You need to be a serious trendsetter to get a chance to design your own pair of Air Jordans. Yet that’s exactly what Vashtie Kola got the opportunity to do back in 2010. As the first woman to EVER collaborate with the Jordan Brand, Vashtie crafted a refreshing light purple take on the Air Jordan II for the shoe’s 25th anniversary.
“The color is representative of me, my brand VIOLETTE, and the females that would wear the shoe so the deep purple and lavender made the most sense,” she told Dime at the time. “I also wanted to stay true to the silhouette since the Jordan is a man’s shoe, I wanted to balance those two worlds of masculine and feminine. Since it’s the 25th anniversary of the II, it was important to pay homage which you traditionally do through giving the gift of silver. You’ll notice the silver accents throughout the shoe.”
At that point, she said she had a quality over quantity take on sneakers, as her collection was only about a dozen deep — all Jordans I to VII — and consistently featured her favorite sneaker ever, the Jordan III. But that’s just the start for this chick. Since then? She’s graduated to another level and recently unveiled her 2015 collaboration collection with Puma.
Vashtie was also featured in the latest issue of SLAM, further cementing herself as a scion of style for young female sneakerheads and stylists, many of whom are struggling to stand out amid the legions of sneaker fanatics.
“A lot of people look down on us,” female sneakerhead Janelle Morgan told me this summer, “especially on a lot of the newbies that are coming in. But I really hope they let us branch out just like they did, give us the knowledge and hopefully that will work towards keeping the sneaker community strong.”
Well, following Vashtie’s lead wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The New York City creative consultant/designer/filmmaker/artist has learned to navigate smoothly within fashion, style, sneaker, and even musical lanes, and her Instagram should be fuel, a master class, for anyone trying to lock in their look.
The “curator of cool” in the biggest American city is just getting started. Keep up, ladies.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney
images via Noam Galai/Getty Images and @vashtie