Foot Locker extends its work within the greater sneaker community with its all-new Flow Original program for Latinx Heritage Month. Flow Original highlights Latinx sneakerheads, designers, and creators using their unique voice to curate style and shape the future of streetwear fashion.
Throughout Latinx Heritage Month, the “Flow Original Clase ’21” is another step in Foot Locker’s commitment to the Latinx community. Through its Home Grown platform, Foot Locker continuously highlights the positive impact Latinx vendors, artists, designers, and more have on the communities across America.
The inaugural class takes that commitment a step further.
The class includes Christian Vázquez, Daniel Moon, Edgar Berlanga, Evelyn Escobar, Francis Montoya, Haylee Ahumada, Juan Veloz, Manny Rodríguez, Melisa Depaz, Nees Calderón, Rachel Gómez, and Redd Carreras. As members and creators within Flow Original’s inaugural class, their products are available on Footlocker.com and Foot Locker locations, cementing the retailer’s role as a true partner.
We spoke to Foot Locker’s Senior Director of Content Marketing for North America, Richie Cruz, and FAMOUS NOBODYS’ Founder, Christain Vázquez, to learn more about the program from both the brand and a collaborator.
SoleSavy: We’re seeing brands, retailers, and even creatives be more open and transparent about their identity and mission. What drove Foot Locker to take it to the next level with Flow Original and the inaugural class?
Richie Cruz: We’ve always been a part of the conversation. We’re just amplifying it more and putting more of a magnifying glass on it. We know the customers we serve and the communities we represent; we drive that diversity from within with our employees. Now we’re taking more of an active role in cultural months.
It starts with the recognition of work. We understand the realities that we face. Coming out of COVID-19, (Latinos) are more disproportionately affected. We also know that we’re outpacing other groups within the United States in not only population but also buying power. We have an economical stronghold but don’t have the most senior of roles at the table. These things created an internal conversation that we have to be authentic to ourselves and not pander to the community. It allows us to empathize.
This year, we’re introducing a shortlist that we can serialize. It’s about using the bandwidth we have to elevate and shine a light on brands and people who might not be known and others doing it in their way. The starting point isis to bring people into the fold, collaborate, share their stories and have it as an always-on connection. We’ve always been a part of the conversation, but now we’re just more active on it.
SS: What were the goals and ongoing conversations like when it came to building the class of 2021?
RC: The class is a mix of people and experiences, and it grew from an inspiring conversation internally and externally aimed to bring talent together. It’s about people and brands who grow and contribute to sneaker culture that reflects taste, style, and community. We wanted people who exemplify diversity but also respect the game. It wasn’t about the most OG.
There are people who are passionate about footwear and their identity. We wanted to show the vibrancy within the community and reflect the passion for sneaker culture. Their contributions are going to be well beyond their time. The creatives and their fans get to see themselves in this collection and allow more people into the game, especially in the years to come.
We recognize that this is an important period. There’s a sense of urgency within this cultural celebration. It’s important to be seen and have your effort recognized. We want to continue to do product collaborations and take those out to the community. We hope with these efforts that it comes loud and clear.
SS: What’s it like for you to see this class come together both as a member of the Latinx community but as a member of Foot Locker?
RC: It’s a privilege — it really is. I think about the 13-year-old version of myself, amazed, looking at the shoe wall and telling my dad to get me the Air Jordan 12s because I got straight As.
It truly is a blessing and a testament to the organization and what hard work affords you when you’re locked in and focused. I’m fortunate to be serving in the role to highlight stories; I want to help people that this isn’t an exception to the rule. There are options we need to demystify.
SoleSavy: How did your brand, FAMOUS NOBODYS, start?
Christian Vázquez: We started with 100 hats around five, six years ago. We had one hat drop a month and would sell out in just hours, and then we added t-shirts. I even gave one to Carmelo Anthony. Then, people saw our shirts and hats around, and we had that “aha” moment and put it on a website. We’ve been locked in since.
SS: What’s your relationship with Foot Locker been, and what’s it like for you to be a part of this class?
CV: We’ve been at 16 Foot Locker locations for the last few months now. It’s great. We don’t take too many times to sit back and look at our accomplishments, but the Foot Locker relationship has been really good. It’s such an important brand in our world that it’s undeniable. Whenever you mention Foot Locker, you get peoples’ attention and stops them in their tracks.
Being from New York and telling my family that they can go to the Foot Locker by their house is a sense of pride that runs through the whole family. This is us.
SS: How does your Puerto Rican heritage influence your everyday life but also your brand?
CV: A lot of the aesthetics from the brand derive from the Hispanic culture. Puerto Rican race and culture are very in your face. Whether on a car or in the house, there’s a flag somewhere. That’s intertwined because we like big logos; it’s the same concept. We want you to know that it’s us and nobody else.
SS: How did the conversation with Foot Locker about the Flow Original case go?
CV: I’ve done some work with them before, but when they came with this, and it was about Hispanic heritage, I jumped on it immediately, especially with this being the inaugural class. Seeing the culture embraced and being one of the first ones is an honor; it’s iconic.
SS: You’ve had a lot of success in a short amount of time. Where do you see the brand in the next five years?
CV: The goal is to be in every Foot Locker.
The Foot Locker “Flow Original” collection is available now online on Footlocker.com, and select Foot Locker locations. Stay tuned to SoleSavy for more Foot Locker news.
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