THROWBACK: In 2010 I became The First Woman To Design a Jordan

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I can’t believe how much time is flying! It’s been 10 whole years since I became the first woman (and maybe the first non-athlete) to have her own Jordan sneaker! Since then, other iconic women like Aleali May and Melody Ehsani (to name a few), have also created history with their Jordans.

Brand Jordan asked us 3 to make a video on discussing how we created our own Jordans, our style,  how the 90’s influences us and what we are doing to stay on our game in Quarantine? It’s live now, watch it below!

Since the video brought up great memories, I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane! So – How did a non-athlete, non-musician or celebrity girl who couldn’t even afford anything name brand growing up get a deal with Brand Jordan? Let me tell you…

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1. I WAS KNOWN FOR BEING A TOMBOY & SNEAKER LOVER EARLY BEFORE IT WAS A TREND…

I grew up in downtown Albany New York and mainly kicked it with guys – mostly because I identified more with boys and also because I had experienced the most savage of bullying by girls in junior high. I naturally gravitated towards masculine things; like baggy clothes and sneakers. In those days it was common for girls from the hood, like me, to wear kicks for style – but, not so much beyond that. So when I was in places other than the hood, my style stood out.

When I moved to Manhattan for film school, my look definitely caught attention – but not always in a good way. A lot of clubs then (and some still now) had strict dress codes and I was turned away for trying to enter their establishment in Jordans. A lot of guys didn’t find the style attractive and elders would comment that it wasn’t “ladylike” (a term that still boils my blood).

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Me when I was a young junior high kid,  stoked for some Converse Chuck Taylors that. my older brother bought me.

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Green Puma Suedes that I wore to skate in. Circa 8th Grade with my girls Shirley and La’Kea.

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As a High School kid wearing Adidas.

When I came to NYC to study film I quickly became known for being one of the rare gals at that time who wore kicks all the time, especially when I started out directing Music Videos for artists like Justin Bieber, Kid Cudi and More. I say “rare” because it was truly rare to find a girl who loved sneakers as opposed to now – where everyone and their mama wears kicks. I’m not saying I invented the look, because I did not. I just combined my love for hood steelo with my skate/emo side in a scene and time that didn’t have many girls doing the same and – voila.

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New Art School Student in New Balance. 

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Stussy Employee wearing her first pair of Jordans, 2001

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As a grown up poor hood kid – getting Jordans sent to me was a dream come true, 2009.

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2. In 2009, I had a Birthday Sneaker Cake that made headlines.

When my friends were helping me to plan my party, they asked what kind of cake I wanted – I said, “I want a 3d cake version of my Jordan 3’s”. It ended up making headlines on the inter webs.

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Even Kanye had his own version 2 months later for his birthday party…

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“I’ma let you finish Kanye – but, Vashtie had one of the best sneaker cakes of 2009”. Hahaha.

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3. I ran into my friend Astor Chambers who had started at Brand Jordan.

My dear friend Astor Chambers was working at Reebok at the time. By chance, we had run into each other on the street – right after my sneaker cake was plastered on every streetwear blog known to man. We were catching up on life and family (by the way, he has the most adorable clan ever) and he mentioned that he had just started a new gig at Brand Jordan. I was so excited for him and the news and showed him the love my sneaker cake had received online. Just then, he said “Right, you love Jordans. You should make a one”. That all sounded very exciting, but in the business – you learn to accept an opportunity when it comes to fruition. He said we could get on the phone the next day to chat about it and I was open, but almost positive nothing would come of it…call me a realist or a pessimist, I don’t know. BUT, to my shock – I got a call the next day and before I knew it I was looking at swatches to design the 20th Anniversary of the Jordan 2.

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Oprah refers to luck as “preparation meeting opportunity” and I couldn’t agree more. Had this moment of running into my friend come without my lifetime obsession with sneakers, having worked at Nike ID and knowing how to design/sketch sneakers or creating a name for myself as a girl who held it down in kicks – I doubt this moment would have garnered the same success rate.

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The shoe was inspired by much of what my brand Violette is…a mix of opposites. Masculine meets feminine and old school meets new school. While the Jordan 2 silhouette is classic in its masculinity and original frame, I balanced it with a cool lavender tone that could translate as easily to women as it would to men. There are also silver accents on the laces and sole to identify the 20 year anniversary of the shoe, as well as amber in the inner sole – another traditional way to celebrate a double decade.

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There is a brief summary for you. Long story short…

Like I said, I couldn’t afford anything name brand as a kid. I grew up obsessed with sneakers and spending my free time drawing them and designing things for fun. I don’t rap and I don’t play sports, but here I am – the first girl to have a Brand Jordan Deal.

YOUR DREAMS CAN COME TRUE!

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

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Watch the short film I made for my Jordan 2’s also:

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