The Art of Prestige

“I want to show the wide range in ways women can look amazing in sneakers. You don’t have to just wear track pants, you don’t have to just wear a certain type of sneakers. I think the more women who get profiled in sneakers in different styles, you can see that they are as versatile as any other item that could be in your closet.”

~Joyita

One of the most endearing aspects of art is how it defies definition. That’s not too suggest art can’t be identified or explained … rather, it’s that it can’t and shouldn’t be “confined”. No restrictions. No parameters. No limits. No borders. Art is art:

Always

Repelling

Tradition

(Leave your own version of an acrostic definition of ART in the comments).

For she.lace there’s art, and then there’s the “Art of Prestige”. Prestige: widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality.

So here’s the question, have sneakers achieved an art of prestige gold standard? When you answer this we implore you to look at the definition above and consider the quality of sneaker art as well as its achievements. For she.lace, sneaker culture is still missing: that one brush stroke for its painting, that one lyric for its song, that one choreographed move for its dance routine, that one F-stop/shutter speed/ISO setting for the ideal photo.

Yes, sneakers are art… And yes, they have an art of prestige. No, we don’t believe that prestige has been fully developed. Of course, sneakers are widely respected and recognized as a method of expression…which is a certified form of art (at least in our opinion). But who do these “expressions” come from? More importantly, who’s “expressions” are celebrated? As far as we’re concerned, the above-mentioned individuals aren’t comprised of enough people with XX chromosomes. In order for sneaker art to gain its prestige it needs to represent (and put on display) all the multitudes of “artists” it has created. It needs to be more inclusive for all: Wo(men). That’s one of the most imPRESSive things about art, it includes everyone.

There were some details we needed to iron out this week (sorry, we couldn’t resist). So, we made a trip to Toronto’s famed Gooderham building… Better known as the “Flatiron Building”. Not to press the issue (okay, okay… we’re done haha) but this illustrious piece of architecture certainly has an art of prestige. Firstly, let’s explain why it’s referred to as the “Flatiron Building”:

PicMonkey Collage

There’s a very intriguing story behind the red-brick exterior, steep copper sheathed roof, regal apex dome, unique triangular shaped building that has been calling downtown Toronto home since 1892. It’s name comes from the original owners, the Gooderham family, who commissioned it to be built (well-known Canadian family who grew wealthy in the distillery and banking industries, Gooderham and Worts Distillery).

Sidebar: notice we said since 1892?! Which means it was constructed 10 years BEFORE the renowned, and better-known, New York City Flatiron Building. Actually, the Gooderham building served as the inspiration for the famous NYC rendition in 1902. Looks like Drake isn’t the first Toronto icon to inspire, just saying!

This designated Heritage Property owes its shape to the triangular intersection(s) on which it’s built. Its official address is 49 Wellington Street East…but it stands in between Wellington, Church and Front Street. The diagonal route these streets follow is due to the route Toronto’s waterfront once followed (dating back to the 19th-century).

Flatiron building
A snapshot of the Gooderham Building (west side) in downtown Toronto. (Painting by Derek Besant)

So if you ever find yourself in the St. Lawrence Market area just take a moment to stop and admire this beautiful piece of ARTchitecture.

That intersection where old meets new, and vintage flirts with contemporary… That’s where we find an icon. And if this intersection happened to have a place for incredibly stylish, remarkably intelligent and just simply DOPE women… We would find Joyita living there. The only thing more infectious than her eclectic fashion sense is her giggle that forces you to be jubilant when you hear it (we have proof that’ll test this theory, keep reading – ⬇️). On any given day, this journalist extraordinaire can be seen bustling through the newsroom of the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation, it’s kind of a big deal). More importantly, she does this in grand style usually showing off her intense sneaker game.

When she’s not too busy being the trendsetter she is, she manages to find time to frolic across busy downtown intersections to help she.lace with our eccentric vision. We just have to share excerpts of our captivating audio interview with her.

We asked Joyita to play a little game of word association and blurt out the first thing that came to mind when she thinks of the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Copper….”surprisingly” this is what she had to say.

(Instagram/ @joyitasengupta)

Whenever we at she.lace ask women why they love sneakers one of the most common responses has to do with function: comfort. For Joyita, aside from comfort, it’s the ever increasing level of prestige that sneakers garner which drives her passion. As she explains sneakers are something that women should be proud to wear in any setting.

Now, there are always those naysayers (we’re trying to be tasteful and not call them HATERS) who may suggest that women can’t be fashion-forward or avant-garde while wearing sneakers…

Well, Joyita has a Public Service Announcement, and a Febreeze duster, for those folks.

Of course, after such a “modest” and “Kendrick Lamar Humble” type of statement we had to ask Joyita why the sneaker world is finally starting to take notice that women can truly make as big of an impact as their male counterparts. Her answer reminded us that it takes time for the “mainstream” to acknowledge certain trends.

IMG_9163

“Anyone that’s been in tune to sneaker culture and hip hop culture, really it’s all intertwined, from the 80s have known women have been rocking sneakers and looking fantastic in them just as long as men have. I think it’s just one of those things were trends at street level take a long time to move their way up. Especially, when those trends have people of colour at the forefront.”

~Joyita Sengupta

Hmmm 🤔! From Joyita’s lips to our nodding heads, that is certainly something to provoke thought…word to Kayne.

Well, from one loaded term to another…why do some sneaker enthusiasts shy away from being called sneakerheads?

Thank you for clarifying that Joyita! With that being said, regardless of what label a sneaker lover gravitates towards…we wanted to know why “women” and “sneakers” aren’t synonymous.

Well, well looks like she.lace has a CTA (call to action) and please believe we’re up to the task. Joyita knows a little something about celebrating remarkable individuals who change the world, for the better.

IMG_9197
Joyita sporting her vintage style Barack and Michelle Obama t-shirt.

This is the most eloquent example of “The prestige of art”…fashion with a foundation. Joyita put this outfit together for more than coordination purposes. It’s no coincidence that the prestigious Yeezy’s are paired with the prestigious former Presidential couple. Listen up ladies, Joyita is about to inadvertently make you jealous…again.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a she.lace interview if we didn’t ask why our model chose to grace us​​ with her time and presence.

From the oversized, cropped black leather jacket to the high-waisted white “shoelace” pants it’s VERY fair to say Joyita lived by her sneaker modo by embodying a diverse look. Her sneakers didn’t limit her outfit, on the contrary they accentuated it. The prestige of art is recognizing that you have the ability to be a living and breathing masterpiece. You are the canvas, and things you put on that canvas should be an extension of your values, beliefs and principles. That’s art…better yet, that’s prestigious art!

Speaking of prestigious…stay tuned for next week’s post we’ll show you something Royal “Front” and centre in Toronto.

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