Women in Footwear | Titi Finlay, The Creative

Entering Women's History Month, and with International Women's Day on the horizon (8th March), at Laceless we wanted to use our platform and contacts to highlight women in footwear, and in doing so, cover all areas of the industry, from student life to those running their own business.

So we’re excited to launch our new series, 𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗮𝗿, by talking to Titi Finlay (@ttfinlay).

Titi is an all-round creative in the footwear game. She currently heads up social media for sneaker buy & sell platform Laced (@lacedhq), and last year released her own sneaker, the Air Max 90 ‘Power to the Female’ sneaker. 2020 also saw Titi call out design disparities in the industry, with her declaration of “We don’t need women’s exclusives, we need inclusive sizing” go viral, and encourage new and long overdue conversations.

We had a few questions for Titi about her journey, her work, and the advice she would pass on to other women looking to make it. Enjoy!

Laceless: How did you get into the footwear industry?

Titi: To cut a long story short, I originally wanted to be a fashion journalist for the sneaker and streetwear space, so I spent a lot of time interning for big magazines before I got my first proper job in social media at ASOS (most journalists are ending up in social media these days!).

My love of sneakers just kept growing and I was eventually promoted to taking care of sneaker content for the ASOS social media channels, where I worked with the big brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma, and learned a lot about the industry. I was then head-hunted to manage social media for Laced which is what I’m doing now. I think my personal passion for sneakers has significantly grown alongside my career in sneakers - the deeper I get into this space the more I love it!

Laceless: What do you love about the footwear industry?

Titi: I think it’s the fact that it’s a very community-driven space. It’s a place for brands, collectors, thought leaders to all connect with each other through their common passion for sneakers, and there’s loads of little pockets and sub-communities within that. I’ve met some great friends through this industry, it’s nice to chat to people who are into the same things you are.

Laceless: What has to change in the footwear industry?

Titi: There’s still a lot of inequality in the industry, from a racial and gender perspective. And I don’t think that’s 100% deliberate either, it’s just that the people making the decisions have never had to deal with not being able to get their shoe size, or feeling underrepresented in campaigns.

The way to fix that is to hire more women, more people of colour, more traditionally marginalised voices to educate and contribute to these decisions. We need better representation in sneaker storytelling, we need inclusive size runs, and we need to do away with women’s exclusives that treat us as separate to everyone else. It needs to become a fully inclusive space, but I do believe that we are moving in that direction which is great to see.

Laceless: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the industry?

Titi: Don’t be deterred, no matter how intimidating it comes across at first! When I first became interested in sneakers, I was too scared to post about it online for the fear of being made fun of in what was then a very toxic and male-dominated space. But when you love something you just have to follow your heart!

My advice would be to connect with the sneaker community, and reach out to people you admire or find interesting for advice - everyone knows everyone and it’s actually a really welcoming space. Believe it can happen, and it will - just go for it!

Laceless: What can we expect to see from you next?

Titi: Ultimately, my goal is to continue pushing for women in this industry, whether that’s through my personal social channels or the work I do behind the scenes with brands and with Laced. I feel really positive about the future of sneakers for women!

Outside of that, my personal goal right now is to connect more with my creative side and do a lot of painting!

Titi is one of so many great examples of women in the footwear industry right now, and we are delighted to share her story and experiences. We want to thank her for speaking with us, and make sure you keep track of her social work at Laced, and look out for more of her creative brilliance hitting your feeds (and feet) in the future!

𝗪𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗮𝗿 is a new Laceless Design series which aims to promote women working in the footwear industry, giving them the chance to share their stories, experienced and advice.

Throughout March we will be featuring female owners, platform providers, designers and students, look out for more on here and on our Instagram!