With the recent police-involved shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the Detroit rapper and singer felt it was time to make a powerful and stylish statement on the event’s magenta carpet.
Billboard spoke with DeJ Loaf’s stylist of almost two years, Kierra Bailey, about Dej’s urban-meets-feminine look and what it was like creating a political statement piece in just two hours.
What was your approach to styling DeJ’s outfit for the VH1 Hip Hop Honors awards show?
DeJ is known for her impeccable style and her love of clothes. With all of the recent police brutality going on in our country, DeJ, her creative director CJ and I knew that we wanted to make our voices heard through fashion. We paired the Cushnie Et Ochs crop top, drop-crotch R13 jeans and olive Yeezy heels with the jacket to add some of the femininity DeJ embodies in real life.
The custom army green bomber jacket makes a declarative political statement. What was the creation and creative process like?
The actual construction wasn’t easy. We went to the drawing board a couple different times, deciding whether the text should be in cursive or bold letters and painted on or embroidered before finally coming up with the perfect concept.
The gold embroidery was imperative so the lettering was legible but still kept the look fun. The overall creative process took about a week from start to finish and it took two hours to physically create the jacket. We completed it right before the carpet.
Why the phrase “Stop Killing Us”?
We brainstormed a couple different quotes in our initial conversation that we thought made sense. “Stop Killing Us” was perfect because it’s straight to the point, and clearly communicates that all we desire is equality and peace.
From her black beret down to her baggy jeans, Dej’s look was reminiscent of the Black Panther movement. Was this intentional?
While conceptualizing the jacket, I instantly knew that I wanted her look to be reminiscent of the Black Panthers but with a modern-day twist to it. DeJ loved the concept, so we dove in.