Meet & Greet mixer event celebrates women and kicks.
On Feb 29, 2020 – the last day of what is called Black History Month – Angela Patton of the organization, Girls For A Change and her team of amazing women transformed the Angeles Golf Course into an afternoon of sisterhood, discovery and emotional realization. GFAC and Carpe Diem Events created a space where women in the Los Angeles communities could get together and see each other’s strengths, contributions and commitment to fostering talented young ladies. It was a gathering spot to meet some of the members who traveled across country from Richmond, Virginia and take part in building a chapter on the West Coast.
As a black professional woman and mother, I know firsthand the importance of creating opportunities forWendy Rose Berry – Publicity Manger, Warner Bros.
our youth to thrive. I wanted to help fill a room
with affluent and influential women of color who would find value in lending their time, using their voice or
financial support to Girls For A Change. My hope is that this event cultivates those relationships and ultimately helps Girls For A Change launch its first Girl Action Team and programs in Los Angeles.
What are little girls made of? Was a befitting theme held on the lawn where everyone invited had to put on their best tennis shoes, sneakers and kicks.
The event gave us all a chance to meet each other, discover the levels of commitment and to see the progress and achievements of the organization. There were three women in particular that are making strong ripples in the water for girls of color. Those women were honored for their efforts in motivating the next generation of wealth builders, innovators and risk takers.
Costume Designer, Ruth E. Carter was honored with the award for her work in costume design and for elevating jewelry designer, Douriean Fletcher. While on set of ROOTS as a background extra, Carter saw Douriean’s work and commissioned her on the spot to remove her costume and come aboard as part of the costume department. Carter also brought Douriean along as prototype and jewelry designer for the Oscar Award winning film, Black Panther. Douriean produced a beadwork collective Vision Robe for the event.
Comedian Tiffanny Hardish was honored with the Sugar & Spice award for her dedication and commitment to her SheReadyFoundation. Coming up from the foster care system herself, Haddish is making sure children in the foster care system will always have a shot at normalcy.
“Every child that is removed from their parents deserves to have a suitcase, a safe place to lay their head, and platform to follow their dreams.”Tiffany Haddish
Actress Erika Alexander of 90’s comedy-drama classic, Living Single, the Cosby Show, The Wu-Tang Saga, and Get Out was awarded for her effortless work in story telling as co-founder of Color Farm Media. Alexander and co-founder are bringing inclusion, and diverse representation to both media and electoral politics. Alexander shared an emotional story of her childhood growing up in Flagstaff, AZ and finding her place in the film industry where she often felt alone. She encouraged the audience of young minds to bring their talent, and voices to her blockchain media outlet.
All of these extraordinary women expressed the desire to promote empowerment of the future.
Back To The Sneakers
Last-Report was honored to be a sponsor of the event presenting “Design Your World” – an interactive station where guests enjoyed the fun of customizing a running shoe of their own. Kicks customizer and mural artist, Oreo Princess (@snekaerlordoreo) was on deck giving a live demonstration on hand painting sneakers. The napa leather running shoe designed by Editor, Tanita S. Gray, was locally made in partnership with Shoemakers of LA.
Oreo’s inspiration for the design comes from young women taking control of their future and using their insight, their chakra or third eye, to express who they are and manifest their destiny. The sketch-style design features a wet ready paintbrush extension as the third eye.
The final tennis shoe was auctioned and the proceeds go directly to the Girls For A Change Immersion Lab program.
Want to design your own sneaker? Show us your skills! Download the color page below to Design Your World. Submit your design and be sent a free gift from Last-Report.
The Black Girl View Of The Sneaker Industry
Part of Patton’s goal for the meet and greet was to expose the guests to the programs that GFAC offers. One of the programs Patton wishes to put in motion is in partnership with GFAC’s Immersion Lab, YellowBrick and the Sneaker School. Girls in the program have expressed deep interest in athletic footwear design but never knew where to start or where to go. The availability of footwear education is next to none. The odds of throwing a rock and hitting a footwear designer is rare. But to hear a girl who say that the Jordan Retro 11 Low “Rose Gold” is her favorite shoe – it’s a light bulb moment to make sure she has access to that knowledge, education and industry insight and relationship building, becomes a priority.
When girls are not able to be expressive, when there are no spaces created to encourage, build and foster an outlet for creativity and innovation; competition becomes an inherent response. Watching her male counterparts determine the outcome of her fashionable existence – it becomes a race. A race to succeed. The mission of this program is to end that race. The Immersion Lab will create a space for girls to enter a field where they are becoming a major player in not only spending, but a cultural movement.
African-American women’s consumer preferences and brand affinities are resonating across the U.S. mainstream, driving total Black spending power toward a record $1.5 trillion by 2021. At 24.3 million strong, Black women account for 14% of all U.S. women and 52% of all African-Americans.(Nielsen)
The Problem In Footwear
The problem Black girls face is that they have very little to no knowledge that they have the ability and opportunities to enter the footwear design market successfully and competitively. The idea of being a footwear designer becomes the furthest away concept, far behind being a nurse, or administrative lead, or even apparel designer. The idea of being part of the future of traditional shoe making and design is not in any lesson plan, community outreach or family discussion.
Only boys can design sneakers?
The solution is to present tools like the Immersion Lab, Yellowbrick education and Last-Report as vehicles for transporting ideas and innovative concepts designed and developed by girls of color. These vehicles exist to guide those concepts into viable products that can enter the footwear market.
Other movement of influencers introducing the footwear industry to the next generation of designers and developers is S.E.E.D. A design program in partnership with Pensole at the Brooklyn Creator Farm supported by Pharrell Williams.
As this piece is written the fate of the entire industry rests on the results of the coronavirus and the limitations of travel and procurement. These next gens of footwear designers may find the solution to keeping the industry afloat and in a new direction, a new market, and a totally new outlook on our business ahead.