photos by @patrickgiang

Even in a city where female sneakerheads are rare, Rose Raflores represents hard. When she couldn’t find a store that catered to her style, she created her own in Vancouver: Crown the QUEENS.  She gets busy. Peep game: @crowntheQUEENS.

Earliest memory of kicks:

I think I was in the 3rd grade, I wanted a pair of Nikes because I heard they were cool.   My parents refused to buy me a pair because they were too expensive.  I remember my aunt from out east came to visit and she gave me a pair of Nike trainers. They were hand-me-downs but I didn’t care. I was so happy.  I can’t even remember what shoe it was but I was just happy because they were a pair of Nikes. Haha

What inspired you to create Queens?

It was something that I’ve always dreamed of doing- having a spot where I could have all the dope things, the things that I love, all in one place.  I was at a point in my life wondering and thinking ‘What am I going to be when I grow up?’  It was a now or never thing.  I opened Queens.

Tell me about kicks and street wear in Vancouver, what’s the culture like: 
Sneaker Culture here in Vancouver is well…it is almost non-existent.  There are only a select handful of people that I know who are “Sneakerheads” or are really into sneakers..  As for girls, I don’t even know a whole lot. We don’t host any sneaker events, Dunk Exchanges, not even any dope sneaker shops, nothing at all.  Vancouver is a city about the outdoors and eating healthy, bike riding and yoga and it is very hard to find a sneaker shop or even streetwear fashion.  That is one of the reasons why I opened QUEENS.
Basketball and hip-hop are a huge part of your aesthetic. Who is your favorite baller and rapper – why?
I wanted a place where you could get dope clothing for girls that had somewhat the same vision and inspiration that menswear had.  I always would end up buying men’s tee because the women’s designs were too girly.  That is the reasoning why our designs are hip hop inspired and we re-work sports tees.  Growing up I was really into basketball. I was a tomboy. Like most, Michael Jordan was a favorite.  Allan Houston, Eddie Jones are other faves.

As for rapper,  if you can’t tell already, it is Nas.  He is one of the best lyricists. His words are heartfelt and a big inspiration to me.  One of our mottos, a Nas song, ” Queens Get the Money,” (obviously also popular slang in Queens, NY+ Mobb Deep) but we’ve popularized it to mean a queen, a lady, independent woman, working to get hers and just empowering women. Most  importantly, the boutique is called QUEENS!  It just all fits together!

What’s your favorite Queens piece of the moment?

La Reina Crop Top

Complete this statement: Being a female sneaker head is

something I really love and enjoy.

What’s currently on your feet?

Air max 90’s – my everyday shoe

If that pair of kicks were a song, it would be:

Classic – Kanye, Nas, KRS-One, Rakim – honestly the first song that came to mind. They are a classic.