If Kayla Robinson is any indication of where we’re headed as a people, it’s clear the future is bright and woke AF. The South Florida–based Afro-Dominicana is the founder of Green Box Shop and the teen designer behind a line of politically slanted tees, including Frank Ocean’s Panorama Festival T-shirt: “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?”
What started out as a means to pay for yoga teacher’s certification turned into a full-blown online startup. Robinson began selling her tees in order to pay for proper yoga training before realizing the lucrativeness and necessity of her fair trade business.
Her passion for social justice and mainstream inclusivity doesn’t stop at fashion. Robinson plans to also forge her legacy in sustainable agriculture. “Now, my ultimate goal is to get involved in urban farming to make healthy and homegrown food more accessible in the many food deserts in our country,” she tells Teen Vogue.
To set herself apart from trendy “message marketing” campaigns and ensure her brand’s authenticity, Robinson stays up-to-date on current events and with our political landscape. She even designs shirts around the aftermath of those events in order to offer some relief. “My team and I have also started to do group volunteering once a month in our community of Broward County, Florida.”
Much of what drives Robinson’s work, besides her own identity and how she moves in the world, is what others experience in the body.
“For subjects that are relevant to my identity as a bisexual, feminine Afro-Latina, I understand those stigmas firsthand, so I create those designs myself,” she explains to the magazine. “For subjects that are outside of my identity — that involve the disabled, Asian, or transgender communities, for example — I check in with my followers if I have questions about those stigmas. Many times people volunteer shirt ideas or explain stigmas they face so that I can properly represent other marginalized groups with my shop.”