Vashtie had plans for a big, celebratory wedding, but due to Covid-19, they had to be postponed. But she and her husband, Emil Boye, opted to get married secretly at City Hall wearing attire that was unexpected, but made sense for the couple.
“To honor tradition I wore all white, but to be true to myself I donned an ensemble consisting of a white Supreme Hanes T-shirt, white Dickies, white Air Force 1 Lows, and a custom Durag Veil by Evita Loca,” Vashtie told Complex. “My now-husband stayed true to his Danish style wearing a minimal look of all black and Retro Mid Jordan 1s.”
Some people loved it, some people hated it, some people were consumed by her groom, but the outfit reflected what Vashtie has represented within streetwear for the past 15 years. Vashtie was mixing sneakers, graphic T-shirts, and Bape hoodies with luxury items long before it was trendy and she was the first woman to design a Jordan sneaker.
Evita Loca, a 27-year-old designer who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, created the veil. She remembers being in high school and searching Tumblr to look at Vashtie’s outfits and then try to recreate them on Polyvore. “I wanted to be a little hypebeast so bad,” says Loca over the phone, who was shocked when Vashtie’s assistant reached out about a custom veil for a photo shoot. “I’m still kind of starstruck right now.
Loca found out along with everyone else that Vashtie requested the durag for her actual wedding, not a photo shoot. Here she talks about how she started making elevated durags, what went into Vashtie’s, and what she thinks about people’s comments about the piece on Twitter.
How did you start making these extravagant durags?
I’m really into taking a low quality concept and merging them with new ideas and coming up with something fresher. I was in my apartment and a group of friends, Asha David and Joseph Headen, the creators of the Durag Fest, and they asked me to attend. This was in 2017 and I was like, ‘Heck yeah. That sounds great.’ The night before I kind of rummaged through my little stockpile of fabric and I wanted to make a piece that stood out, because by nature I’m a shy person. I wanted the piece to speak for me. I came across sequined fabric and thought, ‘What if this durag has like a Met Gala-esque vibe to it?’ It was a black sequin and it came down to maybe the back of my ankles. I went to this festival and people were taking pictures and stuff like that. It had a good response.
Then what happened after that?
Once the next Durag Festival came around in 2018, which took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, I had a few people who wanted to me to make them one. There was a DJ who wanted to team up with me to make her look stand out. And we worked together to make a long, majestic, velvet durag. That got a lot of attention, too. The video that I recorded went viral and it was used on ESPN, Bossip was talking about it, and NPR caught wind of the festival and started talking about it. So then I started to think ‘Okay, well obviously this is a thing. People actually like this. What if I continue? If I continue, maybe I can relax a little bit from my nine to five job?’ So I would get requests. I would experiment a little bit more with the durag concepts. A lot of the time people would be requesting and asking for just different colors and prints.
And then you worked with Refinery 29, right or their 29 Rooms experience?
Yes. They saw that same red durag picture and in 2017CHECK asked me if I would you like to be a part of this collaborative exhibit that’s going on. And at first I thought it was fake, but after doing a little bit of my research, I was like, ‘Yeah, sure. Let’s do it.’ And from there it was a team of us came up with the final look of the Refinery 29 Unbothered room. I made the center piece of the room, which was a gold durag that featured the names of strong black women.
When did Vashtie reach out? Had you ever made a durag for a wedding?
No. I’ve done one veil, but it wasn’t a durag. But I received a direct message over Instagram from Vashtie’s assistant and she requested a custom durag for her. This was like three months ago before Covid. I didn’t know it was for her wedding, I just thought it was a photo shoot. But they told me to make it comfortable so she can walk around and move in it and to make it kind of wedding-themed. I said I can make it look like a wedding veil, but it can still be a durag and have that street concept, but also have that elegant, traditional wedding essence to it.
What was the process with making it? How long did it take?
It was kind of difficult at first because what I was seeing in my head, it was hard to get to the fabric. I couldn’t find it, so I ended up cutting out the embellishment from another fabric and laying it on sheer mesh and then going behind it and actually hand sewing on these gems, one by one, because we couldn’t find the perfect fabric. So I just had to freestyle it. It was about nine feet long and it took a few days. I would go to work and then come home and work on it. I think I only had a little less than a week to make it and ship it.
So you found out it was for her wedding when everyone else did?
Yes. The whole time we thought it was just a conceptual shoot, but she’s actually at the courthouse and everything. I was like, ‘Oh my God. Like, dang. Well, congratulations.’ It was definitely a surprise.
Did you know who she was when she reached out?
Yeah, definitely. Do you remember back when Polyvore was a thing and back when Tumblr was Instagram? I used to be up late nights looking at fashion, stuff like that. I think I was in the 9th or 10th grade. I would make renditions of outfits that Teyana Taylor, Vashtie and Ciara would wear. All of those tomboy glam type figures. And I would try to incorporate those looks in my school life. I just thought they were so cool. I wanted to be a little hypebeast so bad. So this whole thing has definitely been surprising. I’m still kind of starstruck right now. I can’t even form words right now because I’m still in awe.
What’s been the response?
I’ve been getting a lot of love on Instagram. I’m not really on Twitter, but my friends have been sending screenshots of what’s going on. And they are like, ‘Get on Twitter.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know how to use that.’ But it’s been wild. And I’ve been getting little customer messages saying congratulations and I’ve gotten some orders.
What do you think about people who say a durag isn’t appropriate for a wedding? And what do you think of Rihanna wearing a durag on the cover of British Vogue, or Solange wearing one to the Met Gala?
Some people are going to get it and then some people aren’t. I think for brown and black people, we’re more comfortable being ourselves. There’s nothing else to be but ourselves. We get ridiculed when we’re being something else. And we get ridiculed when we’re being ourselves. So it’s just best to just do what we know best.
What’s next for you?
Definitely everybody needs to look out for me. I will be dropping a full fledged collection, incorporating the durags. For a long time I had been running away from it, but this is definitely my thing. And even after the durags I’m not going to stop creating and I’m not going to stop surprising people. It’s just what I do.