Hot Picks is a column in which fashion insiders reveal their latest obsessions–sharing their recent purchases and must-have pieces.
Kari Faux has had an impressive nine-year streak in the music industry. In her music, Faux is always experimenting with hip hop, pop, and R&B soundscapes. In terms of her style, she consistently goes against the grain. On a personal level, when she’s choosing clothes and accessories, she details that she picks up items that “exude confidence.” Through the years her relationship with fashion has shifted. On this notion, she shares: “I think the only thing that has changed is my awareness of fashion in a technical sense–understanding lines, silhouettes, different fabrics and textures.”
While meshing brands like Telfar and Vivienne Westwood to express herself, the artist often pulls from a myriad of eras that she feels have inspired her since her childhood and adolescent years to piece together her looks: the ‘70s, the ‘90s, and ‘00s. These seminal periods of time push her to lean into her true style persona. “In the ‘90s, so many Black women were emerging and leading music,” Kari shared. “There was so much variety in style, from the femme-tomboy balance in artists like Aaliyah and Queen Latifah.” She also mentions drawing inspiration from titans like Missy Elliot to this day and admires Lil’ Kim and Gangsta Boo for their enduring “hood sexiness.”
Born Kari Rose Johnson in Little Rock, Arkansas, the singer and rapper is a creative who grew up in the church (her mother was a minister). She always dreamed about moving to New York City. Aside from her metropolitan aspirations, she grew up performing and dancing at family functions. Kari believes she is a natural-born performer. As a child, she was drawn to films like Harriet The Spy. “[It] was my favorite movie when I was a kid because I was critical and observant of others and the world at large like Harriet was,” she shared. The costume design in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 also was something that stood out to her during her younger years. “It’s a true classic. The cast, the writing, the cinematography, and Uma Thurman’s iconic yellow set.”
Musically, Kari was guided by luminaries such as Erykah Badu and Santigold, particularly admiring the latter as a style icon. These talents combined with André 3000 were aspirational for Kari. Each of these artists’ penmanship and uniqueness pushed her to aspire to be an eccentric artist. In high school she continued creating music, it was a hobby that she never let lay stagnant. By 2016, she got her big break: a track that caught the attention of Childish Gambino which catapulted her into the blog era with, “No Small Talk.” That same year she released her debut album Lost En Los Angeles, an existential, lyrically strong, and succinct release. Since then, she’s continued to reveal refreshing music specific to her lived experiences: Primary, Cry 4 Help, Lowkey Superstar, and most recently REAL B*TCHES DON’T DIE. Each of these releases has made noise in their own right–they’re compelling compilations due to Kari’s ability to capture emotion enmeshed with improvised beats paired with excellent production.
Relocations to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Arkansas, and Houston have ensued and affected her sound in the past eight to nine years–but there’s been one constant: her sartorial selections have always been off-kilter, but true to Kari. At the moment, she’s on a nationwide tour. Performing on stage has given her yet another chance to express herself musically, but also style-wise. While touring she’s been exploring her relationship with fashion, which looks like buying pieces from Urban Outfitters, SSENSE, and also Elisa Johnson’s eponymous eyewear line. “I always keep an element of play with the clothes I wear,” Kari added.
On her personal style, she shares: “[It’s] playful, colorful, not too serious. I’m usually dressed like a cartoon character.” Pieces from Marni, Steve Madden, and other smaller brands like Ed Curtis often pop up on Kari’s Instagram feed. Further proving that for Kari Faux fashion will always be a colorful celebration that allows her to shape her own image.