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Nina Nesbitt On Syncing Her Music With Her Look, The Comeback Of Hoop Earrings, And Her Love Of Dressing Gowns
The Debrief: 'Now that I've grown up, I've realised that it's alright to feel powerful and attractive. It's your prerogative as a woman to dress however you want.'
She was only 17 when Ed Sheeran invited her to support him on his music tour after she met him at a gig. Now, Nina Nesbitt is releasing her second album and racking up an impressive fan base in the process, and has even starred in the I AM Nina Nesbitt show with River Island on 4Music.
Having grown 'up on folk, acoustic and pop music', Nina tells us that when she was younger, she was 'obsessed with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Britney, Madonna, Christina Aguilera - basically all of the proper female pop divas.' She also credits the rebellious punk-rock style icon Debbie Harry and Stevie Nicks - who she dubbs as 'really cool, independent women who write their own music' - for influencing her style. 'I resonated with [Debbie's music and fashion style] because it wasn’t just girly, it was more punk, and it had more of an edge and an attitude.'
So, it was no surprise to us when Nina told us that she believes 'fashion and music go hand-in-hand: it's so important to build your own brand, as your image is just as important as your music - [artists like] Lana Del Ray have really shown that. I wouldn't have the balls to do a Lady Gaga style, but I love that people can express themselves through fashion.'
When Nina first broke onto the music scene back in 2011, her style was very different to what it is now. She admits that her look was definitely out of sync with her music: 'I was wearing leather studded jackets, but I was playing acoustic folk music, so it was quite a weird mix. People must have looked at me and thought, "she must be in a rock band". So for my second album, I've definitely made a conscious effort for everything to be really cohesive.'
When it comes to her current image, which is feminine but full of attitude, it's much more in-line with her songs: 'I try to create a style that reflects my music. So I would say it’s definitely got some '90s elements, some pop elements that are a bit more feminine, and then more indie, androdgynous elements.' It only takes one look at her Instagram to see that she's keen to experiment with clashing prints, bold colours, shaggy oversized coats and 'boyfriend styles'.
But she wasn't always this experimental and confident with her sense of style. Nina admits that when she was starting off in the industry - at the mere age of 17 - she was 'very against wearing anything sexy - I thought people would judge my music or judge me. But I think as you grow up, you realise that actually, if you want to dress sexy there's nothing wrong with that - it's your prerogative as a woman to dress however you want. Now that I've grown up, I've realised that it's alright to feel powerful and attractive. You don't have to dress yourself down.'
Something Nina has experienced herself - and I'm sure many other singers in the music industry have too - is the notion that women, more so than men, must uphold a certain aesthetic. Nina states 'there is more pressure on us [women] to have a 'look', especially when you're trying to establish yourself [in the industry]. But, I think that as long as you have a distinct voice and personality, you can kind of dress how you want.' Telling me about a moment when she tossed fashion expectations to the side, Nina recalled a time when she was filming for a music video and was supposed to wear heels: 'I was having a movement lesson, and the teacher said "you walk like you need a shit - just wear flats. If you feel more comfortable in them, you're going to look better,"' so she ditched them. Good move.
Other things Nina feels most comfortable in are: tracksuits, as she doesn't 'make an effort at home; [she] only really gets dressed up for things like TV shoots or going out with friends'; dressing gowns, which she swears she would live in for the rest of her life if she could (ditto); and hoop earrings. For autumn/winter '17, she's keen to experiment with train driver hats, which she once thought of as 'really horrible', but is now 'warming to the idea of them'. Just before we part, Nina tells me: 'fashion styles, like music, always come back around. So, go with the trends, but just make the best of what you have and put your own stamp on them.' Noted...
Be just as bold with your fashion choices by shopping the new autumn/winter collection at River Island. Plus, to be in the chance of winning a £1,000 voucher from River Island, enter our competition here!
Keen to look on-trend and individual this AW/17, but not sure how? Send your styling questions into firstname.lastname@example.org and it might get answered during our Instagram stories with The Debrief's Fashion & Beauty Editor Lucy and River Island on 27th November 2017. Be sure to tune in!
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