Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Are you a Female Sneaker Fiend that wears a size 6 or smaller, saw a dope pair of sneakers that you wanted but was unable to get them because they're only made in men's sizes?  I know this plight, and so does Emily Hodgson and Emilie Riis.

After writing letters to Nike and getting disappointing answers, Emily & Emilie teamed up to create Purple Unicorn Planet.  A fantasy online boutique featuring sneakers we'd love to own but are only available in men's sizes.  

I caught up with the ladies to find out how they became sneaker fiends and how Purple Unicorn Planet came about. 

Please introduce yourselves
Emilie Riis:   27 years old. My passport is Danish but I've been living in London since I moved over to study. I have always worked in advertising and currently work at 18 Feet & Rising as a Strategist.   I have been looking for that perfect pair of trainers and my search took me to Miami (the capital of cool trainers). Needless to say I returned empty handed. Talking to friends, searching online I realized that I wasn't alone on my quest and joined forces with Emily. We see a gap in the market, and we want to close it. It’s a very simple question – why are all women’s trainers always so bland? – with a very simple solution – make the cool men’s trainers in our sizes. If we succeed with this, and Nike changes it up, we would be really happy and excited about the fact that we, and all the people who support our mission, helped bring cool trainers to the girls.
Emily Hodgson:   I'm a 25 year old Creative Producer from London born and bread.  I work at 18 Feet & Rising in integrated advertising. Still can’t drive.  What a great time to be young – with the internet at your disposal.  I feel infiltrated with data overload, and constantly feel like I've had a hunch or had a feeling about something – and not acted on it.  From talking with Emilie, we worked out we had similar frustrations with fashion - why could we not buy the trainers we wanted to in our sizes?  Fed up of sitting back and watching things play out, you can talk something to death, but actually making it and getting it out there was important to me. And it doesn't hurt that its about fashion…

1. How did you become sneaker fiends?
Working in advertising you often run in and out of offices, back and forth between meetings and there is no point in making it harder for yourself by wearing 12 inch heels. Sneakers are the perfect footwear for a day in and out of the office as you are comfortable but keeping it fashion and on trend. Working in the creative industries we are both instinctively drawn to good design. Nike has a lot of well designed shoes. For men.

2. What brands are you into?
Of sports retailer brands, Nike has been a favorite of ours for a while.  We also like the high-street brand Cos, and was also very excited about And Other Stories when they opened.  Of more high-end brands, Stella McCartney always manages to high-end luxe with a London/sports edge.  And the French brand A.P.C is doing some really nice pieces for women too – clothes and sneakers.

3. When Purchasing a sneaker, what do you look for?
Colourways and trainers style. We are all about the darker colourways and mixing patterns and textures in new and inventive ways.  Not just pink and purple.  We love all the sneakers of PUP – we’re particularly keen on the city pack… only available to men.

4. What are some advantages in being a female sneaker fiend?
Hmm. Sadly at the moment there are probably more drawbacks than advantages.  But that is something we are trying to change with PUP.

5. What are some disadvantages being a female sneaker fiend?
We don’t have enough cool sneakers. The sneaker market caters to the guys and spend less time making nice stuff for us girls. It’s quite frustrating that all the sneakers we like don’t come in our size, and never will. It’s a boys club, which we hope will open up soon.

6. What/when was the final straw that led you to start Purple Planet Unicorn?
We went to a trainer release in an underground Nike shop in London. It said that the shoes would be released in women’s sizes but after queuing for an hour we found out that the shoes only went down to a UK size 5.5.  We were so disappointed, and by that time we had already started talking about doing something big, but this was the weekend we decided to actually go ahead with it.

 7. What kind of reaction have you received since starting the site?
Empathy and support. We have received personal email from women supporting out cause and cheering us on. They are offering their support in any way they can, from spreading our message on their blogs to putting us on radio shows.  It has been great to see how we girls can get together and support each other, even if it’s just to get some cooler trainers in our sizes.  Maybe this can teach us to stand together more in general.

 8. Other than the obvious of Nike making smaller sizes, are there any other sneaker related issues you'd like to tackle?
No, we think that is our main goal and where we want to focus on generating a change.

10. For people that would like to follow you personally, are you on any social media?  If so what are your names?
We are both on Twitter!  @EmilieRiis @emilyjh13

11. Any parting words for the readers?
Keeping on supporting Purple Unicorn Planet with the #PLEASEJUSTDOIT campaign.  Send it to your friends, family or even local radio stations!  We can only change the status quo if we stand together and show Nike how big our voice is.

There you have it folks!  Emily and Emilie are on a mission that I understand and totally support.  In question 3, they also highlight another issue most Female Sneaker Fiend's have that we at fsf coined "shrink & pink".

Be sure to tell a Friend to tell a friend.  Repost and don't forget to use the hashtag #PLEASEJUSTDOIT. You can also follow the Purple Unicorn Planet movement via twitter @PUnicornP.

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