Rolling Out

True to Size founder Jazerai Allen-Lord created a lane for women sneaker-lovers

Jazerai Allen-Lord is telling the stories of sneaker culture

Jazerai Allen-Lord is a multi-hyphenate creative, with deep roots in sneaker and street culture. She specializes in storytelling through brand strategy and design. Allen-Lord’s Reebok shoe released in 2019 is sold out and has been acquired for the Bata Footwear Museum’s archive of Black designers.

Allen-Lord is also the CEO and founder of True to Size, a sneaker-based consulting agency that gives people of color the chance to tell their stories, while also helping their businesses grow and develop.

How did you begin your sneaker journey?

It was so natural. I was a little girl who thought that eventually I would go to journalism school and have a column in a magazine. When I graduated college, print died that year. So I entered marketing, and I worked at what’s now known as the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles, but I was working in the Valley at that time and working on marketing for young women.

It started with me posting my natural photos of myself on Tumblr, which included a picture of me getting married in a pair of Nike de la Sol highs underneath my dress. That picture went Tumblr viral, and all of a sudden the founder of Kicksonfire sent me a message and he asked me if I was a writer. I said “yes,” and then he said, “Do you like sneakers?” I said “yes,” and then he asked, “Do you want to write for this thing called a blog?” I’m like, “What’s a blog” and he told me, and the next day, I was writing about sneakers.

What are some changes that you’ve seen with women being involved in sneaker culture?

One of the bigger changes that I’ve seen across the board is more style inclusivity. Women being able to work on men’s products, and for women or men offering that unisex approach, I think that that’s really important. The other thing is having a more diverse voice and not just diversity in looks, but the diversity of thought at the forefront of sneaker culture. We have some work to get there, but when I was coming up, it was White women and maybe one basketball player here or there. Today we have designers, we have stylists, we have women like me, we have entrepreneurs like Kimberly Drew working in arts, and there are so many different women that have hero voices in sneaker culture today that don’t just play sports, or are a mom. For so long they only saw women in three categories … a young girl, a mom or an athlete, and women are so much more than that. What we bring to the table is infinite.

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