In today’s current whirlwind political climate, one shoe brand is taking its turn to join the action.
Marina Levine began IamMoi (which translates to “I Am Me”), with its first collection shipping in 2018. The direct-to-consumer label uses its platform to support the future of women in politics. It donates 10% of profits to organizations like She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization encouraging women to run for office.
Levine herself knows a thing or two about footwear. IamMoi’s founder and designer previously created shoes for brands including Rebecca Minkoff, Due Farina and Luxury Rebel before launching her first brand. Currently, IamMoi offers leather platform sneakers, loafers and slides, which are made by hand in Alicante, Spain. The styles retail from $145 to $165 at iammoi.com.
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IamMoi will also be releasing newer silhouettes in the upcoming seasons.
“The name IamMoi s a play on the question ‘Who are you?’ It makes the customer think about who they are now, what they are doing and who they want to be,” Levine told FN. “I launched IamMoi as a response to the vitriol and what I felt were very un-American values coming from [President Donald Trump’s] administration. I felt guilty about my own political apathy in the past and my own ignorance about what it takes to make the government work for the people.”
The designer supports the idea of shoes that are on-trend rather than trendy and last beyond one season. The one-of-a-kind styles are studded with letters that spell out powerful phrases and words associated with political activism, such as “We Rise,” “Resist” and “Vote.”
“‘We Rise’ was sort of a response to the #MeToo movement in thinking ‘What’s next?’ within the activism communities,” explained Levine. “[Women] rise, and we continue to rise.”
And it’s not just in times of elections or crisis. The brand is meant to constantly encourage women to get more involved and to remain true to their personal beliefs in their own small ways, even in communities where their voices are often minimized.
“One woman sent me a thank-you letter, and she was from a small town where she can’t really share her views with many of her neighbors or family members,” said Levine. “She thanked me because she was able to have this sort of internal micro-resistance movement because of these shoes. She would wear them to the grocery store, for example, and it would spark conversations in communities where extending a conversational olive branch can be uncomfortable. We love that we are helping to ‘break the ice.'”
To reach even more people and communities, the brand will be starting a speaker series in which members of different industries give talks and offer discussions on topics ranging from women’s issues and other topics of current and political importance. This, Levine says, will allow a powerful and public way for our brand to not only support progressive values but become a leader in how consumerism/retail interacts with IamMoi’s customer’s values.
“We aren’t in a time anymore where we can be subdued or passive towards politics. There are men deciding women’s rights and deciding things about women’s bodies,” Levine explained. “We can’t be afraid of this word ‘politics’ or afraid of associating ourselves with that word anymore. IamMoi is my way to un-taboo taboo talking points — and hopefully, create a new venue where we can talk about what it means to be American.”
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