All Photos by Raggedy Smiles
In an ever-changing society, one thing that remains constant is the global obsession with sneaker culture. The birth of the sneaker culture dates back to the 1980s and can be attributed to two main sources: basketball, specifically the emergence of Michael Jordan and his eponymous Air Jordan line of shoes released in 1985, and the growth of hip-hop music.
This past Friday evening, three Black-led nonprofit initiatives teamed up to bring an experience to thirty handpicked students in Houston, Texas that they will never forget – a creative sneaker workshop dubbed “Painting with a Sole”.
Jarren Small, CEO of Legends Do Live, Cory Carter, CEO of Showtime Rising Starz and Nate Thompson, CEO of HTX Sports Tech had one thing in common; their love and affinity for sneakers. Tie that in with their passion to create learning opportunities for students interested in the fashion and streetwear industry and their brand new initiative, “The Sneaker Club” was conceived.
“All three of us got together to create The Sneaker Club and each year we plan to open up an application for kids to apply to be a part of the club at no cost for them to participate. We’ll handpick thirty kids to be a part of a cohort and within that cohort, they’ll be placed in different activities, programs and guides to learn about the sneaker culture and the independent apparel brand business. We wanted to grant exposure for kids in underserved communities in Houston,” Small expressed.
“Painting with a Sole” is the first activity to kick the Sneaker Club initiative off and was backed by heavyweight sponsors such as Adidas, Shoe Palace and Exotic Pop. Led by Houston-based creative educator and illustrator, Kimmiski Adams, the creative sneaker workshop urged students to paint what Black History Month meant to them on a pair of shell toe Adidas Superstar sneakers, presented by local Information Technology Company, Sneaker Census.
Kimmiski glided through The Space HTX, an industrial event space in downtown Houston, in a pair of sparkly roller skates informing students on the origin of sneakers and instructing them to ensure that each student was prepared and confident to design their one-of-a-kind shoe. Blank Adidas Superstar silhouettes designed by Kimmiski were placed on each of the students’ tables, along with paint brushes. She dismissed each table to select three crayon colors to first map out their shoe design on the provided sheet of paper. After the students were pleased with their drafts, she then allowed them to visit paint stations to begin the process of painting the shoe.
“Paint is unforgivable so we want to begin with the crayons and then we’ll move on to the paint,” Kimmiski instructed.
Students were encouraged to collaborate with one another as Kimmiski added, “Remember, collaboration is not copying.”
Creativity and freedom filled the room as the talented students focused on their designs. Skill levels varied as some students kept to simple designs and others experimented with more elaborate free-handed illustrations on the shoes.
Perhaps the most gratifying part of the evening was witnessing the parents who accompanied their children in support. They watched in awe, encouraging the students and transporting the shoes to a drying station lined with heat guns.
To learn more and apply to The Sneaker Club, visit www.sneakercensus.com/sneakerclub/
About The Sneaker Club
The Sneaker Club is dedicated to exposing students to the fashion and streetwear industry throughout the year. Programming will include guest presentations and instruction from influential creative educators in classes. The Sneaker Club aims to establish personal relationships between students, creatives and executives. As executives guide the future of fashion and streetwear industry by developing the next generation of diverse talent, students gain insights that result in college enrollment, higher income and an opportunity to acquire future leadership positions.
About Legends Do Live
Legends Do Live strives to provide a unique environment for the constructive growth in today’s global society through engaging networking events, enriching community involvement and entertaining social experiences.
About Showtime Rising Starz
Showtime Rising Starz is comprised of a dedicated group of individuals that put the needs and aspirations of its athletes first. From on-field skill improvement to real life advice and training, Showtime Rising Starz promises to assist the young men and women in is program through the trials of sport/life balance.
About HTX Sports Tech
HTX Sports Tech is consulting and connecting emerging esports and sports tech startups with industry leaders to drive innovation and entrepreneurship, enhancing the future of sports experiences and growing the sports industry. HTX Sports Tech collaboratively works with companies, community partners, and academic institutions to develop technology innovation ecosystems while using sports as a catalyst.