Vans celebrates Record Store Day by honoring women in music with a special vinyl release titled “Portraits of Her.” The 16-track album is limited edition and features songs from trailblazing female artists. Curated to tell the stories and struggles of the female experience within the music industry, the album features artists like Taylor Swift, BANKS, Princess Nokia, Laura Jane Grace, Julia Michaels, Girl In Red, Julien Baker, Bully, Mariah The Scientist, Girl Ultra and more.
“This album celebrates generations of women who have overcome barriers to representation, recognition, and opportunity in the music industry,” says Tierney Stout, Director of Global Music Marketing at Vans. “Brands, record labels, musicians, and other organizations including Record Store Day and We Are Moving The Needle, are working together to give female talent more visibility, support and opportunities.”
To further extend their commitment to uplifting women in music, Vans made a $20,000 donation to We Are Moving The Needle, a nonprofit organization that supports female music industry professionals including audio engineers and producers.
“Women are an incredible asset to the music industry, yet they are underrepresented across the board, but particularly in recording studios,” says Grammy-winning mastering engineer Emily Lazar, who founded We are Moving the Needle. “To close the vast gender gap in this industry, we must all work together to empower women on and off stage, behind the music, in the studio, and everywhere else in this business. We are grateful for the support from Vans, Record Store Day, and these amazing female artists.”
Organizations like We Are Moving The Needle are crucial to expanding career opportunities for female artists, where only 2% of music producers and 3% of engineers across popular music are women. Even in instances where women are more represented, they’re still remarkably outnumbered. Only 21% of women working in the industry are artists, with 12% being songwriters, and 13% being music industry executives.
Vans also invited female artists and industry leaders to speak on their challenges and triumphs for a video series. Directed by Christina Xing, the series comes as a trio of videos that showcase the personal stories and motivations behind each woman’s desire to make a difference within music.
Along with the album and video series, Vans also worked with Jordi Ng to create a zine that captures the ethos of the project. With intimate anecdotes about self confidence, individuality, mentorship, and more, the zine offers inspiration to the next generation of women in music.
The Vans “Portraits of Her” album drops on Record Store Day – Saturday, April 23rd. The album will be available at participating independent record stores. Additionally, Vans will be throwing a special record fair at the House of Vans Chicago on April 30th. Hosted by Wax Trax! Records, the celebration will feature performances by Boyish and K.Flay, and DJ sets by Laura Jane Grace, Julia Nash (of Wax Trax! Records), Jill Hopkins (of The Metro and Vocalo Radio), and DJ Patrixa Goth. The RSVP is open now.
Check out the album and tracklist below, which features art from Sofia Enriquez. If you aren’t able to head to your local record store or attend the House of Vans record fair, you can stream the “Portraits of Her” playlist on Spotify. For more Vans releases and updates on all your favorite sneakers, follow @NiceKicks on Instagram.