TSKENYA: The Inclusive Shoe Brand Catering For Non-Binary Souls and Feet

TSKENYA: The Inclusive Shoe Brand Catering For Non-Binary Souls and Feet

TSKENYA is the new shoe brand free from gendered marketing, specialising in heels sizing in 8-13 UK. Their ethos is to make sure trans and non-binary people, who have always felt excluded from wearing the new on-trend shoes, now have a platform they can rely on.  

The founder, Tskenya-Sarah Frazer, is a twenty-three year old self-taught shoe designer from Hackney. After not being able to find any shoes for herself that she liked in a size 9, she realised that this issue goes far beyond her own personal experiences. Although Tskenya is a cis-gendered hetereosexual woman, she realised that the trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming communities also have to deal with this issue, trying to find shoes in their size that represent who they are.

Trans writer and musician, Lucy Diavolo, explains, “My size 13 feet are one of the hardest things to feel confident about. Most of the time when I’m shopping for heels, it feels like they’re marketed for either office work or posh events. It’s refreshing to see people making shoes for queer people who live queer lives.”

Tskenya explains the pivotal moment where it all began, “Last year, I was getting turned down for numerous editorial jobs that I was qualified for and just grew tired. I knew I had to throw my whole heart into the project. This mission has always been a lot bigger than just for myself. My trans friends, my friends who didn’t fit on either side of the binary couldn’t find shoes in their size, so I thought it was a good project to include everyone in the narrative.”

Tskenya designs them herself in London and gets them manufactured abroad. “I make sure all suppliers and people I work with have to agree with my terms against modern slavery. It is very important that no one is oppressed in the process.” The brand realised that minorities are not being catered to within the footwear industry and have made sure they are not forgotten about, designing shoes that can now be a tool of expressing their identity.

The self-named inclusive shoe brand market themselves as gender-neutral so people know there is no attachment to gendered marketing. “When you come to buy shoes from us, you can come as you are and you will definitely be able to find your size.” Despite the designs coming from a feminine aspect, TSKENYA is a brand that welcomes anyone and even hopes to make a line of flat shoes in the future, to make the brand even more inclusive for all genders.

‘Genderless’ and ‘diversity’ are words connected to this brand and Tskenya gets talking about how it’s being used elsewhere within the fashion industry. “I think ‘genderless’ within the fashion industry means moving beyond the parameters of gendered clothing, seeing fashion as a medium for all to explore and to make clothing that all can wear. Design for the sake of design and not a gender.”

In terms of other brands using it for the sake of a trend, she’s hoping that the brands will weave it into their natural ethos, “I really hope it [genderless] doesn’t wear off. It is an agenda all brands should be pushing towards, to make the landscape of fashion a more inclusive arena.”

See our latest editorial on being liberated via queerness here

TSKENYA has become a great success with the help of Kickstarter and Prince’s Trust – raising money so her dream is made into a reality. “People all around the world have heard about the brand and I am so blessed to have had the brand shared by so many people.” With thanks to the Kickstarter, the brand has over 100K views on Facebook and has been recognised by the likes of Spanish Vogue, Gal-Dem and The Telegraph.

Every shoe from the current collection is wonderfully designed and made from velvet, metallics and feathers – steering away from the bland designs that feminine people with bigger feet have been forced to wear in the past. Calvin Garland, who identifies as non-binary, tells me how they’ve struggled buying shoes for themselves because of the sizing issues. “Women’s shoes are so much prettier in my opinion and being a size 12 makes that a pain. This brand is amazing and the fact they’re affordable makes them even more incredible.”

The Andrea boot is a personal favourite of Tskenya’s, “It is perfectly on trend and all my customers are loving it.” It’s great to hear someone speak so passionately about shoes who have always had a negative experience within the past. “I was 16 when I bought my first pair of heels for my prom. They were from Evans and they were horrible. Everyone else got to wear nice shoes and I was wearing these clunky, season-old shoes. I never had a favourite shoe brand growing up because they never accommodated to my sizing.

When discussing TSKENYA further, she tells me about her dream collaborations and hopes for the future, and a flat shoe range is definitely in the mix. “I would love to design a collection with RuPaul and do a line of trainers with Nike or Reebok. In terms of the future, I see us having done major collaborations, with a shop and reaching an even bigger audience. I want this brand to go global! I have every faith that it will.” It is clear that the brand is listening to and serving an audience that has been ignored up until now, and can’t wait to see what’s in store next. TSKENYA is a shoe brand to watch out for, and they’re definitely making me wish I had bigger feet so I could buy a pair for myself.

Written by Natalie Blain,

Contributor

Photography by Silvijah Gec

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*Sings Cardi B Lyrics whilst thinking of the Ferrari one is going to buy in cash*

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Feet fail me not.

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