For Pride Month, sneaker brand FILA had a special project in store for two critically-acclaimed artists. Artists Shanée Benjamin and Marco DaSilva were selected by the FILA brand to create their own pair of custom FILA kicks as a representation of what Pride means to them – during and beyond the month of June.
FILA tweeted, “FILA is celebrating Pride during the month of June by continuing to champion the diversity, culture, and creativity of LGBTQIA+ artists. This year FILA partnered with Shanée Benjamin and Marco DaSilva to create custom FILA sneakers; celebrating what Pride means to them.”
“It’s important for brands to partner with creatives so we can tell our story and have our narrative and experiences heard. Queer narratives are vast in experience and giving space to show multiple realities highlights the diversity in the community. Visibility beyond Pride Month is important because queer creatives exist 24/7,” Benjamin passionately told ESSENCE.
When it came to Benjamin’s specific design, she wanted to tap into her own identity and incorporate the colors that represent her sexuality and the LGBTQIA+ community. “I wanted to highlight the lesbian community with the lesbian flag colors,” she explained to ESSENCE. Benjamin described her design approach as “very minimal and clean with pops of fun,” as she loves to experiment with colorways and shoe details to create a story between the shades. Not to mention, the featured color combination is a personal favorite of hers.
When asked about the importance of identifying her sexuality as an artist, Benjamin actually disbanded the need to label herself as a Black, queer creative in this space. “Honestly, sometimes I dislike so much focus on being black and queer. I would like to be seen as an artist that creates artwork that celebrates Black joy, queer joy, and unapologetic authenticity,” Benjamin said candidly.
Shot by Lucas Brito, Benjamin told ESSENCE that the FILA shoot in collaboration with Foam Creative was “a really fun time.” She continued, “I really enjoyed letting my creativity flow and creating a design that subtle yet shares pieces of my creative world. Meeting fellow artist Marco was also a blast!”
In additional FILA news, the brand recently announced its partnership with Playboy to launch a capsule collection, which will be exclusively available at Urban Outfitters. The capsule consists of 13 pieces, with a mix of matching sets and separates in brown, navy, white, green, and marigold hues while paying homage to the groovy 70s through its color palette, silhouettes, and graphic prints.