Tulie Yaito’s Adidas Sneaker Collab Is A Win For Black Women In Fashion

You can’t deny how male-focused sneaker culture has been throughout the years. Despite being a driving force behind style and culture, women are rarely awarded the same opportunities as their male counterparts in the sneaker industry. Women’s input was few and far between until notable brand collaborations with creatives like Aleali May, Vashtie, and Melody Hasani took place. And in recent times, there has been a noticeable shift in the industry's landscape as brands are starting to recognize the need to acknowledge the power and brilliance of women sneaker enthusiasts.
This year, fashion creative and designer Tulie Yaito was tapped by Adidas to add her own spin on their beloved Forum Hi sneaker, which was released on July 8. The designer is mainly known for her stylish looks and namesake brand Yaito which she co-owns with business partner, Carlton Yaito. Since launching in 2015, the brand has amassed a loyal following for their made-to-order Keijō bags that many influencers and creatives have worn and raved about. 
The creativity and design Tulie became known for seamlessly transferred over to the Forum Hi sneaker. For this collaboration, Tulie drew inspiration from her roots and her journey growing up in Jamaica, which motivates her as a creative. Unbothered spoke with Tulie about her brand, how her Jamaican roots inspire her creativity and the design process behind creating her version of the Forum Hi. It’s collaborations like this that not only celebrate the talent of women in the sneaker world but serve as a significant step forward in redefining how women show up in the space.
Unbothered: Can you share more about what draws you to the specific patterns and textures you choose when designing the Keijō bag? 
Tulie Yaito: There were an array of inspirations when choosing specific textures and fabrication at the time when designing the Keijō bag. We built a loyal community cementing our take on the iconic paisley. We were able to source embossed paisley leather as a symbol for our paisley knot bags. 
You mentioned in other articles that the Keijō bag inspired the look for this collaboration with Adidas. Can you share what the process of designing was like? What are the differences and similarities between designing a sneaker versus designing a handbag?
TY: There were many factors that inspired the shoe, one of them being the Keijō bag. The shape of the bag was intentionally placed on the Achilles' heel. The shape was then made from black embossed paisley leather paying homage to my Jamaican roots, black symbolizing the strength and creativity of our people, and the paisley symbolizing our paisley knot bags. The yellow oversized thread depicts wealth and beauty and the green suede depicts hope and the land’s resources. The similarity in designing a shoe and a bag is how creative you can be with the materials, the hardware, and the shape but still find the balance to keep it functional. 
In recent years we’ve seen influential women in fashion slowly getting recognized in the streetwear realm and starting to land more collaborations with brands. Can you speak about what this collab means to you and for Black women in fashion?
Photo: Courtesy of Adidas.
TY: This partnership is more than designing a shoe; it is advocating for women who look just like me. Women of color, women who migrated to make better of themselves. Women who dreamed big but had no direction or resources. I want to inspire women that with faith and hard work, anything is possible.
How else would you like to see more women, especially Black women, be recognized for their style and talent in the fashion space?
TY: More opportunities for us which increases our experience. Experience leads to higher qualifications. Greater resources for us to exercise our talents and passions.
Can you share your favorite way of wearing your sneaker? i.e. Must-wear tops, bottoms, and accessories.
TY: Honestly I don’t have a favorite way of wearing my sneakers at the moment. It’s still a pinch me moment so I haven’t slayed a look as of yet, lol. But my favorite look paired with my sneaker as of right now would be from my campaign. The custom Yaito Adidas pastel Rasta ombré tracksuit and my By Lolita jewelry.

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