Aurora James is using her platform for good once again. The Brother Vellies designer has teamed up with Keds to launch a vote-themed sneaker ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The collaboration is for a good cause, with 100% of the purchase price of the sneakers being donated to the When We All Vote non-profit. The national nonpartisan organization was launched in 2018 by Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama — and celebrities Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. It aims to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap.
The one-of-a-kind canvas sneaker created with Keds features a special message handwritten by James supporting When We All Vote, and the sneakers come with exclusively-designed When We All Vote laces and a Brother Vellies charm. The shoes retail for $95 and are sold exclusively on Brothervellies.com. In addition, Brother Vellies is launching $35 crew socks, sold separately, which pair perfectly with the Keds kicks. For every pair of socks sold, the footwear brand will donate $5 to When We All Vote.
This latest launch is just one part of James’ mission to create critical change, not only in the fashion industry, but in the world. The designer debuted the 15 Percent Pledge in June, calling on major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to black-owned businesses and she has not let up since. Retailers who have taken the pledge so far include Sephora, Rent the Runway, West Elm and MedMen.
“Black people spend trillions of dollars in this country every year, but yet represent an insignificant fraction of how these companies allocate their purchasing power. I am asking these huge corporations to rethink their business strategy, as well as rethink business relationships in order to fairly represent the black community on their shelves,” she told FN. “They need to accept where they are at, own it and figure out how they got there. They need to commit — commit to achieving a minimum of 15%, set a deadline to achieve this and put a system in play where they can be held accountable. It could take a few years, but we are here to help lay out that plan and strategy. And we have some of the most brilliant black minds on board to help make it happen.”
To celebrate your right to vote, see more brands that are selling voting-themed gear now.