KahnJunction: Billie Eilish and Her Timeless Style

Billie Eilish attends the Oscar after party with her brother
Billie Eilish continues to amass fans and top performance charts while cultivating a unique style and persona.
Credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Some styles are captivating yet alien capturing an unusual spirit of, simply put, oddity. The beloved Billie Eilish possesses one of these styles. 

 At 18, Eilish has rested comfortably at the top of most charts since her first release in 2016, an achievement known to few performers, even those who are more seasoned.  

At the most recent Grammy Awards, she took home five awards:  Best Album, Best Song, Best New Artist, Best Record, and Best Pop Vocal Album. Not only is Eilish talented, but she is stunningly original in almost everything that she does: her performances, fashion, and persona. This newfound success makes a deep dive into her fashion more timely than ever. 

Eilish’s fashion could be described simply as avant-garde athleisure. This athleisure spans from  tracksuits and beanies to plus-size button-ups making her look a subtle nod to the most notable of her inspirations:  90s East Coast Hip-Hop However, Eilish dresses with a purpose explaining to Seventeen, 

Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.

Much of what Eilish wears is not what can be described as conventionally flattering. As she said in her interview with Seventeen, what she wears is often designed to conceal rather than accentuate her figure; what draws looks is not her figure, but the simple fact that her style is different than what almost anyone else in the public eye is wearing.

Often, attempts by an artist to breach their barriers in favor of more experimentation is received with scoff from fans and foes alike leading many to believe that they are “trying too hard”. At the 2020 GRAMMY awards, Billie Eilish could have walked out wearing just about anything, and we would have all just nodded our heads, and gone, “Yea, looks about right.” When she rolled up in a Gucci, layered black and neon green ensemble featuring a Gucci facemask, nobody familiar with Eilish’s unique style batted an eye. Her attempts at going against fashion norms are expected and generally well received. 

Billie Eilish, however, is uninterested in her look being exclusive, prompting her to launch “Blohsh” (Blōhsh), her latest clothing line (geared towards children and young adults). Items from t Blohsh’s catalog mirrors the Eilish look: baggy, bright, and bold. Her merchandise falls comfortably into t “edgy”, a category for the sacrificial lambs at the cruel altar of Spencer’s or Hot Topic. Nonetheless, it is  a cut above the typical carnage of teenage wastelands. 

What will set Eilish apart from the rest? Her genuine spirit and charisma colors her work and, often, her attire. This, aided by her strong sense of individualism, she will continue to navigate the razor thin line between edge and cringe. 

But, her merch is not for everyone though. Her merch is weird. Everything in her collection is like something out of a low-grade-fever-dream, in that something in the design, right up to the brand’s logo, is always just slightly off. You may not even recognize it at first, but there is always something odd about the various pieces in her collection. Whether it is a design that looks like it was sketched by a child dabbling in hallucinogens, or the neon color that will jump out at people from across the street, the merch appears to be designed to be somewhat uncanny. This unsettling quality permeates through Eilish’s music, videos, album art, performances, and now, her brand. 

As we approach a time when music feels less diverse than ever, an artist breaking against the grain is refreshing. For her critics who claim she has fallen victim to the   “not like other girls” trope, I hope and believe that she proves them wrong and stands the test of time. An entire industry and fans would be eternally grateful. 

Benjamin Kahn is a staff writer for the UB Post. He writes a weekly column, KahnJunction. 

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