Tinashe Talks '90s Style, Travis Scott and Why Her Urban Outfitters x Juicy Couture Collaboration Means So Much: Exclusive

Jessica Xie
Tinashe photographed at Billboard on March 17, 2017 in New York City.

With five years in the industry as a solo artist, Tinashe is really getting her footing on the pop side of the world, and, subsequently, its quirky fashion choices. On Mar. 16, the R&B singer rode a fire truck throughout New York City (with Billboard as one of her pit stops) to promote her new single "Flame," at one point leading a flash mob of dancing "firemen" to the Hot 97 radio station headquarters. Donning a semi-sheer black onesie, camouflage joggers and black heels, the singer channeled the spirit of Magic Mike XXL's strip club owner Rome (portrayed by Jada Pinkett Smith), popping champagne to celebrate.

Surprisingly, that outfit choice was a little more conservative and self-contained than the one she displayed the following day, when the singer came back to Billboard for a Facebook Live session, donning head to toe urban-couture brand Off-White. Attributing the sartorial choice to Gwen Stefani's edgy, laid-back '90s style of tomboy-meets-femme, Tinashe managed to pull off a daring mix of latex, oversized pinstripes and denim, topped off by a handful of Fallon Monarch chokers.

Billboard spoke with the singer about becoming the face of recently-announced campaigns with hair care company John Frieda and retail giant Urban Outfitters' Juicy Couture collaboration, why Solange is her icon, and more. 

Tell me about who are you wearing.

It’s all Virgil Abloh's brand, Off White. I wanted to do something that was simultaneously laid back and extra at the same time. The jacket, for example, is super, super, super oversized so it’s not like your average denim jacket. It’s a throwback. 

Who are some of your biggest style icons and inspirations?
When I was younger, I would have said that my biggest inspiration was probably Gwen Stefani. She worked a really good combination of being super feminine with a tomboy edge, which is something I've always loved. As I grew up, I gained an appreciation for Aaliyah, and most recently Solange. I would say that she’s currently my biggest icon; she just embodies what it means to be a style icon by having a huge sense of identity and ability to take risks.

So aside from releasing “Flame,” you’ve also been making headlines for that Travis Scott GQ photo shoot. 

Oh yeah -- [jokingly] scandalous!

 

"Highly sensitive material" -- -- by @terryrichardson

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How was it working with Travis and Terry Richardson? 

I’ve known Travis forever and we’ve been cool forever. Terry, I never worked with -- so that was very cool to work with an iconic photographer. And while we were on the set we were just having fun, messing around, and they brought a bunch of fun props; oversized blow up bacon strips, things like that. It was that kind of shoot, so that would be the photo that they chose (laughs). We've worked in the studio since "Vulnerable" several times, so we hang out. I would definitely work with him again in the future. We'll see. 

Tell me about your campaigns for Urban Outfitters x Juicy Couture and John Frieda.

I've been lucky to have some really cool campaigns this year. John Frieda's "#HairTalks" is all about embracing natural beauty, which is super dope. And the Urban Outfitters x Juicy Couture campaign was super fun because I'm a '90s baby, and grew up with the whole first era of Juicy. Everyone was wearing it. All my friends had a Juicy tracksuit, but I couldn't afford it, so I had the knock off version. But now, I'm the face of this collaboration -- guess it came full circle.

What's your favorite music video look, outfit wise?

My favorite is probably when I was in "All Hands on Deck," and I had that shiny, reflective coat. I was walking through the things and I was like [starts sashaying and making swishing sounds], "This is a moment!" It was dope! And it was hard to move in, too, because it was made of weird plastic almost to where it was crunchy [starts to make crunching sounds].