Writer: LeKeisha Edwards
Girls like sneakers too. This reality is echoed and celebrated with the launch of Kicks and Fros, by Charlotte-based content creator and founder, Melissa Carnegie. The CKO (Chief Kicks Officer), gave birth to Kicks and Fros in May of 2017, a sneaker space on Instagram that serves to empower, elevate, inspire, and educate–giving Black women a seat at the table of the sneaker culture that many black and brown women have helped build with their support, dollars, and yes–their style.
Carnegie felt it important to recognize and give value to Black women that are often overlooked and undervalued in the sneaker community, despite bringing so much to the culture. “I did not see many women that looked like me and shared the same love for sneaker culture, get the recognition they deserve in a male-dominated industry,” Carnegie tells Upscale, “So many amazing Black and Brown women bring so much to the community, and their stories and experiences should be told.”
When it comes to novices to the sneaker community, Carnegie kept them in mind, “I was also inspired to create Kicks and Fros after receiving countless questions from women that needed guidance and support to find their unique sneaker style. I want to help, and encourage women to have fun and unleash their inner SneakHERhead!”
The success and support of the Kicks and Fros community has evolved into a lifestyle brand with apparel: including sweatshirts, crewnecks, socks, and accessories that range from bucket hats, enamel pins, and mugs–displaying colorful, stylish, and catchy phrases like, “Sneaker Money,” on a trendy money bag, or “Sisterhood. Community. Sneakers.” on a classic tote. October 2023 also led to the launch of a brand inspired, non-toxic sneaker cleaner solution, geared towards preserving the longevity and vibrancy of a girl’s favorite kicks.
When looking for a convenient, yet efficient and eclectic home for the Kicks and Fros office, Carnegie, along with several other small business owners, decided to hop-along the journey of Airstreams, the once popular home on wheels of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, according to Queen City News. The re-purposing and transformation of Airstreams into small office spaces was an substantial win for the local community. Kicks and Fros has found it’s foundation rested upon the wheels of a beautifully crafted, silver, Airstream, located in the Camp North End area of North Carolina. It isn’t hard for visitors to notice the brand name adorned on the outside of the frame–or shiny, silver exterior of the office, and not feel invited to come inside.
January 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of Carnegie’s Airstream office location, and she plans to continue hosting pop-up shops in various locations to further build the community for women sneaker lovers and those cultivating their sneaker style, “We want to be a one-stop shop for women in this space,” Carnegie says, “With in-person events, digital spaces, and one day, our very own sneaker collaboration!”