“I started [#ShesGotSoleXO] with the intent to showcase women who love sneakers while creating a platform for them to let readers know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. We are constantly being put down for being unfeminine whether it’s how we dress, the activities we engage in, right down to our shoe choices. We are either looked upon as sexless tomboy’s or sexualized accessories in the sneaker community. I wanted to say F#@K THAT and empower women to let their soul shine through their soles and create a safe space for them to express who they are and what they feel needs to change in terms of how they are treated in the sneaker community.”
What does it mean to develop a style? Better yet, what does it mean to develop your “own” style? Well, if you know anything about she.lace you know we don’t believe in borders when it comes to self-expression… and we certainly don’t believe in “labels” 😊. We say that to say this: style can be as specific and tangible as the way one ties their shoelaces. Or, as broad and abstract as the way one writes a blog post. Just take a glance at a thesaurus and you’ll see the wide range of synonyms for style: appearance, approach, mannerisms, fashion, custom, behaviour, “cup of tea”, description, characteristics. For she.lace, style is “black and white, with a little bit of grey” (or gray, it depends on your style)… Style is “hot”, style is “cold”… Style is “implicit”, style is “explicit”… Style is “important”, style is “insignificant”… Style is “concrete”, style is “abstract”… Style is “materialistic and shallow”, style is “substantive and deep”. As a matter of fact, we believe style is all these things at once. Granted, certain aspects of a style can be more prominent depending on the scenario, setting or situation. BUT, style can and should be understood (or at least conceived as) being a concoction of different elements in unison. To put it plainly, the concept of style is complex and contains multitudes. Wait, wait… It almost sounds like we’re describing a person, right? Well, it should because we believe to be human is to have style… and to have style is to be human. Arbitrary statement alert: you can’t live without style! Feel free to agree or disagree but there’s one thing that’s irrefutable… That’s OUR style. So, since we are firm believers that nobody can live without style the question becomes: How should you style your life?
We’re going to suggest a theme with two concepts for styling your life: flexibility and forgiveness. Flexibility because we have to be agile and open minded to all the different twists, turns, creations and recreations our style will undergo. Forgiveness because the two things that are undefeated in life (no, not Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.) are “time” and “change”. It’s inevitable that you, and your style, will change over time and this doesn’t mean you’re being pretentious, fraudulent or phony. Nope, it simply means you’re evolving and living life. It doesn’t make much sense to waste time being hard on yourself or feeling “sorry” that your style is following the same trajectory life does. So, “F&F” and “F” everything that doesn’t involve bestowing the tenderness of hugs and kisses on yourself. In other words, style your life with some TLC (keep reading and you’ll get the 90’s reference). But to truly answer how to style your life by being the right balance of gentle and fierce we’re going to defer to our expert on the subject, @styleyourlife.xo. Consider Camille MacLean the she.lace aficionado when it comes to styling someone’s life (we keep her on “retainer” for styling emergencies). Why you ask? Well, she has vision that reflects an incredible foresight with the appropriate balance of hindsight. She has her eyes set on the future, and yet acknowledges the importance of the past with every blink she unconsciously takes. Camille understands that someone’s style ends with the aesthetic and begins with inner feelings. Needless to say, she is more than meets the eye and she understands that style is more than the eyes can meet…much more! Being the sensational visionary she is Camille has set out to provide a platform to encourage women to “let their souls shine through their soles.” We guess from the (416) to the (780) we all “Started from the bottom…” So without further ado, please enjoy this Q&A. Pay EXTRA close attention to her first response…Camille used her lifestyle as motivation for her movement. Inverting words and flipping them, that’s what we call a “stylistic” way to style your life. We can’t front either, no matter which way you “read” it Camille is taking pun/play on words to a whole other LEVEL and we got her back. See what we did there?? Level, front, back, “read it”?! Just read level backwards, haha. Enjoy the Q&A it’s stylish and F#@*ing puntastic!
What is styleyourlife.xo?
Camille: Style Your Life XO is a blog that allows me to talk about what I know while painting a picture of my journey through my personal style and different creative projects. With each post, I open up more parts about myself whether it’s through a fly outfit, touching base on a thought that entered my head, and sometimes an insecurity of mine.
