port of harlem magazine
nubia k essentials
Artist Commissions Creation of Shoes
Oct 21 – Nov 03, 2021

woman is key

Before leaving Ghana and coming to America, Ken Gwira was already a wood sculpturer. A taste of his paintings and sculptures are online. However, he has since taken one of his carvings, “Woman Is Key” to new heights by placing images of it on outerwear including his just released Woman is Key slip-on sneaker.

“Woman is Key was created in 1981,” he says, “and is a message about encouragement. There is a woman out there who needs this message told to her: She can do it!”

Gwira traces getting into the sneaker business to 2016 while watching Jamaican Usain Bolt’s success at the Olympics. Bolt inspired him to create a painting with sneakers on a race track.

Sometime later, the fashion designer Virgil Abloh offered to mentor people who were interested in fashion. “I followed his posts trying to get his frame of mind,” recalls Gwira. Then, in 2021 he saw an online ad that offered artists an opportunity to design custom made shoes manufactured in Italy to showcase their brand. “It was like a dream come true,” says the married father of three and several grandchildren.

The Italian company, Alive Shoes, “are easy to work with,” says Gwira, “every thing is done online. The company provided the shoe platform, Gwira selected the custom materials, colors, and branding. Alive Shoes also provides free shipping to Europe and the USA.
On Port Of Harlem Talk Radio
Ken Kwira share how he made his dream a reality, having his artwork on his own shoe brand.

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