Categorically praised fashion in the Black femme space finds a home beneath the admittedly vast umbrella of the “Insta-baddie aesthetic.” Pulling inspiration from streetwear, high-end labels and viral pieces, it is the satirical equivalent of a garden salad — customizable yet reliant on accepted core basics.
Enter JT, one half of rap duo City Girls and a self-proclaimed “hood b*tch dressed like a weirdo” as blared in her trenches homage, “No Bars.” JT, who was the face of Poster Girl’s AW23 and Spring/Summer 2024 campaigns, has been vocal in her decision to step outside of the box when it comes to her personal style, regularly donning obscurist fashions, artistically lined lips and shaved brows, to name a few.
Of particular note, though, is her Mowalola X Beats collaboration campaign in which JT modeled the wireless headphones with colorful feather hair and a rakishly cut fringe. The shoot sent Twitter into a tizzy, with many critics bashing the creative harvest. Others were invigorated by the launch, explaining that it was just what the advertising space needed: ingenuity.
In true JT fashion, though, the Florida native did not take the comments in anything akin to stride, clapping back at haters and mocking the simplistic stylings of many naysayers.
“Just cause I’m from where I’m from that don’t mean I need to be in motherf**king spandex and shark boots every motherf**king day,” the rapper said in an Instagram live response to the criticism.
Much like a garden salad, an instrumental component of the Insta-baddie aesthetic is replicability. People want looks they can easily access and recreate, something that is hard to do with enigmatic and creative stylings, which JT eloquently touched on later in her video, stating, “Y’all be wanting b*tches y’all can easily duplicate.”
And in an era where the word “gatekeeper,” is tinkering on the brink of a digital slur, it is interesting to see how feverishly people oppose stylistic endeavors that in any way challenge the status quo.
Black women are already held to a different standard in terms of desirability, and the conformities we take on in efforts to assimilate make taking “risks” when it comes to fashion and beauty a larger gamble. But, as illustrated by JT and her penchant for avant-garde vestiary and experimental makeup, embracing innovative silhouettes and boasting the “weirdo” title as a badge of honor can be wholly more liberating than copy-and-paste fashion.