I wanted to take the term “lifestyle” and switch the words around to create “style your life”, and style it in the most authentic way possible. No fake followers and no 10K on the gram type sh!t. Think of it like this, if your life was an outfit, how would you style it? For me, I style my life in terms of what I wear, where I travel to, creative projects and, most importantly, what I have learned and acquired on my journey so far. There’s times when I will spend a few hours and read old posts backwards to front, and reflect on how far I have come creatively. That right there gives me validation knowing that I have grown a lot in terms of writing, visual content, personal style and life experiences.
Who is styleyourlife.xo? (Camille MacLean)
Camille: She’s a sassy gal with a personality as big as her hair and a positive outlook on not only her life, but for those around her. She’s a Renaissance woman who doesn’t like to get comfortable because she thinks, and steps, outside her comfort zone to attain further knowledge of self. She owns her femininity without conforming to society’s standards by being unapologetically herself.
The city you call home plays a vital role in your movement (she.lace can certainly relate)…How does Edmonton shape, influence and motivate your movement?
Camille: The people in Edmonton!
It shapes me because the people around me are both go-getters and have their own creative passion(s). The more creativity that surrounds me, the more inspired I get. I am fortunate enough to know a lot of people my age that are entrepreneurs, photographers, musicians, bloggers and activists. Seeing them do and talk about what they love gives me fuel to keep going with my blog, and to keep interacting and collaborating with dope people. Also, Edmonton is constantly developing in terms of infrastructure as well as local startups and businesses. The best part is that the people who are creating these waves are young and extremely talented, so definitely the people!
Speaking of movements… explain the “ShesGotSoleXO” campaign:
Camille: #ShesGotSoleXO is an idea that came to mind while I was writing an article during my freelance days. From there, I started this campaign with the intent to showcase women who love sneakers, while creating a platform for them to let readers know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. We are constantly being put down for being unfeminine whether it’s how we dress, the activities we engage in, right down to our shoe choices. We are either looked upon as sexless tomboy’s or sexualized accessories in the sneaker community. I wanted to say F#@K THAT and empower women to let their soul shine through their soles. And create a safe space for them to express who they are, and what they feel needs to change in terms of how they are treated in the sneaker community. As you can see, the sneaker community is very male-dominated and it’s quite frustrating for females to cop kicks because the colorways correlate to societal norms.
What inspired it?
Camille: The sole of a sneaker to be honest. The sole serves as the undersurface of our feet, right? So in that case, the sole provides support [and] gives us the strength to stand on our own two feet and it gives us the confidence to stand up for ourselves. When I say “us,” I am referring to women for I believe we exemplify strength and what it means to have confidence.
What’s your goal or aim for “ShesGotSoleXO”?
Camille: Let’s go down the list shall we…
To give women a platform where they can let their soles shine, and to create a safe space for them to express themselves and what they believe needs to change in the sneaker community. I want to start this movement locally and to slowly bring it worldwide all with a simple hashtag: #ShesGotSoleXO. Thanks to Instagram, I am fortunate enough to have interacted with so many dope women worldwide. From Los Angeles all the way to F#@*in Berlin and their voices deserve to be heard. Plus, I want to get a sense of what the sneaker community is like where they reside as well as what it’s like to walk in their shoes. I am so happy that it has gotten off to a great start and the feedback has been incredible! 😊.
Where does your love for sneakers and fashion come from?
Definitely 90’s hip-hop culture and reading XXL, The Source, and VIBE magazines growing up. The 90s’ is, hands down, the most iconic era in rap and I will f#@king argue this to the death of me. Rappers repped where they were from, their music told a story and their swag could never be duplicated.
As a kid, I freaking idolized Aaliyah (R.I.P.). Not only for her angelic sound, but also her style. She was proof that you didn’t need to wear skin tight clothing to be feminine. She was the ultimate tomboy! From her oversized jackets, baggy jeans with underwear showing at the top, crop tops and sports jerseys. Everything she did and wore was so effortless, tasteful and she remained herself throughout the course of her short-lived career.
