Amidst the bustling schedule of this year’s NYFW was a PrettyLittleThing showcase straight out of a ’90s hip-hop video. At the helm, Teyana Taylor as the brand’s US creative director, who spoke to ESSENCE ahead of the star-studded event about the new collection and its inspiration. The outspoken mother, director and performer is extremely particular with who and what she aligns herself with, but PLT certainly fits the bill.
“We’re all growing every single day,” she says. “We’re maturing every single day. We’re getting better every single day. That said, PLT allows me to express myself. I’m able to create dope lines and do what I can to help to bring more diversity, open more doors and keep elevating us. You know what I’m saying?” In her role, Taylor is able to push the envelope freely. “I can take the brand out of their comfort zone,” she says. “I can take them outside of the box — that’s my real purpose here. It’s a big deal because this is going to be the first unisex line with men and women coming down this runway.”
That unisex style is one that Taylor has embraced since first bursting on to the scene at 15-years-old. “I was a skateboard girl wearing baggy clothes and I was in my bubble coats — all the things that could maybe cause someone to misjudge me,” she shares. “I don’t know how to walk in heels that well, I can’t walk in no pencil skirt. So I didn’t see somebody like me on a runway. Now I can do it my way.” The collection, which consists of several puffer coats, sheer dresses, bandanas, oversized flannels and bucket hats looks just like something you’d see Taylor rocking in her day-to-day. “As everyone knows I’m obsessed with the whole ’90s era,” she says. “Diddy, Mase, Mary — I appreciate that era so much. I appreciate the early ’00s as well.”
However, her biggest sources of inspiration aren’t the aforementioned celebrities. Instead, it’s her daughters Junie (5) and Rue (1). “They are the greatest form of genuine love,” Taylor expresses. “They’re my biggest fans. They don’t say, ‘Oh mommy, you wear sweatpants, you like a little boy.’ They say, ‘Oh mommy you look cute today, you look like a Teletubby.’ That’s what gets me going. I was always a strong person, but having my babies has made me unstoppable. I get my fearlessness from them.”
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That strength and fearlessness is something she tries to embody 24/7. “Them seeing me every single day being a strong woman is enough,” she says explaining how she sets the example for her tots. “I learned from my mother. She was single, working, she showed me strength. She taught me to work hard no matter what. She’s one of my biggest inspirations.”
Ultimately, Taylor hopes this collection will shatter gender barriers in fashion. “Just because I’m a female doesn’t mean that men can’t be in my stuff,” she says. “If you’ve followed my career, every sneaker I’ve ever dropped, everything I’ve ever dropped, always been for everybody, not just one gender. I hate the fact that it’s like boys wear blue and girls wear pink.”
Shop the entire collection now on the PrettyLittleThing website.