Hip-Hop Princess Vashtie Kola's Downtown Style

Director, DJ, party promoter, photographer, designer—is there anything that Vashtie Kola doesn't do? Whether she's creating the next hot music video for Solange Knowles or designing Air Jordans, you can bet downtown's sweetheart does it all with her own impeccable flair. Her gorgeous smile and casual air along with her urban-tomboy-meets-high-fashion style inspires everyone she meets, so color us ecstatic that this seriously cool lady invited us to check out her space, share her inspirations, and let us in on how she keeps her curly locks looking so gorgeous.
Check out all the snaps of Vashtie's rad East Village NYC apartment and even cooler style!
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Can you give us a little overview of what you're working on at the moment?
"I'm fresh back from a trip to Trinidad where I worked on some special projects with legendary photographer Jonathan Mannion. Q-TIP and I are planning our new party in the city. Violette [Vashtie's clothing line] is in production for a couple of summer T-shirts with the re-launch of the website coming soon. I'm directing my first film at the end of the year/early next. I'm a brand Ambassador for Heineken. I started a new Tumblr which will be dedicated to vintage pieces that will be for sale on VioletteNewYork.com."

Above: Vashtie is wearing a vintage Wu-Tang T-shirt, vintage Levi's cut-offs, and black platform patent leather Air Force 1s.
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You wear a lot of hats in the fashion, film, and music industry from director to designer. Are there any new creative ventures on your plate?
"Not really anything new in terms of something outside of what it is I already do. I just plan on taking everything I already do to the next level. I'm still doing music videos, but instead of just coming in as Director I'm also Creative Consulting and Branding. Later this month, I'll be directing a video for Big K.R.I.T., who I'm very excited to work with."

Above, left: On Eames "Hang It All" coat rack, Kola has a Supreme x Playboy varsity jacket, vintage gold beaded bustier halter, New York Yankees hat, aNYthing painter's cap, vintage New York Giants painter's cap, and a Supreme baseball hat. Above, right: Vashtie wears a vintage Levi's denim vest, a Yohji Yamamoto bandeau and pleated black patent leather skirt, and Genevieve Jones' cross necklace and cross ring.
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You threw some seriously rad '90s parties at Santos Party House. What are some of your favorite fashion trends from that decade? How about favorite songs and TV shows from the '90s?
"Thank you! Yes, I have a such a love/hate relationship with that decade which I believe makes it a true love. My favorite trends from that era are: Polka-dots, Jordans, biker shorts, motorcycle jackets, rugbys, baggy clothes on girls, neon, flip hats, worker shirts with name-tags, Riot Grrl, army boots, denim cut-offs, chokers, stripes, grunge & gangster!

"I actually have more favorite albums than songs, since in the '90s you had to endure a whole album for one favorite song (unless you recorded it off the radio or someone made you a mixtape).. Bjork 'Homegenic' and 'Post'; Nas 'Illmatic'; The Cure 'Disintergation'; Stone Temple Pilots 'Core' and 'Purple'; Notorios B.I.G. 'Ready To Die'; Tori Amos 'Little Earthquakes'; Sublime 'Sublime'' Tricky 'Maxinquaye'; Supercat 'Don Dada'; Radiohead 'OK Computer'; Nirvana 'MTV Unplugged in New York'; Massive Attack 'Mezzanine'; Mary J. Blige 'What's The 411'; Lauryn Hill 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill'; Gangstarr 'Step In The Arena'; Elliot Smith 'XO'; Bad Religion 'Recipe For Hate'; Camp Lo 'Uptown Saturday Night'; DJ Shadow 'Entroducing.'...

"Some of my favorite shows were; Saved By The Bell, Living Single, My So-Called Life, In Living Color, Married With Children, and The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air."

Above: Vashtie's workspace.
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You've got a lot of young girls copying your style. Who did you want to dress like when you were growing up in Albany?
"Wow, I had so many style inspirations growing up. For one, I wanted to dress like my big sister, Savie. She was seven years older than me and wore denim cut-offs, denim jackets, concert tees, and flipped her long curly tresses to one side. I was also inspired, growing up in the Hood by baggy jeans, Timbs, North Face Jackets, Polo, gold jewelry, and Rough Neck style. I was also obsessed with Nike and Jordans since they were the epitome of cool and represented wealth, none of which I had.

"I watched a lot of music videos (like most kids in the '90s) and loved Kurt Cobain's style. His nonchalant approach to fashion created a major movement. I also absolutely adored Bjork (and still do). She's so forward, unpredictable and creative; One day she's wearing a karate uniform and the next she's wearing a straight jacket! I was also inspired by Patra and her dance-hall meets grunge style; poom poom shorts, combat boots, and body suits."


Above, left: Pentax camera on tripod, carnival mask, Midi keyboard,and artwork by Vashtie's God-Daughter Amaya. Above, right: Vashtie is wearing a Grey Antics chambray dress paired with a vintage Chanel leather and brass wrap bracelet.
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Who are your style icons now?
"They're all mostly '90s style icons that still inspired me then and continue to inspire me...Supercat, Patra, Kurt Cobain, Neneh Cherry, Lady Miss Kier, Lapo Elkaan, James Dean, Scott Weiland, Frida Kahlo, and the '90s TV queens: Denise Huxtable and Claire Huxtable, Kelly Bundy, Angela Chase, and Gina from 'Martin.'"

