The “My Type” star also looked to Kimora Lee Simmons as a fashion icon, admiring the empire she built with Baby Phat -- a comtemporary brand that dominated the early ‘00s, and was recently resurrected in partnership with Forever 21 in June. “Being a young black and asian girl, seeing someone who came from the same background start her own fashion trend was inspiring," she explains. "She made fashion week popping, and had the flyest celebrities wearing [her clothes].”
Now, Saweetie can count on her peers to rock her own clothing, as she launched her collection with Pretty Little Thing on Sept. 9. The line features velvet two-piece sets, raunchy diamante dresses, motocross-inspired prints and latex bottoms -- all of which embody her dual-style of girlish tomboy. "The theme of my mood board [for this collection] was bougie and rich housewife," the rapper, whose first foray in the industry was her "Money Makin' Mamis" online store in college, explains. “She's coming back home from shopping, and she's either ironing, cleaning the pool or casually talking to her girls. And she's leaving the house in the middle of the day to do lunch.”
The collection’s main throughline sinks deep into early-'00s nostalgia. It’s an ever-reccuring trend, recently evoked by the likes of Normani, Ariana Grande, SZA and Saweetie herself -- and partly the reason why Baby Phat was relaunched with so much praise. “The fashion was fun and funky,” Saweetie says of the trend. “And I would love to go back to that. It's cool to go into the simplicity of fashion, but I'm a very colorful person. I think it's dope that girls like me and Normani are putting it on for young artists who are bringing that back to the culture.”
Nostalgia has also seeped into Saweetie’s performance looks this year, most of which were birthed by Sankara Xasha Ture. The stylist met the rapper by chance back in May through a photographer friend, who said Saweetie was in dire need of a last-minute outfit for Washington, D.C.'s Midnite BBQ concert. “The dancers were supposed to bring her outfit but they got stuck on the airplane,” Sankara recalls. “She needed something for that evening, and I came through with a bunch of options. They told me to hit them up whenever I come to L.A., but you never really believe that. But when I went, they really wanted me on the team!”
Using her creative arts background (she went to Howard University to study dance), Sankara continued to help Saweetie express her vision through clothing. “Growing up in the '90s and early '00s, we had videos that told stories,” she explains. “When we opened CDs, we would see the artists' whole photo shoot. You may not like a song, but you see the video and may change your mind.”
The pair’s workflow is effortless: Saweetie will send Sankara a description ("I want to be in a furry robe and look like I'm being bougie at a party") and the latter will create moodboards dotted with throwback images of powerful women like Janet Jackson and the Spice Girls. What makes each look special is found right on the clothing's tags: The ladies aim to give underground black designers a mainstream platform in an industry that doesn’t always highlight minorities. Saweetie sharing their work with her 3.5 million Instagram followers gifts them instant recognition, reaping more benefits than waiting for a small co-sign in a magazine.
The rapper will continue building her brand, as she's currently testing her lip gloss line to juicy perfection: "We want to make sure that if it's sitting in your purse, it'll look the same when you pull it out three months later." But her biggest end goal? "I have my Icy brand, so one day when I do have the time I'll create my own fashion line," Saweetie reveals. "I always wanted to bring something new to the table, and make clothes for women where they feel beautiful."