MEET ALISSA. ISLAND GYAL. KEEPER OF STORIES. SOLE SURVIVOR. FASHION FORWARD. MARKETING MAVEN. QUEENS REPRESENTA’.
This year at CNKDaily, we have a specific goal to connect our crew to as many dope females in and around the sneakHER game, as possible. Finding the bridge between passion and purpose can be perpetuated through common bonds. While we have an undisputed love for sneakers that brought us all together, we are also networking and reaching new ways to elevate our sneakHER style, our businesses, and even everyday lifestyles. Through sharing stories in our Chick Chat Series, we continue to be inspired by a diverse group of ladies from all walks of life.
One of the best parts of the series is finding women who lift others as they climb. Women who want to give voices to those in the sneakHER community by sharing important stories. This is how I came across Alissa Nevita (you may know her as @yo_monalissa). A strong, minority female who knows all about the importance of breaking molds and being yourself during the process. Through the lack of female representation in the world of kicks, Alissa founded For the Kick of It to represent real chicks in real kicks. Designed as a way to give style inspiration and creative expression while rockin’ your sneakers, Alissa has evolved her brand into swapping sneaker stories while empowering the next woman in their everyday environments. We love it because that is the foundation that CNKDaily is built upon.
We had the amazing opportunity to vibe with Alissa and learn more about her journey, hurdles, and the footprint she wants to leave. Pun intended. Check out what Alissa had to say in her own words below (and did we mention she's stylist AF?)
HERE’S THE 411 ON ALISSA…
I'm Alissa (a-lee-sa) Nevita and I'm currently the Director of Marketing at Packer - a sneaker boutique based in New Jersey with locations in Teaneck and Jersey City - as well as host of the new YouTube series, For the Kick of it Presents... which focuses on real stories of real women within the sneaker and streetwear space. I was born and raised in Hollis, Queens, New York where sneakers and gold hoop earrings go together like pen and paper.
CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE SNEAKHER STYLE IS MADE OF…
When someone asks me how I got into sneakers, I always say that there was never a point were I 'got into' sneakers. I'm from New York: the birthplace of sneaker culture. New Yorkers changed the perception of sneakers from sports equipment to tools for cultural expression. We wear what's comfortable and what's very true to our own individual selves and you can see that within my style. You'll catch me with a top bun or hair down, my name plate and '87' chain, big gold hoop earrings, most likely donning a pair of Air Jordan 1s.
SPEAK YOUR MIND, SHIFT THE CULTURE.
My parents and siblings are immigrants from Guyana. I am the only one born in America, that makes me first generation. Therefore, I feel like I've always had to create my own seat at the table because there wasn't a pre-disposed path to follow or resonate with. I always knew I was unique. I had to break out of traditional Indo-Caribbean household norms; the biggest one being that women are submissive and/or inferior to men. The key was that I had to become aggressive, especially when entering a male-dominated space. I had to stop worrying about potentially hurting someone's feelings or quieting down when men didn't hear me and most importantly, not being afraid to speak my mind and continuously doing so even when my thoughts went unheard the first (or second or third) time. You can't make a seat for yourself by being quiet.
Cultivate your own style, be your own unique person. Embrace your womanhood in all its glory.
ON THE BIRTH OF ‘FOR THE KICK OF IT’
Some years ago, I was gifted with a pair of South Beach Lebron 9s and I remember wanting to elevate my look by the clothing I paired with them. This was during the rise of the fashion blogger so I thought I could find some blogs with women and sneakers and gain some fashion inspiration. Unfortunately, the only inspiration I found were from women like Teyana Taylor, Rihanna, and Rita Ora - and while those women are bomb, their style wasn't something that was attainable to the average consumer. And that's when the light bulb went off in my head. There isn't a fashion destination for women in sneakers, so why don't I take matters into my own hands and create one? From there, for the Kick of it was born.
It started as providing fashion inspiration for women and giving them tips on how to dress their sneakers up. I also wanted to interview women who could share their own style tips but it was important for me to feature women who could inspire others. That form of content became my favorite. I love connecting with people and hearing their stories. The name of each episode is titled something a little different with a change of scenery, hence why the series is titled 'For the Kick of it Presents...'.
MINOR SETBACK FOR A MAJOR COMEBACK…
After a year moving to California, depression struck out of nowhere. I was losing interest in some of my favorite things and needed to do some soul-searching. The universe guided me back home to New York where I started leading Marketing and Comms for Flight Club and while I was trying to still pave a way for women in sneakers using my position, I still felt I wasn't doing enough. I was also growing very tired of the campaigns bigger brands were running that were geared towards women at the time. So instead of continuing to complain about it, I decided I'd restart FTKOI but this time, with video. The goal was (and still is) to talk to women...ALL WOMEN...within the sneaker and streetwear space. From women in corporate to those who collect to those who reminisce about their coppin' strategies in their hometown... these are the types of stories one can expect from the series.
ON CONNECTING THE PRODUCTS TO THE PEOPLE…
I gravitate towards marketing campaigns that tell a real authentic story. Show me the emotion, show me the struggle, show me the pride and do it with a person this story 100% resonates to. I loved the campaign Nike did with Serena Williams last year, we definitely need more of these with more real women. I'd love for big brands to steer away from this 'pretty and privilege' model - using only women with pretty faces versus women who are actually well-versed in that specific arena whether it's fitness, styling, etc.
The biggest insight for me is that no matter how hyped a shoe can be, sneakers are still (as a whole) very subjective and it's up to the retailer or brand to really create a story that gives the product new life. Recently, we worked with adidas to conceptualize a story for their 2019 Nite Jogger following the theme of a Nite Dweller - a person whose creative pursuits come alive at night, featuring one of today’s most prolific wildstyle graffiti artists, HOACS. It really allowed us to use this story to help highlight the different elements of the shoe, from the colors to the reflective technology.
ALISSA’S SNEAKHER ROTATION IN 3..2..1
My current rotation includes: Air Jordan 'Breds' circa 1994, Carhartt x Air Max 95 (THESE WERE SOOO SLEPT ON, YALL GONNA BE SO MAD IN THE FUTURE) and the YEEZY Static 700s. A holy grail for me would probably be the Jordan 1 OG Chicago from 1985. Bruh. I'd be in those all day, every day (almost).
SHOP SNEAKER STYLE INSPIRED BY ALISSA BELOW
ADVICE FOR THE SHAWTIES.
First, be authentically you. As women, we find ourselves in situations where we feel we have to conform. Please know that in the sneaker world, you don't. If someone's making you conform, it's not the right move. Secondly, Network, Network, Network. Use social media strategically, and it'll allow you to keep abreast on new trends, who are the content creators, and use your own social media platforms as your personal portfolio. If you want to get a feel for the sneaker world and see if it's for you, start at retail. You'll get insight into the ins and outs and also get a feel for the clientele.
WHAT DOES SNEAKHER CULTURE MEAN TO YOU?
To me, sneakHER culture means being unapologetically you. Be comfortable. Like what you like. Don't allow hype to steer you in any direction. Cultivate your own style, be your own unique person. Embrace your womanhood in all its glory.
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