It is undoubtedly the year of Ayo Edebiri. From a second-season Emmy nomination for her role as Sydney Adamu on Hulu’s culinary dramedy The Bear to her portrayal of Josie in the satirical coming-of-age teen comedy Bottoms, there was nary a red carpet, premiere or screen untouched by Edebiri’s presence, and I’d like to think we’re all the better for it.
Outside her fictional kitchen garbs, the 28-year-old star has been pulling off look after look with zero hesitation. A Thom Browne muse if we’ve ever seen one as the three-time CFDA men’s Designer of the Year award winner has been a major weapon in her sartorial arsenal. Brown has styled Edebiri for numerous shoots and premieres and even made a cameo at the end of The Bear‘s second season when series protagonist and head chef Carmy gifts Edebiri’s character a pair of embroidered Thom Browne Chef’s whites.
Perhaps one of the most solidifying moments of the pair’s relationship was Edebiri’s front-row placement at Brown’s first couture show. Seeing two powerhouse creatives share a first (Edebiri says the event was her first fashion show), offered an appreciated moment of connection in the pair’s vastly different career timelines.
Despite earning the metaphorical stamp whisk of approval from one of the biggest names in contemporary fashion, though, social media has not been as kind regarding Edebiri’s drapings.
On Twitter, her looks have been the source of scrutiny and ridicule, with some dubbing her style as indicative of a lack of Black friends, digitally banishing her to the outskirts of wrong-kind-of-Black-ville where previous residents include Beats-era-JT and anyone else with remote adjacency to the alt fashion space.
“Ayo is very pretty, but I need her to get some Black friends. I was always tryna figure out why she looks ‘like that.’ It’s cause her friends are white,” read one tweet.
Succinctly, Edebiri is far from the only Black woman to meet this fate, as these critiques come into play when any Black woman decides to step out of the pre-approved aesthetics boxes of how a Black woman “should” dress or present.
Presently, though, it nearly seems redundant to still have to explain that Black women, in any arena, are not a monolith. But when such conversations arise, it does give way to disillusions regarding how far we have (or have not, as current events suggest) come in divesting from stylistic stereotypes. This typecasting, no matter how eloquently worded, well-intentioned or perfectly sandwiched between buffer compliments, stifles creativity and places unseemingly limitations on one of the few creative vessels accessible to us.
Collective realization that expressions of style can and should vary from person to person. Yes, chef!