If you’re from Edmonton and have an Instagram page, you would of definitely come across Chalina aka itsmisshuynh. From her dark hair to her minimal style, Chalina’s look is effortless! With each look she creates, she combines her two favourite lifestyle aesthetics: fitness and fashion. Whether she’s wearing a navy pantsuit with Adidas NMD’s or wearing an oversized cap with black Uptempos, Chalina ‘s fitness persona definitely align with her fashionable soles.
We conquered an upstairs parking lot with the black haired beauty to get a visual sense of her everyday style. Always on the move, Chalina exemplifies what it means to have sole and what she’s noticed being a woman immersed in the sneaker community. Take a look at what she had to say followed by a few visual shots below. Keep on shinin my fellow sole sista!
I’m wearing Adidas NMDs, they’re a fresh white prime knit with a gum sole. When I dress myself I usually build my outfits around one piece that I’m sure I want to wear. For this photo shoot I wanted to wear a red bodysuit, from there I decided to be bold and wear all red which lead me to choose my white NMDs. I chose to wear white shoes because my whole outfit was already loud and a statement on it’s own. I needed a shoe that would still pop but not add too much or take away from the outfit itself. I find that all white shoes are so refreshing to look at and help tie an outfit together, especially if its a bold outfit.
How did you get into sneakers?
Fashion has always been a huge part of my life. I have a great appreciation for shoes and I have always said that your shoes can make or break your outfit! Wearing the right shoes that enhance or complete your look is essential, it ties the whole outfit together. You can be wearing an outfit that’s amazingly put together, but shoes are the finishing touch, it’s like the cherry on top! I was introduced to sneaker culture by a very close friend of mine at the time, Kurt Bugasto. I blame Kurt for all of the money I have spent on sneakers these past 2-3 years lol. I would watch him receive shoes in the mail almost every week, stay up for launch dates or even wait in line! I was always envious of his collection and intrigued by sneaker culture. I very quickly fell in love with sneakers and the idea of incorporating them into my style.
Adidas or Nike?
I don’t think I could choose just one. They are both quality brands that I enjoy and support. However I’m known to be an Adidas girl, and within my wardrobe and shoe collection I do own more Adidas than I do Nike.
What’s it like to walk in your shoes?
What it’s like to walk in my shoes is a feeling I’m positive that I share with many others, and it’s that currently I am just an ambitious university student who is working on making the most of their life and their future, trying to juggle education, work, family, friends, hobbies, passions, personal well-being, and both mental and physical health. Like everyone else I have fought battles that have shaped who I am today.
Something I have always struggled with as a female, is a negative body image I developed through consistent social media usage. I am an avid Instagram user; because Instagram is a visually based social platform it began to affect my body-image, perception of physical beauty and self-esteem. One thing I wish social platforms didn’t have is the ability to like a post. Followers and friends are provided with the power to like and comment on each others content and the fine line between a “like” and approval has become blurred for many people. The system of likes has easily turned value into a number governable by others. Having thousands of people like something you put out to share would make anyone feel some sort of gratification. It could make one feel appreciated or that their work is appreciated and/or even acknowledged by many.. and who wouldn’t want that? There is consistency with the type of beauty trends and body types praised throughout social media and this consistency can have a large impact on young adolescents and even in young women like myself.
As we all say we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others the Comparison Theory proposed by Leon Festinger suggests that “our self evaluation is relative to our evaluation of others” and that we are inclined to compare our worth to others. I saw this in myself when I would scroll through my feed, see an astonishingly beautiful woman with a perfectly symmetrical face, a body shaped by the gods and impeccable style. I would then catch myself thinking “wow, I wish I had a smaller waist, I wish I had a slimmer face, I wish I had high cheekbones, I wish I had nicer eyebrows, I wish, I wish, I wish…” I found myself wishing and wanting everything I am not and don’t have, rather than being grateful and counting my blessings.. Upon realizing this, it took me taking a step back and a bit of a break from Instagram. I really changed my perspective about myself and social media. I am still on the path to self love and positive body image and it’s a much brighter path than the one I was taking before it. Some days are harder than others, but I’m happy to have acknowledged what was dragging me down mentally and deciding to do something about it. Self love, positive body image, and self-appreciation are so important for both men and women. It makes my day to see women empowering each other and supporting one another. Physical beauty can always be altered or bought, true beauty radiates from the mind and the heart.
Do you feel that females are underrepresented when it comes to sneaker culture?
Yes, I do feel that females are underrepresented in sneaker culture. Some may feel differently. My opinion is based within Canada, and on personal preference. In comparison to the US we have less access/availability/selection of sneakers for men and even worse for women. Unless its a sneaker store directly for women, if you walk into a sports or sneaker store that carries shoes for both men, women and children more likely than not you will notice that the men selection is dominant and makes up the majority and the women’s selection gets one small section of a wall. I never really noticed how small the women’s selection was until I learned more about sneakers. It is frustrating to desire certain sneakers and not being able to own them only because they are not made in my size… I’m only in luck if they also create youth sizes.. So men and youth.. but not women?
Again this part of my opinion is based solely on personal preference. The majority of the sneakers that I am into are created for both men and women. However, I find that I almost always prefer men’s colourways over the women’s. I prefer my shoes to be neutral tones and colours that go well with everything and like to add the occasional pop of colour. When browsing the women’s selection of sneakers I’m bombarded by neon pinks, yellows, blues, purples, sometimes all of those colours together.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s hard to describe my style with words. How I dress myself depends on my mood and who I feel like being that day (sporty chic Chalina professional Chalina, girly Chalina, modern/contemporary Chalina, vintage Chalina, etc.) I believe that what I wear and how I dress represents part of who I am, so depending on what I feel like will dictate how I style myself for that day. I love to layer, and I love to mix textures and tones, the perfect combination of textures and tones gives me such a good feeling. However I also know that less is more, sometimes the simplest outfit or one piece that drapes/fits perfectly and is accessorized right, makes for a great outfit. I pull inspiration from social media, my mom, my surroundings and some of my biggest fashion inspirations: Jenn Im, Alyssa Lau, Yoyo Cao, Chriselle Lim, Alexander Wang, Denny Balmaceda and many more. My style is a combination of my own vision and ideas and what I’m exposed to in the real and online world.
“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”
– Marilyn Monroe