Seeking nominations for the top people of color making an impact in the sneaker industry, from designers to activists

D'wayne Edwards
Shoe designer D'Wayne Edwards is one of the few Black designers to make it to the top of the sneaker industry.
  • Business Insider is putting together a power list that will highlight the most outstanding people of color that have made an impact in the sneaker and sportswear industries.
  • Please submit your nominations through this form by September 14.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The sneaker community is intrinsically bound to Black culture. But a frequent complaint is that cultural influence is rarely seen beyond brands' outward messaging or campaigns.

Marketing campaigns and celebrity partnerships from Adidas and Nike are known to prominently feature artists and athletes of color, such as Beyonce, Kanye West, and LeBron James. But as the New York Times previously reported, fewer than 4.5% of the 1,700 Adidas employees at the Portland, Oregon, campus identified as Black, according to internal employment figures from 2019. At Nike, the 2019 Diversity report showed that 21.6% of the company's total workforce in 2019 was Black or African American. 

Business Insider is putting together a power list that will highlight the most outstanding people of color that have made an impact in the sneaker and sportswear industries. The list will feature designers, resellers, collectors, executives, deal-makers, and professionals who have played a part in transforming the sneaker industry. 

"Right now, we all know there's not that many of us in the industry," said D'Wayne Edwards, a former Nike footwear designer and a leader of The African American Footwear Forum (AAFF), which works to address and solve diversity issues in the footwear industry.

With this power list, we are also looking to spotlight people who have helped nurture the advancement of people of color within the sneaker and sportswear industries.

Criteria and methodology

The list will be based on multiple factors including an individual's impact on the sneaker industry as a whole and in terms of advancement for people of color. If the individual works at a larger company, he or she will be evaluated based on the impact of the person's performance on the company as a whole.

We will determine the final list through our reporting.

Please submit your nominations through this form by September 14.

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