Q+A with Tashiann Yasmine of Girl Strike

Tashiann Yasmine of accessories brand, Girl Strike, is a designer currently local to New York. Her pieces are ready-made and readily challenging– imploring a mastery of both presence and embodiment for those who choose to wear them. Below is a transcript from the meeting between Tashiann and Hydra’s N-Prolenta during Banana Island.



TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BRAND?

T:
I CREATED GIRL STRIKE AS A PLATFORM TO EMPOWER WOMEN IN 2016. AT THE TIME— MYSELF AND, I KNOW, A LOT OF OTHER GIRLS— FELT LIKE THEY WERE TRAPPED IN A KIND OF BUBBLE. LIKE, ‘OH, YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS IN ORDER TO BE DEEMED PRETTY, IN ORDER TO BE DEEMED DESIRABLE, IN ORDER TO BE TAKEN AS SOMEONE VALUABLE IN SOCIETY.’
[INSTEAD, I SAY], ‘NO, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS! YOU CAN BE EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE- WEARING WHATEVER YOU WANT, AND LIVING YOUR LIFE. LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE. JUST BEING YOURSELF.’ SO, I CREATED PIECES THAT STRAYED AWAY FROM THE KIND OF NORMAL ACCESSORIES YOU [SEE]. I TRY TO MAKE EACH PIECE HAVE A UNIQUE VALUE. THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.


HOW DID YOU START?

T:
IT [WAS] SO CRAZY!
I ALWAYS [HAD] THIS PLAN, LIKE, ‘I’M GONNA BE A MODEL. I AM GONNA HAVE MY OWN MODELING AGENCY.’ NEVER IN THIS PLAN WAS GIRL STRIKE. ANYWHERE. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A GIRL THAT LOVED ACCESSORIES, AND THEN I STARTED TO MAKE THEM FOR MYSELF. THEN, PEOPLE WERE LIKE, ‘OH, CAN YOU MAKE ME ONE?’, AND I’M LIKE, ‘OKAY, SURE!’
AT THIS POINT, I’M MAKING PEOPLE FREE STUFF. THEN I [REALIZED], ‘WAIT A MINUTE. I CAN MAKE SOME MONEY!’ SO THEN, I STARTED CHARGE PEOPLE, TAKE IT MORE SERIOUSLY. THEN I CREATED A WEBSITE AND A PLATFORM. IT JUST ALL KIND OF CLICKED TO ME. IT WASN’T SOMETHING THAT WAS LONG-THOUGHT-OUT. IT WAS VERY QUICK. LIKE, I… THOUGHT ABOUT IT IN JUNE AND EXECUTED IT IN AUGUST.

 

WOW, THAT IS FANTASTIC.

T:
THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THEIR TWENTIES WHO FEEL KIND OF LOST BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. I WANT TO TELL [THOSE PEOPLE], ‘KEEP EXPLORING. KEEP AN OPEN MIND. DON’T BE CLOSE-MINDED TO WHAT YOU CAN MAKE MONEY FROM AND WHAT YOU CAN ENJOY DOING THAT YOU CAN MAKE MONEY FROM.’


DOES THAT PROCESS EVER STOP?

T:
NO— NO IT DOESN’T. JUST KEEP EXPLORING BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW! DON’T THINK YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CERTAIN ‘PLAN’ BECAUSE SOMETHING MIGHT COME OUT OF [IT].


WHERE DO YOU WORK?

T:
I DO A *PLETHORA* OF [WORK]. NEW YORK IS NO JOKE! [IN ADDITION TO GIRL STRIKE], I CURRENTLY WORK AT A BOWLING ALLEY. I ALSO DO CATERING. I’M TRYING TO GET INTO SOME SERVING JOBS HERE AND THERE. I’M REALLY TRYING TO MAKE MONEY TO INVEST IN MYSELF, AND INVEST IN MY BUSINESS. LIKE, I’M GRINDING FOR THIS PERIOD OF TIME SO I DON’T HAVE TO DO [THESE THINGS] IN THE NEAR FUTURE.


HOW DO YOU WORK?

T:
HOW DO I WORK?
THERE’S ONE THING I DO THAT KIND OF FRUSTRATES ME— [FOR INSTANCE], WHEN I GO TO WORK, DREAD IT. LIKE, I LITERALLY THINK ABOUT NOT WANTING TO BE AT WORK. BUT, YOU KNOW, I HAVE A JOB. I’M BLESSED. I HAVE A JOB, I HAVE MONEY TO PUT INTO MY BUSINESS. I HAVE ALL THESE THINGS. I HAVE TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND JUST BE ENTHUSIASTIC. NOT ABOUT MY JOB [ITSELF], BUT ABOUT THE FACT THAT I HAVE ONE [TO BEGIN WITH].


WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HESITANCY? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE BEEN HESITANT TO SAY, OR DO?

T:
I’VE BEEN HESITANT TO DO A LOT OF THINGS. [HESITANCY] IS THE KILLER OF DREAMS AND GOALS. [EVEN] FINDING YOUR SOULMATE. [HESITANCY] KILLS EVERYTHING.
I REMEMBER, AT ONE POINT, I WAS HESITANT ABOUT MAKING GIRL STRIKE. I WAS KIND OF LIKE ‘EVERYBODY’S MAKING CHOKERS, YADDA YADDA YADDA’. AND THEN I HAD TO REALIZE, ‘WAIT A MINUTE. YOU HAVE WHAT EVERYONE DOESN’T HAVE’.
HESITANCY— YOU KNOW, ITS NORMAL. EVERYONE HAS THOSE DOUBTS AND THOSE FEELINGS. YOU JUST GOTTA UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE TO DO IT. IF YOU DON’T DO IT, SOMEBODY ELSE WILL. YOU CAN BE HESITANT, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD. THOSE FEELINGS, YOU STILL HAVE TO WORK THROUGH THEM. EVEN THOUGH YOU FEEL [HESITANT], YOU HAVE TO “BLOCK” IT OUT AND MOVE FORWARD.