For Ciara, singing and standout style go hand in hand. The songstress is one of the high-profile women starring in a major moment for Keds. Launched this year, the Keds Collective initiative includes a campaign titled Ladies First Since 1916, featuring women who portray the label heritage: Allison Williams, Tori Kelly and Jamie Chung.
“One of the most important factors of the [Collective] is the female empowerment message that Keds delivers,” said Ciara, who performed “Goodies” and “I Will Survive” at an anniversary party for the brand earlier this year.
The star, who recently married Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, talks to FN about her personal style, female mentors, family life, new music and more.
What is one of your earliest memories of the brand?
“Keds were always a part of my wardrobe because the shoes are very affordable and classic. I remember Keds being one of the brands I could afford growing up. Cut to me later in life, and I’m working with the brand; it’s amazing how things happen this way. It’s cool how things come full circle.”
What stands out about the Keds Collective project and your fellow collaborators?
“It’s all about empowering females and representing the working woman [who] can put on a dress and heels, or in this case Keds, and put out a fire at the same time. The campaign represents a strong woman. As I put my life in perspective, and as a mom, it’s important we all encourage each other because we’re living in a time where women can do anything. It’s really amazing how the Keds brand speaks to that. I met Allison [Williams], and she was a sweet girl. It’s a diverse group, which is super cool.”
How would you describe your personal style, and how does the brand fit into the mix?
“It’s funny because I’m a tomboy, but I also like to get sexy. I love drama a lot of times. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but in my case, I say shoes.
“I am a big fan of the Keds Triple; it gives you height. I wore the style to the 100th anniversary party. I love that you can dress them up or down. It might be psychological for me, but I do think the style gives your legs a sexy touch.”
Who are a few female designers you are a fan of?
“Donna Karan is awesome. It’s one thing to wear her clothes, but it’s another thing to learn more about them, like during her speech at the CFDA Awards. Norma Kamali is also incredible; she’s a rocking woman.”
Do you have a fashion icon?
“I love Michael Jackson. I think he was the greatest performer to grace this earth. He found a great way to merge fashion with entertainment. What I loved about Michael is he found a great way of mastering branding, and he was very consistent with his creative ideas.”
Who would you consider your biggest female mentor?
“My grandmother. She always said to sit back and watch the show and to let life flow. It’s been a cool thing to teach patience and understand people a little better that way.”
Your last album, “Jackie,” was released in 2015. Any hints about your next one?
“It’s my seventh album, and they say seven is a lucky number. I believe in things happening how they are supposed to. I want to make this my best album, and I want to take my time with that. My music continues to grow as I grow — as a woman and as a mom. I’m taking my time with it and having fun in the process.”
What artists do you dream of collaborating with one day?
“Skrillex is amazing, I would love to work with someone like him. I love looking at new talent, and I like to get to know some of the fresh writers and producers.”
What shoe brands do you love for your son?
“Keds are supercute in kids’ sizes. Rain boots for kids are so adorable, especially when we’re in Seattle, where it rains a lot.”
What’s next with Keds?
“I’m truly enjoying the experience thus far; it’s been awesome. The meaning and the messaging is a huge factor for me. Empowering women and encouraging the working women [who] have dreams — I call [them] the women of ambition on a mission. We get to go out and push the message that is superpowerful and positive. I look forward to doing more projects that speak to all of that.”