We’re headed to the Long Beach Pride Festival this weekend! What better way to get into the SoCal spirit than to talk with another queer designer, based in California? We chatted with NiK Kacy, who’s developing the first NiK Kacy footwear collection. As a former Senior Producer and Project Manager who worked for Google/YouTube in the LA office but then decided to fulfill their dream of pursuing their own footwear label, we had a lot in common – all of us coming from arenas outside of the fashion industry, and deciding to launch our own clothing or accessory companies because we couldn’t find what we wanted already out there. NiK Kacy footwear strives to create gender-neutral footwear, featuring masculine-looking styles in smaller shoe sizes to fit bio-womyn. Check out the interview, and follow the links to get connected with NiK Kacy!
Play Out: Hi NiK! Tell us – where are you in your design and production process?
NiK Kacy: Currently, I have been working with a very respected and experienced shoe factory in Portugal to develop my first NiK Kacy footwear collection. I chose this factory to exclusively work with because they are family owned, are health conscious and genuinely care about the standards and health of not only their products but their employees as well. Visiting the factory in person gave me a sense of pride and satisfaction from all the people who worked there and they were also very enthusiastic about my vision of transforming the footwear industry to becoming more gender-neutral, along with being very open and accepting of my gender identity.
PO: Speaking of gender identity, it sounds like this was a starting point for your business. What inspired you to begin designing footwear?
NK: As I mentioned, my vision for NiK Kacy is to help make footwear more gender neutral and gender equal. As a person who identifies as gender-fluid/gender-neutral or third-sex/intersex, I always preferred to wear “masculine” looking shoes since I was a child. However, being sized 7.5 in women’s, I could never find shoes that fit me. So finally, I had enough and decided to make my own shoes and maybe others who have the same problem will want a pair (or two…or three) as well. My shoes are about quality, durability and comfort in a way that I can be proud of as someone who is extremely detailed-oriented. In addition, I want people to be able to feel good about wearing NiK Kacy because they are supporting an idea of equality and non-discrimination. I felt enough discrimination as someone who is non-traditional and non-conforming, so really just wanted to create a brand that gave bio-womyn an opportunity to wear shoes they want that fit them properly.
PO: Let’s talk about Pride events! What’s your favorite thing about Pride in Los Angeles?
NK: DYKE DAY LA!!! It’s free and it’s filled with LGBTQ and our allies! Food! Music! and Local groups! It’s at Barnsdall Art Park so you get an amazing view as well!
PO: What’s your favorite Pride memory?
NK: I have to say my favorite Pride memory actually happened in SF Pride. It was my first one back in 1998/99 I think. It was that very moment when I got to Dolores Park for the Dyke March and I was walking up the park, up the field and getting to the apex of the field and at that moment when I got to the very top and looked down, for the first time in my life, I saw a SEA OF WOMEN all there to support queer women and I felt so proud to be gay/queer. I think that is why I feel it is my duty to attend SF Dyke March every year since then because its like the home of the moment I made peace with being a lesbian.
PO: That’s a fantastic memory, and that feeling of being proud to be gay/queer really speaks to the heart of Pride events, we think! What do you wear to Pride? Do you have a favorite Pride outfit?
NK: It really depends which part of Pride I’m going to… If it’s the Dyke March, I wear comfortable shoes and usually something stylish yet comfortable for pants and shirt. Whatever I’m in the mood for that day…but mostly my style is a button up dress shirt with jeans/slacks and boots and possibly a vest if it’s not too warm out. I don’t stray much from my signature look. If it’s during the Sunday portion, I usually ride in Dykes on Bikes so I haul my most likely hung-over butt to the march in my 750cc Honda Shadow wearing boots, jeans and something breezy to keep me from getting too hot on the bike. For Dyke Day LA at the Barnsdall Art Park, I pretty much wear beachwear or just something chill and comfy because it’s basically a day of picnicking and chilling with friends.
PO: Describe your brand in 5 words or less, or in a single sentence.
NK: As someone who is passionate about quality, comfort, and style, but always found it difficult to find the right fit, I wanted to develop a collection of designs that could resolve this traditional gender-specific challenge…NiK Kacy Shoes – made by a shoe lover, for shoe lovers.
PO: That’s a long sentence! But we like it. Made by a shoe lover, for shoe lovers. When will you be launching?
NK: Tentatively, September 2014
PO: Where can readers find your shoes?
NK: The NiK Kacy website www.nikkacy.com BUT the website now is a preliminary site showcasing only two prototypes. I plan on launching officially in September so stay tuned for a much more robust website in the near future. Once I have my full production samples made, I can start shooting them and putting them up for orders. There will most likely be about 6 styles to choose from in the first NiK Kacy collection.
PO: Thanks tons for chatting with us, NiK! We hope to see you at Long Beach Pride. Find us at our booth!
Follow NiK Kacy Footwear on Facebook and their website Nikkacy.com!