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Porter
Art of Style

The SS20 trend report starring Kilo Kish

Who better to explore SS20’s key styles than the effortlessly cool KILO KISH? The American musician and multidisciplinary artist tells MEGAN LOGUE how she’s wearing this season’s essential looks

Photography Lucas Flores PiranStyling Lilli Millhiser
Fashion

Kilo Kish (real name Lakisha Robinson), the LA-based musician, artist, filmmaker and designer – the list goes on – is the ultimate renaissance woman. Despite her critical and commercial success, Kish found her way into music later in life, admitting that while growing up her exposure was limited to “MTV and my parents’ record collection”. It was actually while she was studying textiles at New York’s illustrious Fashion Institute of Technology that she started collaborating with her friends and recording demos that soon took on a life of their own.

Kish calls the process “serendipitous”, remarking that she didn’t even have time to choose her own stage name – when things took off, @KiloKish was her Twitter handle and the moniker just stuck. “I got thrust into this world that I didn’t know anything about, but it was great because it allowed me to have a lot of creative freedom. My focus was, and still is, how I can make something interesting and new. As an artist, you’re always trying to get back to that place.”

In the eight years since she released her first EP, four more – including REDUX, released in December 2019 – and a studio album, Reflections in Real Time, have followed. Often labelled as “genre-defying”, Kish credits her distinctive and constantly evolving sound to the way she consumes music herself. “With streaming, you have access to almost every single song that has ever been recorded. If you want to listen to classical, R&B, rap or trap, you can.”

It was her decision to relocate from New York to Los Angeles in 2013 that Kish highlights as one of the most confronting and formative in her creative evolution. “LA can be a lonely city – it really prompted this process of growth. I started looking inwards and asking myself all sorts of questions; I got serious about what I actually wanted out of life. It was then that I stopped just playing with music and made an effort to really carve out my own space.” Fresh from a North American tour with emerging artist King Princess, the hyper-talented woman – and discerning dresser – chatted to PORTER about SS20’s biggest trends and how to style them…

Tropical prints

“Wearing prints head to toe, and opting for looser pieces, instantly makes them feel cooler. I’m also really into mixing crazy patterns – I love Hawaiian shirts! I studied textiles at college, so I’m used to being daring when it comes to combinations. There are no rules to getting it right, just have fun with it. I think the most important thing when you’re wearing prints is just to add an edge, whether it’s in the form of an oversized leather jacket or chunky grandad sandals – you don’t want to look like you’re on your way to a tea party.”

I’m used to being daring when it comes to combinations. There are no rules to getting it right, just have fun with it

SS20 power dressing

“I love suits; you don’t even have to think because it’s already a full look – you can just throw one on and go. I prefer to wear my mine oversized. Even though they’re quite masculine, I think they’re so sexy – it’s more about what you’re not showing. With fashion, the end goal is to look effortless, and that’s the kind of energy a great suit can give you. Of course, there’s also an element of uniformity to them. When I was touring my Reflections in Real Time record, I exclusively wore suits. I unearthed some amazing vintage pieces from my mom’s closet and wore them constantly.”

With fashion, the end goal is to look effortless, and that’s the kind of energy a great suit can give you

’90s minimalism

“This look is classic me. My everyday closet is pretty simple and ’90s-inspired – especially during the summer. That’s when my look gets super-streamlined and I almost take on a sort of preppy, Parisian style. I wear a lot of high-waisted jeans and simple tops. It’s very relaxed. I’m not precious when it comes to clothes, I just want to feel like myself. As an artist, the way you dress is a really strong part of your narrative – and so it can be fun to play with that – but when I’m at home creating or in the studio making music, I keep it simple.”

I wear a lot of high-waisted jeans and simple tops. It’s very relaxed… I just want to feel like myself

Head-to-toe color

“Maybe it’s just because I’m such a visual person, but I believe color has a huge effect on your mood. I’m so sensitive to it, I really feel like when you’re wearing bright colors you internalize the connotations that come with them. When it comes to accessories, I love playful evening bags, the kind that can only carry your phone and wallet – the essentials. I’m also a big fan of ’80s-style costume jewelry. There’s something so nostalgic about these multicolored earrings – they remind me of being a little kid and getting all dressed up in my mom’s jewelry.”

I really feel like when you’re wearing bright colors you internalize the connotations that come with them

Warm-weather leather

“I actually wear a lot of leather during the summer. I think a leather skirt or shorts – loose fitting, of course – paired with a simple tee is a really great look. I wouldn’t necessarily wear it to the beach, but when it comes to an evening look, leather is a go-to; it’s undeniably cool.”

When it comes to an evening look, leather is a go-to; it’s undeniably cool

Press play

From stage outfits and the red carpet to surprise birthday outings, watch Kilo Kish show off her enviably cool styling skills in our fashion challenge…

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