It’s no surprise that Garrett Borns, better known by his stage name Børns, cites the late pop icon David Bowie as one of his primary sources of style inspiration. “He wasn’t afraid to go outside the box and do something no one else was doing,” the Los Angeles-based musician tells us from Prague, where he’s in the midst of a European tour. “It was like nostalgia meets futurism.” Looking to styles from the past—’70s glam, ’80s punk, ’90s grunge, and ’00s normcore—is big for Børns, who, in the two years since his debut EP, has made a name for himself as a quirky style maven. Like Bowie, he is un-self-conscious in his clothing choices, onstage and off: women’s blouses, bell-bottom jeans, and natty suits are all fair game. “I never want to be too vintage or wear a costume or anything like that,” he says. “I want it to be current. So it’s about mixing these inspirations.”

His instinctive ability to put a look together caught the eye of Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, who, after seeing Børns perform on television, invited him to Milan for the menswear shows earlier this year. With his rakish charm and long hair, Børns was a natural fit for Gucci, which of late has taken a retro turn. Michele minted him an unofficial brand ambassador, and the two consider each other muses and friends. “It’s a match made in heaven for me,” Børns says. “It’s a very similar kind of headspace—taking things that are antique and old and turning them contemporary.”

As he prepares to wind down his touring schedule this fall and enter the headspace of putting together a new album, he offers this bit of wisdom: “It’s more fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously.”