Rashida Renée on Killing Nostalgia in 2022
Fashion archivist Rashida Renée, aka @howtobeafuckinglady, delivers Twitter takes so hot they singe. We spoke to the perpetually online writer, Barbie collector, and mood-board savant about her IRL influences and killing nostalgia in 2022.
TAYLORE SCARABELLI: I’m going to start from the beginning. How did you get into archival fashion?
RASHIDA RENÉE: Everyone around me has always been into fashion. I grew up in a beauty salon. My mom is a hairdresser, and her sister’s a hairdresser. They all wore really nice clothes. We have different tastes, though. My mom is into New York Fashion Week. She’s obsessed with Norma Kamali, Marc Jacobs, and Donna Karan.
SCARABELLI: Nineties stuff.
RENÉE: Yeah. And my granny is into what I call granny fashion, like Chanel and Saint Laurent. I also read a lot of magazines, all the Interviews from the 2000s, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vibe. But my first exposure to runway images were the pictures of Naomi and the girls from the ’90s.
SCARABELLI: When did you start collecting?
RENÉE: I’ve been seriously building an archive for the past eight years. I try to buy things from collections that are significant to me, or that move me in a way. I always wanted to buy the clothes that I saw on the cool girls when I was younger, like Versace.
SCARABELLI: What’s your favorite resale platform?
RENÉE: Depop, because you can put something on there for $800 and someone’s going to buy it.
SCARABELLI: What do you want to do with your archive?
RENÉE: It’s just for me. I don’t want anyone else wearing my clothes. I don’t wear most of it but I don’t shop at H&M.
SCARABELLI: Same. When I started working in the office, I was like, “I only have going-out clothes.”
RENÉE: I got really depressed three years ago, and someone off of Tumblr bought me a DVD set of The Nanny. Anytime I got bored I would find out what Fran Drescher was wearing and buy it off eBay. I bought all these skirt suits I never wear. In my mind I’m going to get an office job one day. I’m going to have a reason to wear a Moschino skirt suit that looks like a Christmas tree.
SCARABELLI: Amazing. She wore lots of Todd Oldham too, right?
RENÉE: Yeah. There’s clothes I don’t buy because I’m just waiting to be super rich, like Todd Oldham, Alaïa, and Patrick Kelly. Certain clothes hit harder when a man buys them for you. I know that it’s not feminist to say, but I don’t want to buy my own purses. I can see that being empowering for somebody else, but for me, those are gifts that your boyfriend buys you.
SCARABELLI: What is your favorite collection of all time?
RENÉE: Atelier Versace, Fall 1995. That took me out completely. Gianni had Prince do the music
for the show. He did a remix of “Pussy Control” and then he yelled out all the models’ names while they were walking the runway over some hip-hop beat. It was crazy.
SCARABELLI: If you could walk for any brand, who would it be?
RENÉE: Versace. Donatella, call me immediately.
SCARABELLI: Fuck, Marry, Kill: Rick Owens Kiss boots, Dior Saddle Bags, or Gaultier’s “Safe Sex Forever” top?
RENÉE: I’m gonna kill the Rick Owens boots. I love Rick Owens, I just don’t want to be grouped in with the people who are obsessed with him anymore. I’m going to marry the Dior Saddle Bag. I’ll never give that up, it’s literally my personality. And the Gaultier, I don’t wear the tops but I love that Gaultier is a main girl with the kids now. I guess I’ll fuck the Safe Sex tops.
SCARABELLI: What’s your holy grail piece?
RENÉE: I bought this Gianni Versace dress on TheRealReal for like $50. It was from the last ready-to-wear collection before he was murdered. Naomi wore it in the show. For some reason they had it listed as a skirt. It’s my favorite dress I’ve never worn.
SCARABELLI: What’s the hottest trend for 2022?
RENÉE: Everyone’s really into no-pressure Instagram posts, but I’m going to say it’s FaceApp. The girls have been abusing FaceApp like crazy. I find it very futuristic that everyone has the same face.
SCARABELLI: Who is the most unsung fashion icon?
RENÉE: Foxy Brown is such an important person in the culture. People compare her to Lil’ Kim in a way that irritates me. They came up at the same time, and they were wearing different things. Kim was very obvious with her looks and Inga [Foxy Brown] was way more into Chloé and Prada and Fendi instead of Versace and Dior. I got super into Stella McCartney–era Chloé— I bought all that shit up because of Foxy talking about it.
SCARABELLI: New York, London, Milan, or Paris?
RENÉE: It’s Milan. I can’t front on the Parisian girls. The looks are good, but the hair is bad. New York has everything look-wise and culture-wise. It’s very diverse. Everybody from the African diaspora is represented in New York in a very major way. They bring their own swag to it and I really appreciate that. So for street style it’s New York, but for fashion it’s Milan.
SCARABELLI: How did you get into collecting Barbies?
RENÉE: I’ve loved Barbies my entire life. My mom and both of my aunts collected dolls. When I was younger there would be certain dolls my mom would buy that she wouldn’t let me open. She was like, “This is for later, when you have your little girl.” When I got older, instead of going to therapy to heal my inner child I was like, “I’m just gonna buy my inner-child dolls.”
SCARABELLI: What’s your favorite Barbie?
RENÉE: Oh my god. I’m going to give you my top three. There was Perfume Pretty Barbie from the ’80s. When Jeremy Scott did that Moschino Barbie collection, he made the exact dress she wore. Then there’s Nigerian Barbie—I thought it was the most fabulous doll I had ever seen. Then there’s this Barbie from the late ’90s called Generation Girl. Her name was Nichelle and she had this pink outfit and an Afro. When I was younger I always thought cool girls had Afros.
SCARABELLI: What do you think about the hipster revival?
RENÉE: You know when it’s your era, your moment when you were really carrying and being your best “It”-girl self ? That was my too-cool era. I’m going to be honest, I was doing drugs. I don’t remember anything from ’09 until Beyoncé released her self-titled album. The fact that people are talking about early Tumblr stuff already—we have to put a stop to the cycle. I’m tired of people trying to sell me new things every five seconds based on something some girl in Idaho said on TikTok. Why do they want to go back to that?
SCARABELLI: My theory is that it’s appealing because you can be a sloppy, messy bitch. It doesn’t matter.
RENÉE: Remember Terry Richardson’s old blog on Tumblr? I remember feeling like, “Wow this is wrong.”
SCARABELLI: But we couldn’t stop looking.
RENÉE: It was just slutty Juergen Teller, which I love. But all of the harsh lighting was not flattering at all. Nostalgia is for times of war and political instability. I don’t want to be drinking from the nostalgia train every day. I want to be optimistic about something new.