Rico Nasty is quickly becoming an artist whose known for her in-your-face music and style. She blends her array of influences, which include Tyler, The Creator and Rihanna, to give herself a look that’s incapable of being duplicated. The rapper works with New York-based stylist Haylee Ahumada, and together, they create ensembles straight out of a punk paradise. Rico Nasty recently embarked on an Australian tour, and she’s been hitting the stage in styles that we can’t get enough of.
ESSENCE caught up with Ahumada to learn more about how she styles Rico, the brands they’ve been working with, and more. Check out our chat below.
ESSENCE: You put Rico Nasty in a SS20 set from the Los Angeles-based brand, No Sesso. Can you tell us about that decision?
Ahumada: I absolutely love No Sesso! One of my priorities as a Hispanic woman of color in the industry is always to support other people of color as much as I can. No Sesso is one of those brands that I felt was a perfect match for the mood we were trying to achieve out here in Australia – super fun, colorful and sexy. The two-piece jacket/cut off shorts combo was just a decision that was almost automatic. It took us less than 5 minutes to agree and decide on that look being the first to set the tour off, and it was definitely the perfect decision.
ESSENCE: Rico Nasty has such a defined style relatively early in her career. She’s known for her punk influences – her style is grunge with fem flair. How do you manage to work within what she’s known for while pushing the envelope?
Ahumada: We all live for Rico’s grunge/punk looks. It’s super important for me to always make sure I’m including something that really defines who she is as an artist, in every look. Whether it be an accessory, [a] shoe choice, or some fun, outlandish nipple covers. Fashion is fun and experimental, just like her music, and both Rico and I want her style to be exactly that.
There will be times when Rico will want to go full grunge and I’ll throw in a crystal earring, or an interesting shoe just to catch the attention of everyone and show her versatility. There are also times where she’ll want to be super glam, and we might throw in a super chunky combat boot, or some Martine Ali chain jewelry on a straight off-the-runaway glam dress. For us, it always comes down to “how can we push the envelope with this?” What’s going to give it that “wow!’ factor? What’s going to make her stand out the way her music does?
Ahumada: The Tabi boot is such a classic statement piece for any fashion lover. When styling the House of Holland look, we wanted to add a shoe choice that would still add something interesting to the look, without taking away from the play on prints. The tabi boot is the perfect black boot that goes with everything and is still striking.
ESSENCE: The lime green ribbed dress has an unmistakably 90’s feel. Who designed it?
Ahumada: The ribbed green dress was made by the brand I Am Gia.
ESSENCE: What’s the process of styling Rico Nasty like?
Ahumada: The process when styling Rico is always thrilling.
We always try and determine what type of look we’re going for first. It could even be a feeling we’re trying to achieve through her outfit. Once we nail down what we’re going for, I look through different brands/look books and determine which looks [best fits] the mood we’re going for. I then send out requests for the looks via email directly to the designer [or] brand and wait for look approvals.
Once all the samples and shipments come in, the day of the shoot or show is usually a free for all. I lay out all the clothes in already paired together looks I see in my head, I prefer laying things out rather than hanging them on a rack – it helps both me and Rico better visualize what it will look like before she tries it on. Once we’re in the process of trying on looks, anything can happen. Things can completely change, more accessories come into play, or we decide to switch things out or get inspired to crop something or add a belt. It’s always very fun and go with the flow. We know we’ve achieved the final look when we both give each other that “B— yesssssss” look!!