why it's so difficult to do so, and we want to know what they'll do to change that.
We're coming from a good place, which is important. We're Nike fans, and we're really clear about that — the campaign is not an attack. If anything it's an endorsement of the brand. We have this goal, and now Nike knows there's a movement starting up, encouraging them to meet it. We want to get the trainers we want, we want other girls to be able to get the trainers they want, and it's great that so many people are coming together on this.
Read more about the campaign, including how to get involved, here. All it takes is a clever hashtag: #pleasejustdoit.
There's also a handy "Trainer Park" gallery to be filled with tips on where to buy styles in smaller sizes. (Brits call sneakers "trainers," hence the name.)