Above: Vashtie's "inspiration board."
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What are some of your favorite spots in your East Village neighborhood? Where do you go to have a casual drink? To dance all night?
"I love to get a soy cappuccino from my favorite cafe Tarallucci E Vino. It's Italian owned and the coffee is on point. Also, there are delectable pastries made daily by a French chef. I love Quintessence Raw Food for their American style burger, Angelica Kitchen for their Wrapsody wrap, Sapporo East for their delicious sushi, and Franks for their home-made pasta. For a casual drink it's Esperanto, their Mojitos and Caipirinhas are delicious. For a solid "dance all night" moment, it's Smiths' night at Sway—you just can't argue with reliability!"

Above, left: Vashtie's Levi's and Yohji Yamamoto ensemble, modeled in her kitchen with Pierre Hardy platform sandals. Above, right: Vashtie stretches in her TopShop long-sleeved body-con dress.
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Above: Supreme Deck Collection's "LAST SUPPER".
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Above: On her couch, Vashtie sits pretty in a vintage kimono-styled wrap, a Temperley London belt, and Burberry Prorsum boots.
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You've worked with so many artists in the music and fashion industry. Who's your next dream collaboration?
"In music, I would absolutely love to work with Bjork. I've been a fan of hers since I was little. I also would love to work with Robyn, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Frank Ocean... too many to name really.

"In fashion, I'd love to collaborate with Supreme, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Rachel Roy, Pierre Hardy, Mark Fast, Jeffrey Campbell, Doc Martens, or Toms Shoes. Those are some of the brands (designers) that I really love and trust."

Above: Inspirational magazines, Jordan 2 samples, original Pee Wee Herman doll, and Vashtie's camera collection.
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Tell us your soundtrack for:

Getting ready to go out: "'Murder She Wrote' - Chaka Demus & Pliers."
The last song of the night: "'Shake The Disease' - Depeche Mode."
Walking the NY blocks: "'N.Y. State Of Mind' - Nas."

Above, left: Vashtie poses in a Motel jasmine knit turquoise sweater and vintage Levi's cut-offs. Above, right: Vashtie's record collection and record player.
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Above: Vashtie's photos with friends.
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A couple of your nicknames are Luxury Handbag Queen and Vintage Don. What are some of your favorite luxury handbag and vintage purchases that got you those monikers?
"Out of my collection of handbags, I would say my favorite and most notable are my large classic Chanel Caviar leather bag with a gold chain. I wear it with beat-up denim cut-offs and a T-shirt just to balance it out.

"Another favorite is my small vintage purple Chanel bag. It's perfect for everyday use and can spice up a boring outfit. And since it's vintage, I don't feel that bad wearing it all the time and letting it get beat up.

"Some of my favorite vintage finds would be a wool varsity jacket from Eleven on Prince that I stumbled upon in 2002. It was black with orange trim and read "TIGERS" on the back. I got a lot of compliments from it. I also have an interesting collection of vintage band shirts that I wear on the regular; The Cure, Depeche Mode, Wu-Tang, and more. I also collect vintage denim jeans. One of my favorite pair of jeans I found in a dumpster!

Above, right: Vashtie's Russian Blue kitty "Vladimir aka Vladdy aka Tookie Williams aka Fraidy Cat."
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Above: Vashtie sips milk in her kitchen.
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What's the one accessory you need to complete any outfit?
"A statement ring. I usually always wear my big amethyst ring with everything from a Phillip Lim dress to a vintage pair of basketball shorts and a T-shirt. It's a nice touch to any look. It's simple."

Above: A Trinidad doll and limited-edition Hennessy bottles decorate Vashtie's bookshelf.
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Above, left: Outside her apartment, Vashtie stuns in a Christopher Kane for Topshop Dress and Illesteva shades. Above, right: Vashtie adds Jeffrey Campbell shoes (courtesy of Karmaloop.com) to her Topshop dress.
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What are your five favorite pieces in your closet right now?
1. Supreme M-151 leopard camo jacket (I wear it all the time) 2. Vintage blue cropped blazer with black lapels 3. Louis Vuitton chiffon dress with leather beaded belt 4. Gold beaded halter bustier 5. Army camouflage jacket by Unis

Above: Framed Dash Snow artwork and Andy Warhol's Giant Book serve as the background for Vashtie's shoes. Back row, left to right: Custom patent leather platform Air Force 1's, Burberry Prorsum boots, Miu Miu platform sandals. Front row, left to right: Louis Vuitton platform sandals, Gucci floral canvas pumps, Louis Vuitton wedges, Louis Vuitton patent leather pumps, Louis Vuitton platform sandals, Helmut Lang espadrille heels.
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Above: Vashtie leans back in a Christopher Kane dress and Dries Van Noten heels.
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Any young blood out there you think have the energy to really blow up? Any particular artist/musician you're really gunning for?
"I haven't been interested in new music in a very long time but at the moment, I have so many new artists that I am excited for. I absolutely love and adore Zoo Kid, he's a high school kid from London and his voice is ice cold. I'm really into Frank Ocean and his mixtape "Nostalgia/Ultra"—I'm looking forward to more music from him. I also have The Weeknd on repeat. His music is dark, erotic and makes your imagination run wild...it's dope. James Blake is also amazing; He's like Rick Astley meets Arthur Russell. Adam Tensta is really ill, he's a rapper from Sweden and has an interesting universal sound. Big K.R.I.T. is also major, he's a rapper from Mississippi and his style is sick. He's already getting a lot of attention, but I know he will be massive. I'm loving Amanda Blank who has been doing her thing for a minute and is super talented."

Above: Vashtie adjusts her Illesteva frames.
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