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How Aleali May is influencing sneaker culture for the better and advocating for women everywhere | Unlocked by SIMPLE Mobile

KC Orcutt

 // Nov 15, 2018

Simply put, Aleali May is living her dream. The South Central, Los Angeles native first got her start as a fashion consultant, stylist, and influencer at 19, when she landed her first job at Louis Vuitton while attending school in Chicago. What began as a rudimentary retail position soon evolved into May taking charge of her creative passions, leading her to start her eponymous lifestyle blog and Instagram account, the latter of which has since amassed over 285K followers.

From styling and consulting for celebrity tastemakers such as Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Tinashe and Lil Yachty, among others, to modeling for Adidas and amassing an impeccable sneaker collection along the way, May has successfully and skillfully turned her love for high-end streetwear into a promising, mercurial career in fashion.

In October 2017, May made her undeniable mark on the sneakerhead community in a new, tangible way. She officially collaborated with one of her all-time favorite brands for the first time, putting her own alternate twist on the Air Jordan 1 "Shadow." Her debut sneaker, known as "Satin Shadows," was an instant hit, going on to be praised as one of the Jordan Brand's best collaborations of the year.

Drawing inspiration from her roots, May revealed that the textured shoe design was influenced by the material of the house slippers her dad and uncle used to wear from local L.A. markets.

Not only did the collaboration help cement May's future in the sneaker world, but it also made history. The release of the shoe marked her as the second woman to collaborate with the Nike brand, and the first-ever woman to release both men's and women's sizing with the Jordan Brand.

May, known for her seemingly effortless cool and refined duality, also helped the brand launch a collection solely for women, which added three new takes on the classic Jordan shape, and recruited SZA to be the face of the capsule earlier this year.

"Women being celebrated in the sneaker world is something a lot of us have waited for," May explained to W Magazine. "It's fresh, it's new, and it's a way for us to tell our story through the love for sneakers."

On top of these groundbreaking feats, May has deservedly been tapped to partner with the Jordan Brand once again. It's rumored that the now 26-year-old will drop her next collaboration sometime this December.

As May continues to build with the Jordan Brand and advocate on behalf of women designers, creators and street style enthusiasts everywhere, it's indisputable she is a powerful force to be reckoned with both in the sneaker community and culture at large.

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