Amaarae decodes the enigma behind her fashion style and choices in this interview!
Ghana’s Alte Queen and music export, Amaarae sat with Vogue; an American monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine that covers many topics, including fashion, beauty, culture, living, and runway.
Here’s the gist of all that ensued between them;
“I grew up around so many unique characters,” says rapidly rising alté musician Amaarae of her distinctive, versatile style.
Born in the Bronx, raised between Atlanta and New Jersey before moving to Accra as a teen and briefly returning to Atlanta for college, the peripatetic star spent time with a variety of people who all had one thing in common:
“They love music. Through all these different people, I was imbibing all sorts, and by the time I realised I wanted to make music, I knew how to rap, how to sing, how to write songs, how to make beats,” explains the 27-year-old.
Pulled between wanting to make songs like Stevie Nicks and Gucci Mane, Britney Spears and Kelis, Amaarae wanted to be able to “do it all”. “I think that was where I finally landed with [my album] The Angel You Don’t Know… I felt comfortable tapping into whatever genre I wanted to. I was just doing it in my way.”
The record (which includes the TikTok-topping track “SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY” – the Kali Uchis remix soundtracks millions of videos on the platform), blends that wide-ranging approach to sound in ways mirrored by her psychedelic, free-wheeling fashion sense.
She’s as comfortable in baggy ’fits as she is bright and tight minidresses – or sitting down with Vogue at The Ivy wearing an OODE Co balaclava. Below, she takes us through her life in fashion.
What was the first fashion item that you ever loved?
When we were younger, my mom used to have these printed Burberry shirts in a very cool silk material with graphics printed on them
The “Yung Everything” artist on the workwear designer to know now, making her own version of Carrie Bradshaw’s newspaper-print Dior dress, and Brick Lane’s best vintage shops.
And the last fashion item you bought?
A pair of white Prada Napa Tech boots in an LA Nordstrom.
If you had to start afresh and keep only one piece from your wardrobe, what would it be?
These ripped ASOS jeans with racing patches that I’ve had for like, five years. They never fail me. I can gain 20 pounds, I can lose 20 pounds, they still look good.
Which piece of clothing could you not live without?
A good bra. Nordstrom or Macy’s have the best. This pair I bought for around $60 was the best buy in my life.
Where’s your favourite place to shop?
I find cool stuff all over the internet. Like AVAVAV by Beate Karlsson, who makes these monster boots and gloves I discovered on the ’gram.
If you need an outfit at short-notice, where’s one place you can rely on finding something great?
Truly, ASOS. They be having variety. If you need something quick, it’s like, I know this could be cute on me. If I need a ’fit I usually start two weeks ahead and go through the whole inventory. I save all the tabs, put everything in the cart, then maybe a week into it I start deducting. By the second or third day, I’m set on what I want to order.
What is your favourite look that you’ve ever put together?
This purple Daily Paper graphic jacket with a bunch of cool comics sewn in, a pair of Ragged Priest jeans, and Simon Miller green crocodile boots, a green Kai Collective silk shirt, and Von Dutch hat.
How would you describe your style?
Cool and comfortable.
What do you do for everyday wear?
Sweats, a cool graphic tee, and sneakers. Once again, comfort!
Who are your biggest style influences?
I’m constantly looking at Donatella Versace and Dior print ads from ’99 or ’98. The colours, the energy, the aggression – in your face type shit to feel like a bad bitch. I wouldn’t say I’m inspired, but I love the way Zendaya dresses: immaculate. Cardi B: fire. Jared Leto – he thinks he’s Jesus, but he can dress. It’s a beautiful balance of masculine and feminine, but he always looks like a man. Sexy.
What brand do you think more people should know about?
All these young Africans making a lot of waves. Orange Culture Nigeria and Pith Africa are fire, as is Project David, who did a custom look for my show [below]. Blank Canvas is a cool Ghanaian brand. He’s a painter who will take a basic shirt and do some Jackson Pollock shit, even with traditional African wear you’re not supposed to “deface” in our culture – he just said fuck it, and I think that’s fire.
What’s your biggest fashion regret?
Most of my regrets are romantic, I don’t know about fashion [laughs]. I be having a lot, my life is filled with fashion regrets. I feel like you can’t like fashion if you’re not willing to look stupid or semi-crazy for it.
What’s your top shopping tip?
I hate to shop in physical; I like to shop online. What’s my online shopping tip? If it’s too expensive, don’t even think about it, just buy it. Take a break, when you come back if you still really want it bad, don’t even look at the price, just buy it. Sometimes I won’t check my balance for a week.
What were the references on your moodboard for your upcoming collaboration with Bree Runway?
Bree is a superstar, she’s just so full of life. She walks into a room and you just know there’s a star. She washed me so hard on the track, I had to go back and write a second verse to redeem myself. The video moodboard was very clean and dark – think clean couture with a touch of Mad Max.
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