Meet the girl behind Frank Ocean’s viral political t-shirt

‘As a queer brown woman, I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the social injustices happening globally’ – Kayla Robinson

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Kayla Robinon, 18, founder of Green Box Shop....and Frank Ocean wearing it at Panorama

Fashion isn’t afraid to get political, but it’s hard to get it right. We get it – it’s hard to get behind feminist t-shirts that cost £600. Last weekend at Panorama Festival in New York, Frank Ocean appeared for his set in a simple white tee with a message that read: “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” The internet exploded/broke – everyone wanted to get their hands on one. 18-year-old Kayla Robinson – founder of Green Box Shop – was unveiled as the creator of the t-shirt. We spoke to her about her online shop, seeing Frank in her tee and what’s next.

Whats your name, how old are you, how big is your team and where are you based? 

Kayla Robinson: I’m Kayla Robinson, 18 years old and we are a team of 14 (including myself) in Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

When did you start making those particular shirts? 

Kayla Robinson: April 2016, with the intention to raise money to become a certified yoga teacher. Now the vision is urban farming.

What was the inspiration behind it? 

Kayla Robinson: As a queer brown woman I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the social injustices happening globally on a community and/or systematic level. Educating people on the stigmas that marginalised groups face is what inspires me.

Have orders been crazy since Frank Ocean wore it? How did you find out? Do you know how he got one?

Kayla Robinson: Absolutely wild. Jessica Williams (who I adore immensely) DMd me on Instagram. She was at the festival and sent me pictures of him on stage. It was so exciting to hear from her and see him in one of my shirts. I honestly have no idea how he got one. 

How did it feel to see him wear it? 

Kayla Robinson: When I saw him wearing it I knew shit was about to pop off so after my mini excitement party in my kitchen I stayed up until 3am following all the buzz. It was so surreal.

Are you inspired by Jenny Holzer or Katherine Hamnett? There’s a similarity in style...

Kayla Robinson: Upon discovering these women they are quite amazing. For you to be reminded of them while seeing my work is refreshing. I would say one of my biggest inspirations has to be Kehlani. Just before Frank Ocean’s appearance my business was really struggling and to cut a long story short my landlord cut my lease short because my business was quickly outgrowing my 800 sq ft apartment. Moving was complicated and caused a huge backlog of orders. Kehlani’s Sweet, Sexy, Savage album really instilled perseverance in me and faith that everything will work itself out. Her example of strength and focus really helped me blossom into womanhood. 

“Kehlani’s Sweet, Sexy, Savage album really instilled perseverance in me and faith that everything will work itself out. Her example of strength and focus really helped me blossom into womanhood” – Kayla Robinson

Have you been in touch with Frank since? 

Kayla Robinson: I have not and if Frank Ocean ever spoke to me directly I would probably pass out 

Whats next for your brand? 

Kayla Robinson: I am working on planning a protest. After this order influx, it will be my main focus. Seeing Trump’s recent speech encouraging police brutality sparked so many emotions within me and I would like to turn that into action. The focus of the rally is to never normalize brutality, safe policing starts with police, and citizens wanting to feel safe in their own communities instead of having to be afraid of police officers even if they have done nothing wrong.

To support Kayla and Green Box Shop you can buy Frank’s tee – and others – here

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