Join Forces I Couch Sessions with Saskia

Empowering women at all times.

Together with Nike, we celebrate 40 years of Air Force 1 by highlighting five creative, independent women that paved the way for the next wave of creatives. We asked them how today's community of diverse, hardworking and like-minded women uplifts each other and how the AF1 holds them down. How do they work smartly, think differently, and join forces to build a collective future? Because icons aren’t made on their own.

Scroll down to find out where Saskia van Hofwegen will take Force in the next 40 years to achieve the goals she has set for the future.

Maha & Nike Join Forces - Couch Sessions with SaskiaMaha & Nike Join Forces - Couch Sessions with Saskia
The AF1 has taught me that anything is achievable with blood, sweat, tears, and above all, with teamwork.

Recognising the need for female offerings in the Amsterdam streetwear market in 2015, Saskia and her partner Dian decided to set up Maha: A concept store specialising in streetwear for women. But not only does Saskia aim to be a supplier of streetwear, she also aspires to be a community builder.

It's been seven years since you founded Maha. The brand has been growing exponentially in the meantime.
Do you still feel today's streetwear industry is male-oriented and lacks female representation?

The male market is definitely still male-oriented. When you think about it, the original women’s 'tomboy' streetwear style is inspired by men. Also, the average spend on streetwear products is significantly higher for men than women. So, I get why streetwear brands would focus more on men than on women in the first place and still do.

But a shift has been going on for a couple of years now. It’s going very slowly, but many opportunities have arisen for women in this market. It’s very cool to see new faces pop up in the industry and watch them make statements and claim their place.

Maha doesn’t only provide women with the best of sneakers and fashion. It also takes part in many inspiring projects.
What does it mean to you to be able to support all types of creative women by jointly working on these inspiring projects?
I’m very blessed to have a team of like-minded women around me that supports our mission. As Maha, we’ve already worked with many talents. With the support of the brands we carry, we can offer all these creatives a platform and hopefully enable them to build their future career.

Expanding our brand and fighting for female representation is key for us at Maha. It’s so important to highlight these women. Seeing young women get inspired by like-minded creatives during our activities and projects is the most beautiful thing. I’m so grateful to be part of this.

With Maha, you aspire to be the centre of a community of like-minded women. 
How do you envision the future of community building?
I’m a strong believer in the 'pay it forward' concept. If everyone could help just one person a bit further in life, it would already make a huge difference community-wise. This way an individual would never be part of just one community. It would make communities more fluid and flourish more easily. 

The AF1 is one of Nike’s most iconic silhouettes. You especially must have had some pairs over the years.
Can you tell me about the nicest memory you have made with a pair of Nike AF1s?
Through the years, I’ve worn out many pairs of AF1s. Especially during the time I used to dance. The Triple White AF1 Mid was part of my crew’s uniform during dance competitions. The AF1 has taught me that anything is achievable with blood, sweat, tears, and above all, with teamwork. 


Text: Flore de Man  |  Photographer: Kwabena Sekyi Appiah-nti  |  Gaffer: Vincent Houtman | Stylist: Esmeralda Schipper-Zijp  |  Styling Assistent: Melanie Butter  |  Make-Up & Hair: Kato Fierkens & Alexander van der Heide  |  Talent: Saskia van Hofwegen


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