In our highly visual, social media world, it’s understandable that many young music artists choose to outsource their every fashion choice to the stylists of the moment. There’s pressure to be seen in the right 'fit. Beabadoobee’s style, though, is all her own.
Oozing creativity and authenticity – just like the confessional bedroom pop songs and DIY aesthetic that made her famous and grew her Gen Z-heavy fanbase – the 21-year-old’s outfits draw heavily on the fashion of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. What exactly is it about that moment in fashion that appeals?
"It’s just the laid-backness of everything and the silhouettes. Fashion from then feels really timeless," says the London singer-songwriter, whose real name is Bea Kristi, when we catch up over video call. "Someone could wear it now and still look relevant and on trend. It's that timeless feel that I aim for with what I wear."
She also appreciates "the simplicity and the quality of the fabrics" of clothes from that time, and it’s this affection for timelessness and durability that makes her a superb choice as the face of Superdry's AW campaign alongside Brooklyn Beckham. The Original & Vintage collection is all about layering, comfort and looking good while doing good – its recycled fill outerwear collection is the biggest of any global brand.
In keeping with her vintage-inspired aesthetic, Bea’s favourite items from the campaign shoot are the tartan skirts and varsity jackets. Comfort is primarily what drives her style, she says – when we talk she’s dressed head to toe in her boyfriend’s baggy clothes – and when searching for the perfect autumn-winter coat, comfort and warmth are her non-negotiables.
Bea epitomises the Gen Z approach to dressing. "We’re trying less hard to look good and that’s always good," she says of her generation’s fashion choices.
Besides opting for items made from recycled materials and buying vintage, Bea ensures she shops with the planet in mind by borrowing clothes (from her dad as well as her boyfriend), buying designer items only rarely ("If I’m gonna buy something from a fancy label, I’ll do it once a month or something") and by scouring charity shops.
Bea grew up in Bayswater, west London, after her family left the Philippines when she was 3 years old. It was north of the Thames, however, where she found her style. "Camden was where I spent my teenage life. You could really express yourself with what you wore." If you’re among Bea's 1.2 million Instagram followers, you’ll have picked up on her penchant for baggy ripped jeans, chokers, hoodies and pre-loved knitwear (she's a huge fan of arm socks and skinny scarves).
This drive to express herself inspired Bea to start making music from her home in 2017, becoming one of the most exciting bedroom pop artists around when her first track, "Coffee", went viral virtually overnight. Since then, her music has become more guitar-driven, influenced by '90s alt-rock – just like her style. Her debut studio album, 2020’s Fake It Flowers, received critical acclaim.
Making a more 'polished' launch into the music industry never appealed to Bea. She always wanted to be genuine and authentic. "Especially coming into the business with no plan. I never really planned to be a musician, it just kind of fell onto my lap, so I had no guidance or no choice but to be myself."
Do her fans value her more as a result? Bea hopes that people appreciate her transparency. "I’m just like the people who listen to my music, we’re all so similar. At the end of the day, I’m still a 21-year-old girl living in London, I have the same problems as any other 21-year-old girl and arguably the same problems as teenagers."
One such dilemma is not wanting to feel uncomfortable or be sexualised for the clothes she wears while doing her job. Bea feels lucky to largely have autonomy over what she wears and knows that not all young female artists are in her position. She also says she’s been made to feel uncomfortable in other ways in the industry.
"There are a lot of things to fix in the industry," she admits. "[Like] constantly being sexualised in what I wear. Despite me wearing baggy jeans and a baggy jumper or a baggy T-shirt, I’m still sexualised and it just goes to show that it doesn't really matter what you wear, it's really just the men that are annoying."
Can she see herself sticking it out in the music industry? "I really wanted to be a nursery teacher, and I think that's still my plan," she reveals. "I do want to continue in music for as long as I can but the dream is to be a nursery teacher."
Having previously worked as a teaching assistant, Bea says she can envisage herself going back to it. "It's the idea that I get to guide them, I get to teach them and I get to be that person that they’ll remember when they grow up. I want to be there to see that happen. I just get along with them so well."
Bea’s affinity with children extends to her wardrobe, she admits. Her top tip for charity shopping? Head straight to the kids’ section. "The T-shirts fit so well," she insists.
Shop the Original & Vintage collection at Superdry's flagship store, Oxford Street, opening 10th November.