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American Style Influencer and Content Creator: Kinya Claiborne


Hapsari Listya
July 5, 2022

Kinya Claiborne @kinyaclaiborne is a style influencer and content creator who's also passionate about sneakers. The pair that triggered her passion was the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG. Some of her favourite brands are Sketchers, ASICS, and New Balance.

All images via @kinyaclaiborne

What was the moment you first got drawn to sneakers, and which pair of sneakers triggered your passion?

The moment that triggered my passion for sneakerhead culture was when I was given an Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG and the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘Bred Toe’ from the Jordan Brand/Nike. 

When it was released in 2018, it was a new spin on the classic design with the Chicago Bulls-inspired colorway.  It's a black, red, and white version of Michael Jordan's first signature shoe that was banned by the NBA commissioner upon its original release Michael Jordan's rookie season for having too many colors. Nike capitalized on the ban when it dropped a black and red version of the Air Jordan 1 in 1985.

What’s one moment or trend in the history of sneaker culture that resonates with you?

The birth of the sneakerhead culture for me began from watching basketball and the emergence of Michael Jordan's Air Jordan line of shoes and my love of hip hop music. Once the symbol of sports, sneakers have transcended to become fashionable street style staple. I love how high fashion brands from Gucci to Balenciaga have since expanded into the luxury sneaker market.

Please describe how it feels to you when you get and wear a new pair of kicks?

The two most important things to me when wearing sneakers are comfort and style. I love how the pandemic embraced the athleisure trend making it stylish and cool to wear my favorite pair of sneakers with elevated loungewear.

What are some of your favorite creators/designers or brands and why?

My favorite fashion brand is Revolve. It's a brand I've been working with as an influencer/ ambassador for 5 years and is home to the world's most-coveted designer apparel, shoes & accessories from Lovers + Friends, Michael Costello, NBD, Free People, Nike and more.

What is one sneaker collaboration that doesn’t exist, but you wish/think should exist?

I would love to see a sneaker collaboration with Converse and Michelle Obama. The former First Lady was a notable fan of sneakers back in the White House and had quite the collection of the affordable Converse Chuck Taylors. A fashion icon with a love of affordable fashion, her effortless sense of style inspired a new generation of sneakerheads.

What are some of the current pairs of sneakers in your rotation?

In the past, most sneaker brands have been thought of as practical or functional, rather than stylish or fashionable. I'm currently loving the dad sneaker trend and have been wearing Sketchers, ASICS, and New Balance (known affectionately as the “dad shoe”). These shoes are comfortable and tend to match with just about anything in my closet.

What is your ultimate holy grail sneaker that you have not managed to acquire so far?

As a kid growing up in the 80s, my first pair of "designer" sneakers was LA Gear high-top sneakers. They revolutionized the athletic shoe market in 1985 by developing shoes that incorporated the comfort of sneakers and fashion. I would love to relive my 80s/90s style in vintage LA Gear sneakers with pink laces and the coolest twisted leather design on the sides.

Other than kicks, what are some of your daily essentials or treasured items?

My daily wardrobe staples include a vintage t-shirt, relaxed denim, a statement blazer, studio-to-street joggers, and gold jewelry.

Where people can find you on social media?

Instagram: Kinya Clairbone

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An ailurophile who loves bake cookies and listen to indie music!