Photo by Rafael Rios
New York Based Artist and “It Girl”, Va$htie, has been known in the entertainment and underground scene for years. She’s achieved success as a Music Video Director, Artist, Creative Director and Party Promoter while being featured for her work in notable publications such as; The New York Times, Daily News, i-D, Trace, Paper, etc. This time she’s embarked in the fashion world, finally debuting a line she’s been perfecting since 2000, called Violette. M.I.S.S. had a chance to chat with Va$htie about Violette, her inspirations and her love of fashion. Va$htie is a woman who truly is following her dreams, is an inspiration to women everywhere, and is a “woman making history.”
How did you come up with the name Violette? What does it mean to you?
It came out of years of indecision. Coming up with the name was the hardest and I went through a few. I’m a perfectionist and it limits me sometimes. I started designing and silkscreening tees in 2000, but didn’t come out with a brand until now because I wanted it to be right…right down to the name.
I’m not sure when or how, but it came up in 2005 and stuck. The whole time I had been thinking too hard about a name. I wanted to stay away from anything feminine and typical. As a tom-boy who only really chills with boys, I wanted the brand to be equal to a boys brand and not seen as “a girl brand”. Then VIOLETTE came out, and it was slightly feminine and not at the same time. I wanted the name to represent prestige, royalty, and opulence without having an obvious name. It’s a color, but it represents so much more in so many cultures…harmony, balance, clairvoyance.
Also, I have an old photograph of my mother when she was young that has a violet hue from ageing. In it, shes posed in a studio wearing a pink Sari. The photo is, framed, and sits next to my computer so I can see it everyday. My mother (and father) represent the “American Dream” to me. Working class immigrants who came to this country for a better life. My mother and I are so different, and the opportunites I have were never options for her. I think about that from time to time and it drives me.
Since the brand was to have a tomboy edge, VIOLETTE worked well to balance the masculinity of the line. It was just perfect and I decided not to waste time anymore and just go with my vision.
Read the rest of the interview and see more of Violette after the jump!
What is the “Violette” girl like?
I have a quote that I use to describe her…”Imagine if Louis Vuitton had a daughter living in the Lower East Side – she’d be rocking a luxury handbag and a fly pair of kicks. Her wardrobe would consist of rare designer items and delicate vintage pieces. With superb style that is effortless and uncontrived, she starts trends without thinking…”
That really sums her up. All in all, she’s every girl. Black, Latin, Asian, Indian, White…everything. She’s someone undefinied by typical categories and prefers it that way. She loves fashion, but isn’t bound to it. She’s aware, smart, youthful, and independent. She rebels against the norm. She’s a misfit, a rebel…
What was the inspiration behind your first collection?
The first collection is an array of designs that I’ve been working on for years. I wanted it to feel like an old brand, classic and opulent, with a modern touch. I appreciate brands that have an uncompromising quality and I wanted to focus on that.
You’ve been involved with film and music – how has the transition to fashion been? Is it a natural progression? Is fashion something you’ve always wanted to do or is it a new interest?
It wasn’t much of a transition, because it’s always been there. My roots are fine arts; drawing and painting. Ever since middle school I was designing clothing and sewing pieces for myself. At the same time I was obsessed with film and music video. When I was deciding on colleges to attend, I knew I wanted to study film because it was the one area I had no solid education in. Even in art school I was sketching and designing pieces, while silkscreening tees in early 2000.
I’m an art nerd and I’ve always been interested in all things creative.
What fashion designers are you into?
Hedi Slimane and Alexander Wang. Both of them have in common that REBEL/RUNWAY theme. I love that. It’s how I see myself and how I ultimately see my brand. I also love Hood By Air that my friends Raul and Shayne design. They’re super young kids from NYC doing big things. They’re look is hood meets the future. They’re going to blow up!
Are there any brands or designers that you’d like to work with? Are you over all the “x” collabs or do you think they are still relevant?
I think the “x” collabs will always be relevant, as long as they are done right. I’d love to collaborate with a few companies, like: Nike, Repetto, G Shock, Chanel, Keep Shoes, Pepsi, Colette, Supreme. Kind of random, but I have a lot of ideas for a lot of brands
What are your thoughts on the 2nd wave of women’s streetwear?
The first brands to come out were great because they spoke to women at a time when no brands were. They came out during a time when they had to compete with boy brands so a lot of them were very “sreetwear” driven…all about kicks, boys, and hiphop. That theme worked at that moment. Now, the game is changing and women want more options. The emerging womens brands are paying attention to that and it’s good. Theres a place for all of them.
What are your future plans for the brand?
Really just to keep building the foundation of the brand. I’ve spent years envisioning it and perfecting it, that I want to keep making it stronger. I have a few projects I’m working on, but would rather not say until it’s closer to finalization.
Where is Violette sold?
Currently, FRUITION in LAS VEGAS, ESSENSE in JAPAN , DPHMI in LONDON
and COLETTE in PARIS! You can also order online at VIOLETTENEWYORK.COM
Stay tuned for Vashtie’s upcoming projects including videos for Solange, Slim of 112, Good Charlotte and Junior Sanchez.
- Violette New York Winter Drop!
- Maestro Knows x Va$htie Kola: Episode 10
- Va$htie “Downtown’s Sweetheart” Relaunches Her Home on the Web
- Va$htie’s VioletteNewYork.Com Has Re-Launched
- Crooks & Castles Women’s 8021 Line Drops This Friday Night