Way back in Issue 16 we featured a teaser to the upcoming Female Sneaker Fiend-produced publication ‘Girls Got Kicks'. From that one article we have had a swamp load of emails from ladies wanting to showcase their collections. Perhaps the most exuberant of the selection was Kara Sarkodie Mensah, a UK sneaker freakette (also featured in our GGK article) who feeds her obsession by holding down a job at ‘one of the busiest trainer stores in London'. Having her pick of the prize, we hit up Kara and asked her to spill the beans on her love of kicks. What we got was a rip-roaring account into the mind of a female sneaker freaker - find out more here!
Just like every other girl, I love shopping but even more so when it comes to kicks. They have become one of my primary sources of girly glee and working in one of the busiest trainer stores in London I have to work extra hard not to buy a pair each week. I am constantly surrounded by too many kicks to count and weekly releases that pass through the system quicker than Mexican food but I don't complain. The benefits of working in a trainer store are similar to those who work in an art gallery; I can admire each piece and talk with people who appreciate that there is more to a shoe than the amount of press it gets... and let's not forget the added bonus of meeting an A [to Z]-list of celebrities!
Due to my environment, I have become quite immune to sneaker hype and have never bought something for brownie points or because I want to be all smug like, "...yeah, you should see my dinner table...made entirely outta tier zero boxes". Trainers express MY style, not someone else's hype. It may sound clichéd, but trainers are an extension of our personalities and I like the idea that my kicks represent different sides of me. In my case, some kicks have gradually become a part of my identity. The other day, someone took a wild gamble and jumped on me from behind purely on the basis that they saw legs and Nike SB Blazer Viotechs. Sad but true, my Viotechs and I are like Uggs and college girls - inseparable. I really like their subtle colourway and I am a big fan of all things suede. A good number of my kicks are suede or nubuck because I like the depth it adds to colours and its overall texture. Luckily, I found two pairs of the Blazers during an outlet store hunt which is rare because I often come up empty-handed. It's never put me off though because the high I get from finding forgotten treasures always outshines that of a retail purchase.
Last year, I went in search for that same ‘high' all over New York with other sneaker fanatics. On one day, we spent ages rummaging through a Brooklyn basement full of deadstock trainers with more history than a dodgy politician - the dates on some of the boxes dated so far back we were nervous to even open them! Nevertheless, my efforts paid off with a sick pair of White/Obsidian Nike Air Trainer IIIs and an unlikely, but kind, promise that a picture of a well known rapper would be replaced with a photo of my crew posing alongside the boutique owners. I didn't stick around to see how that panned out as I went on to meet more great people at events such as Sneaker Pimps and ended up posing for a Female Sneaker Fiend and Amanda Lopez photo shoot featured in ‘Girls Got Kicks' Issue 16!
Aside from gallivanting, I work as a fashion editor for a magazine so I visit my favourite retails spots for ‘creative purposes'. Shamelessly, I don't read, but I somehow write for my own incredibly impulsive blog (www.hoodandproper.blogspot.com) and am a proud member of the TheWhorington.com clan. When I am not enjoying the sound of my own typing, I am known to shake a leg for Break It Down, the online dance show for Spine TV and make music. Beat making has always been a passion of mine and I am in the process of starting a project this year, which I am really looking forward to. Hopefully, when one of my projects goes to plan, I will be back on here licking AF1s and throwing ‘em away like yoghurt pot lids just for the heck of it, so keep an eye (and ear) out for me!
Words by Kara Sarkodie Mensah
Images by Errol Photography