/  02.14.2022

What’s up, everybody? I’m Legendary Lade, and this is another installment of Kickin’ Facts. We’re now in the second week of Black History Month, reimagined as Black Future Month, during which I’m highlighting Black footwear designers and fashion figures. My goal is always to showcase the dopest footwear out, and the fact that the best kicks just so happen to be by Black designers is an added plus. I’m all about the circulation of the Black dollar within our communities and amongst our creatives.

Another thing I’m all about is unique designs and products that tell a story, and the Onia Tasman by Denim Tears and UGG is a perfect example of that. When I think about the Tasman slides from UGG, what comes to mind is a comfortable, slip-on shoe. How designer Tremaine Emory was able to elevate that simple concept is a lesson in storytelling and the history of the Black American experience.

The Onia Tasman UGG was inspired by the Black Seminoles of the 1700s and their traditional footwear. Black Seminoles were a self-liberated community that traveled to some areas of Florida and eventually to Oklahoma. Tremaine Emory’s great-grandmother Onia, who the shoe is named after, is of Seminole descent. At its core, “Seminole” is essentially a word used to describe free Black people: “The ones that wouldn’t be bound.” Traditional Seminole suits and footwear are full of intricate beadwork and detail that rivals the finest couture houses in the world.

Imagined by Tremaine and designed by Lucette Holland, the base of the Onia features a waterproof suede upper with embroidered bead detailing on top. As someone of Nigerian descent, the beads are what caught my eye — that kind of detail is a big part of our heritage as well. The fur inside is Toscana sheepskin, which is longer than standard sheepskin and softer to touch — another nod to elevated details and craftsmanship. The outsoles are handcrafted rubber Hevea that require no natural forests to be cut down, providing a maximized cushion with minimized environmental impact. Suede binding ties the shoes together.

What are your thoughts on these?

The Onia Tasman is one of two pairs released on February 1, 2022 for $475 and is available now at denimtears.com.

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