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Foot Locker Expands ‘Behind Her Label’ Platform to Canada to Support Gender Gap in Streetwear Design [Interview]

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Foot Locker has expanded its ‘Behind Her Label’ platform to Canada with three Canadian designers and their brands including: MARY YOUNG by Mary Young, Young Muse by Tamara Kucera and Remixed by Tal by Natalya Amres.  

Richard McLeod
Richard McLeod

Behind Her Label is Foot Locker Women’s response to the gender gap in streetwear design. It aims to elevate and provide resources to emerging female streetwear designers who have the opportunity to launch collections in-store and on Footlocker.com. The platform first debuted in the U.S. in 2020 – its Canadian expansion will bring these female streetwear designers’ collections in-store and online.  

“The original program which I was fortunate to be part of started essentially as a national program back in 2020 in the US and it’s exciting that it’s been able to expand into Canada. It’s definitely evolved into what we would call an international program,” said Rich McLeod, Foot Locker Canada Vice President, General Manager. “We’re excited about that.

“At its core we designed the program to essentially elevate and provide resources to emerging female streetwear designers. The other part of it was just how do we continue to celebrate the long time contributions that women have made to streetwear and a broader youth culture.

Behind Her Label at Foot Locker – Photo by Dustin Fuhs

“In terms of the selection there’s obviously a plethora of female designers.”

Collections by Mary Young and Tamara Kucera are currently in-store and online while the collection by Natalya Amres will come in November.

McLeod said much of the focus right now is in the retailer’s Community Power Store concept on Yonge Street in Toronto. 

“We will be expanding out to additional stores in Canada but the initial focus will be in the Toronto Power Store,” he said.

Foot Locker has 118 locations in Canada. 

Behind Her Label at Foot Locker on Yonge Street – Photo by Dustin Fuhs

This is just the start in Canada for the Behind Her Label initiative.

“We were a little bit hampered by COVID in 2020 which is kind of the reason why we were slightly delayed in terms of our launch but we were fortunate as the stars aligned with the Power Store opening in August and it gave us the opportunity to actually truly launch the program,” said McLeod.

“It’s just the start. As we continue to drive more focus around these women designers we will continue to do that in the coming years. It’s not an in and out. It’s something we’re committed to and there’s a mission to continue to close that gender gap and just provide more focus and use our leverage as a power brand within Canada to support these female designers ongoing.”

Mary Young is a Toronto-based community builder, designer and founder of MARY YOUNG, an ethical intimates brand. At her core she believes that everyone should work towards embracing their natural shape and celebrating comfort first. By mixing classic styles with her passion for street style, she has created a brand that’s versatile, sustainable, and unique to help represent the diversity we see in one another, said Foot Locker.

Image: Foot Locker

Tamara Kucera launched her label Young Muse in 2016 after moving to Toronto. After originally designing and making chokers out of vintage, repurposed garments, she shifted to clothing design, making garments she could wear to work as well as for everyday life. Designs are influenced by Tamara’s own personal style with an emphasis on quality and comfort, explained the retailer.

Recently, Foot Locker also announced the launch of a new apparel line LCKR by Foot Locker.

The retailer said “LCKR merges sneaker and sport culture with the heritage of Foot Locker to bring a new iteration of casual wear to the market. These every day, go-to lifestyle pieces compliment the Foot Locker customer’s existing wardrobe – particularly those who appreciate style and comfort.”

Bryon Milburn

“At Foot Locker we’re continuing to grow our assortment every day to make sure we’re meeting the evolving demands of all of our customers,” said Bryon Milburn, Foot Locker Senior Vice President, General Manager. “Today, we’re seeing the need for comfort and the acceptance of casual wear in more places than ever before. With LCKR, we have developed an elevated basics line that gives our customers a diverse way to complement their personal styles at a great value.”

When asked about any plans for future expansion of its retail footprint in Canada, McLeod said the marketplace is continuing to evolve and the company continues to evaluate its store presence.

“A lot of our focus is in the key markets. For us it’s more about how do we continue to look at our stores in order to drive some of the key categories.”

Foot Locker, Inc. has a portfolio of brands including Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay, WSS, Footaction, and Sidestep. It has about 3,000 retail stores in 27 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as websites and mobile apps.  Foot Locker, Inc. has its corporate headquarters in New York. 

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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