In terms of sneakers, Air Force 1s were my sh!t! Bruce Kilgore F#@*ing revolutionized the sneaker’s sleek design because it came in so many colorways, and your favourite rappers and creatives were always reppin them. From Tinashe, Vashtie, Nelly, Fabolous, Jay-Z, A$AP Rocky, to Curren$y and the list goes on. Even to this day, the sneaker is still relevant and comes in low, medium and high-top styles not to mention the variety of colorways. I got put on to Jordan’s through my ex-boyfriend who I still talk to, to this day. He would always look at the latest Jordan releases on SneakerNews and I would be looking over his shoulder. As he scrolled down [once], I saw the Retro Fire Red 4’s and told him to stop! They had the Chicago Bulls colorway and I had to have them, but I was working the day of their release back in August of 2012. My birthday was in August and he waited in line, and ended up getting me a pair…in the right size. I felt like Cinderella! From there on, my love for sneakers grew immensely.
Sidebar: It may not be the “Fire Red” 4s Camille is referencing, BUT something tells us she’s going to get a “charge” out of the @she.lace post this weekend…no “bullsh!t”.
You recently took a trip to Toronto (a very eventful & productive stay)…What are your thoughts of the city?
Camille: I love the 6ix! There’s so much to do and there’s so much culture. Whether it be Caribana or the endless amount of graffiti, and everybody got heat on their feet!
Naturally, that trip included a collaboration with she.lace…How was your experience at Evergreen Brickworks?
Camille: It was amazing and well worth the adventure. We shot some content on an abandoned railroad track and yes, i was a little bit nervous due to the height, but at the same time I loved it because it allowed me to face my fears and overcome them. And I definitely overcame them that day. Thanks to you three!
We couldn’t have been more excited when you reached out to us…
How do you feel about collaborations?
Camille: I am all for collaborations because it allows you to expand your network, form new friendships and [you] can bounce ideas off each other. Plus, you can put each other on to new things. For instance, when I was putting on my Cortez’ Trav stopped me and showed me an entirely new lacing technique.
Why did you model for she.lace?
Camille: Cause I F#@k with the movement, duh! I’m usually pretty picky when it comes to collaborations because both parties need to be able to vibe off each other’s aesthetic, and have a few things in common in terms of fashion, street wear and music. I came across she.lace via sneaker blog Canadian TheBragAffair and immediately felt a connection. The fact that you have three individuals using their platform to empower female sneakerheads is dope! I definitely F@#k with the vision ya’ll!
How and why do sneakers empower you?
Camille: When I lace up my kicks whether it be the Pure Money 4’s, Air Max 95’s or the Nikelab AF1’s it gives me the confidence to start my day. When my sneakers are fly, it gives me the strength to jump up and fly like Jordan when he played the 76ers in 85.
Camille: Styleyourlife.xo will continue to walk down the path of self-discovery and acquire new creative styles along the way. She will face a few obstacles and she will get her sneakers dirty, but she will use those styles that she’s acquired to help her grow creatively, emotionally, and fashionably.
Well, we can certainly vouch for Camille’s willingness to get her sneakers dirty in the name of exploration and creativity. Don’t worry she’s a professional sneaker enthusiast…she brought a change of sneakers 😉. We just had to take someone as raw and authentic as her to a place that would mirror back her unrefined nature. So while this builder of a women’s empowerment movement was a guest in our city…we decided to do her shoot at a location that literally helped build Toronto.
Camille being an ambassador to Edmonton makes she.lace thrilled about going there one day. Now, here’s what thrills us about Toronto. The fortune of being able to find locations in the city that offer an interesting dichotomy of a noise polluted concrete environment alongside a serene expanse of nature. We’re referring to the beautiful Evergreen Brickworks located in the Don Valley, adjacent to the Don Valley Parkway expressway. Nowadays, this development functions as a marketplace, art hub, skating facility, site for urban sustainability and watershed protection and a great location for hiking and biking on the Beltline Trail (not to mention the Lower Don Parklands to the immediate East). What may be more interesting than the rustic abandoned railroad and gorgeous hilly terrain, is the integral role this area played in the development of Toronto.
