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Zalando’s Inclusive Designer Footwear Capsule Targets Drag Queens and Trans Women

Zalando‘s new size-inclusive designer shoe collection targets underserved shoppers.

Launching May 8 in 25 European markets, the line will feature styles from Filling Pieces, Rejina Pyo, Holzweiler, MISBHV, Elleme, GCDS and Eckhaus Latta, in sizes 35 to 46. The Berlin-based e-commerce marketplace said the 14-style capsule offers a bigger size range than most footwear launches. The effort brought together seven creatives committed to inclusivity.

According to Zalando, a discussion with the Helsinki Pride community spurred the idea for the collection. The retailer, a longtime sponsor of the Pride group, recognized a gap in the market for shoes for people in the queer community, from trans women to drag queens, who might have trouble finding trendy shoes in their size at retail. The conversation highlighted a broader “blind spot” for Zalando, namely that outlier sizes are often underserved in the footwear market.

Zalando tapped seven designers from across the globe for the 14-style line.
Zalando tapped seven designers for the 14-style line. Courtesy

Offering inclusive sizing, which means carrying more SKUs, can be cost-prohibitive for smaller designer brands. Footwear producers usually use shoe molds within the range of 36 to 41, or women’s size 6 to women’s size 9.5. Zalando funded inclusively sized shoe molds for the new collection, which will help participating designers produce other size-inclusive collections in the future and encourage other brands to take the plunge as well.

“The path to inclusivity starts with walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” Zalando designer and luxury director Lena-Sophie Röper said. “The inclusive footwear collection and the aptly named ‘Walk a Mile’ campaign accompanying it represent our effort to do just that.”

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The launch represents “another step forward in our journey towards being a truly inclusive destination,” Röper added. “This type of teamwork is essential across the industry, and we hope this is one of many collections of this nature we will work on to help make fashion inclusive for all.”

The 'Walk a Mile' campaign features LGBTQ models and activists.
The ‘Walk a Mile’ campaign features LGBTQ models and activists. Courtesy

The collection reinforces the company’s goal of becoming a “Starting Point for Fashion” for all shoppers, supporting its diversity and inclusion framework, “Do.Better,” Röper said. Zalando has committed to serving underrepresented groups with more products in more prices, sizes and styles.

The “Walk a Mile” campaign features U.K. model and mental health advocate Reece King, model and advocate of gender diversity in fashion Raya Martigny, Brazilian DJ Slim Soledad, and American model Maggie Mauer.