This story appears in the September 2016 issue of Playboy. Subscribe

Vashtie Kola is a filmmaker, DJ and designer who has worked with Nike, Puma and Ray-Ban. As part of our No Filter series, the multi-talented artist spoke honestly about her early exposure to fashion and design and the stigma against unisex clothing.

“I grew up a tomboy in New York. I also grew up pretty poor. I couldn’t afford name brands, so I’d go to the Salvation Army, buy something vintage and design my own clothes. For me, being an artist wasn’t just about self-expression; it was a way to survive. When I started my own clothing line, Violette, in 2008, it came out as a unisex brand. As much as we’re individuals, girls like a lot of the stuff guys like. I’ve never understood why brands don’t make the same clothes they make for guys in girls’ sizes. Even in the sneaker world, the idea for too long was to take the cool guy sneaker and ‘shrink it and pink it’ for women. In recent years, unisex clothing has become more of a conversation. The stigma is dissipating.”

Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I want something darling and pink.