Marawa The Amazing Was Making Roller Skate Stilettos Way Before Saint Laurent Did

It’s often said that life — and fashion — imitates art. And Saint Laurent is hoping to skate by on its high-fashion name, quite literally.
In February, creative director Anthony Vaccarello debuted his first campaign for the iconic French house featuring models in fishnets and high-heeled roller skates. The ads were so controversial, they were pulled in Paris for being "sexist" and never really heard from again — until now.
This week, the skate-stilettos became available for sale. Offered at Saint Laurent boutiques only and listed for a cool $2,600 (£2,000), the Internet is now asking: "Who can even wear these things?"
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Turns out, one woman isn't just a pro at wearing high-heeled roller skates — she's been making (and wearing) them way longer than Saint Laurent has.
Marawa Wamp, or Marawa The Amazing, as she is known professionally, holds four world records in high-heeled skating. She commissioned Hannah Havana for her first pair in 2010, who made a pair of high-heeled skates as an art piece for a school project. Havana wasn’t able to work on the project, but put her onto Clare Grotefeld, who made props for the Royal Opera House. “I was very specific,” Wamp told Refinery29. “They needed to look beautiful and to be a functional as a roller skate.”
At the time, nothing like this existed. She and Grotefeld worked together to deconstruct both the heel and the skate wheel, and Wamp was more than pleased with the final product. “I just stepped into them like any pair of heels and I off I went,” she said.
“The point of having them, for me, is as a showgirl, to show strength and beauty at the same time,” she said, noting she was surprised when people started sending her articles about the Saint Laurent version. “Then you get this brand that comes out and makes the same thing. I did a lot of research. No one was making them before I was, and it’s a depressing campaign. There’s nothing empowering about it.”
She took to Instagram to compare an image of herself, shot by Gypsy Taylor, alongside the ad, shot by Collier Schorr. "Thanks to everyone for tagging me in endless @ysl ads featuring their take on my high heels skates, I am sooo flattered!" she wrote. "Looking forward to them contacting me to send me a free pair because that's what they will do right? Meanwhile who wore it better? Swipe left - I don't know about you but I'm not sure her legs are coping with the weight of those wheels..🤷🏽‍♀️"
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Wamp is understanding that policing “intellectual property is really difficult.” But as she put it, “On the Internet, I carved out that niche. I hold four different world records in high-heeled roller skating. I’ve definitely become the go-to.”
She also notes that it isn’t too late for Saint Laurent to reach out to the athlete, who's still totally down to collaborate: “Isn’t this the most beautiful video waiting to happen?” she asked.
We've reached out to Saint Laurent and will update this piece if/when we hear back.
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