The Evergreen site describes itself as, “A place where the world can experience sustainable practices that enable flourishing cities of the future.” It’s an environmentally friendly community championing ecological responsibility through sustainable practices. It opened to the public in 2010…But long before it was a restorated public space, it was an industrial powerhouse. As the Canadian Encyclopedia explains (and the video below) it was called the Don Valley Brick Works for a reason:
More than a century later and what we have is a environmentally friendly community with a sustainable design, that is still reminiscent of its industrial past.
Sidebar: The Don Valley Brick Works Park, just north of Evergreen, is actually a City of Toronto restoration site
So, if you ever have interest in exploring an area of Toronto that literally contributed to the foundation of the city… We suggest you head down to the 550 Bayview Avenue. Oh, and the view of the skyline from below in the valley doesn’t hurt either. From a place that helped build a municipality, to a sneaker that helped build a brand.
45 years-old is a pretty common age for a midlife crisis. Well, from 1972 to 2017 the Nike Cortez has always been a good way to “Style Your Life.” Four and a half decades later and the Cortez is still a classic with its minimalistic style and sharp silhouette (she.lace’s favourite feature is the raised sole that gives the midsole a “herringbone” appearance). This year, Nike has been celebrating the Cortez’ milestone in grand fashion… Red carpet rollout style.
Of course, the folks at Nike were kind enough to scratch our nostalgic itch by re-releasing one of the models that started it all, the OG “Forrest Gump” (spearheaded by a marketing campaign involving model Bella Hadid) alongside several vintage colourways. We know Camille approves of the “new embracing the old”… and the “new” is being well represented during this extended Cortez birthday celebration. Nike’s been busy, here’s a list of the offerings we’ve seen:
- “City Collection” paying homage to places like Oregon, Compton and Long Beach,California
- Mister Cartoon, three limited edition renditions from the prestigious artist and L.A. native (the unofficial “home” of the Cortez in regards to street fashion)
- Nike Jewel Collection 2017 treatment,
- a soon to be released edition of the pre-swoosh original prototype worn by American long distance runner Kenny Moore,
- BETRUE rendition, the collection that celebrates the LGBTQ community
- BEAUTIFUL X POWERFUL collection
- Olivia Kim’s, Nordstrom VP of Creative Projects, NikeiD collaboration and,
- several cool general releases including the women’s exclusive “Rose Pink” colourway.
Speaking of city inspired Cortez’… we have another powerful women’s empowerment hashtag to shout out in this post: #InternationalGirlCrew.
Yes, Nike is honouring the Cortez with a collaboration with these awesome women. And, of course, the finished products are definitely something to “Style Your Life” with.
This sneaker was good enough for Forrest Gump to wear while he shared his life story and chased down the bus… So it’s good enough for she.lace and styleyourlife.xo to chase our dreams.
With hugs and kisses all the way from Edmonton, Alberta…the North never felt so warm:
If we ever desired a thorough “inside out” explanation of what styling your life means, and how it can manifest, Camille has given us exactly that. As far as she.lace is concerned, the best part is she’s sharing this wealth of knowledge with the world. For Camille it starts with sense of self and parlays into sense of responsibility. That sense of responsibility that comes with the discovery of self-worth and yearning to have that replicated in everyone you come into contact with. For those naysayers who wag their scenical fingers saying “it’s just sneakers and sneakers are part of materialism.” Allow us to respond on the behalf of Camille using some Jay-Z lyrics from the track Kingdom Come (Yes, the album was released in 2006…give us a break, Jigga is undeniably a 90’s style rapper): “And it’s much bigger issues in the world, I know. But I first had to take care of the world I know.” So Camille is going to keep using styleyourlife.xo to create campaigns such as #ShesGotSoleXO to give women a platform and a safe space to express themselves freely. She has she.lace’s support…all we ask is you take part in letting your soul shine through your sole. We’re looking forward to her journey, she’s a women’s empowerment locomotive going full steam ahead. And as she says, “In life when it seems like your plans are going to be derailed…style your life baby!”
P.s. Look out for that she.lace #ShesGotSoleXO feature coming very soon!