Streetwear often feels like an exclusive world, where the biggest players are the same athletes and designers whose performances always take center stage. But there’s a rising crop of creative women designers who have something to say about it — and with the Foot Locker Women Behind Her Label initiative rallying behind them, they’ll have a larger platform for amplifying their message.
Amanda Litzinger, founder of Stickybaby, is one of three emerging women designers being showcased by Foot Locker Women. This fall, you'll be able to shop her special flight of namesake pieces on her Stickybaby site. The brand, which launched on Etsy in 2012 and found its way to everyone from New York cool kids to top models, is built around low-impact production and high-impact statements. Using sustainable materials like vinyl to modify vintage pieces, Litzinger creates made-to-order items that pack a punch. Projecting bold declarations like “Real Love” and “You Suck,” the line says it all. “It communicates with strangers, so you don’t have to,” she explains.
THE STYLE STATEMENT
For the Behind Her Label initiative, Litzinger found a wealth of inspiration in the outspoken and passionate women of professional basketball. “I’ve been extremely moved lately by professional athletes using their platforms to take a stand against the social injustices our society has been facing for decades,” she says. “The fact that they are using their clothing to convey this message is profound.”
Stickybaby’s Behind Her Label pieces (available Nov. 14) will nod to the way these athletes wear their hearts on their sleeves. Litzinger says working on the Foot Locker Women line has stirred a change in her design work, too. “I was thrilled to rise to the challenges presented with this [initiative],” she says. “I already feel a shift inside me, feeling that I’m capable of more than I previously thought.” The clothes are comfy and easy (think: socks, sweatshirts, and denim) but Stickybaby’s messages are often imbued with emotional depth from Litzinger’s own life, which is how it all started in the first place.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Born in Southern California but raised in Arizona, Litzinger moved to New York City eight years ago to attend her dream school, the Fashion Institute of Technology. Though she knew the move was the right one for her, it was still a major challenge to be separated from family, friends, and her life in the Southwest. “I experienced deep loneliness,” she recalls. So she got back to doing what she’s loved since childhood: dreaming up clothes.
That creation process ended up being, well, sticky. She cut out the words “Miss You Bad” from felt fabric, sewed them onto a black denim jacket, then hung it on a white wall and photographed it — giving her emotions a physical embodiment and consoling herself in the process. “Every minute that I spent creating was soothing my nerves about the move,” she says. “I was transferring the feeling from myself to my work.”
WHERE SHE’S HEADED NEXT
Litzinger hopes the next generation of women designers will be emboldened by Behind Her Label. “My advice for those wanting to make an impact in the streetwear community is to walk into the fear,” she says. “I’ve experienced so much uncertainty, and every time that I ignored it and just went for it, I’ve been met with massive rewards … when they tell you ‘no,’ you’re on the right track.”