It's not every 25-year-old who is deemed worthy enough to be counted among Rihanna's "favorite fans" by the pop star herself, but that's exactly what stylist Farren Fucci—a pseudonym combining his first name and Gucci—has done.
In fact, it was Rihanna who first DM'ed him four years ago in admiration of his looks, which she claimed to then steal directly from his page. For example, that now-iconic Hillary Clinton t-shirt that Rihanna wore once? Fucci posted it and then got on a plane to hand-deliver it to the pop star, who was photographed in it shortly thereafter. She repaid him by renting out an entire club just so they could get a drink together.
Fast-forward to today when Fucci doesn't have "time to play" on the shopping platform Polyvore, anymore, because he's too busy working. Born in California and raised in North Carolina, Fucci currently divides his time between New York and Atlanta and his clients now also include Bella Hadid, whom W once declared best dressed in one of his looks, as well as the actress Keke Palmer. Plus, he counts Zendaya and some other 65,000 others as Instagram followers under the handle @Karlie.Floss. His latest collaboration with Rihanna is a recent magazine cover featuring the singer in a futuristic but recognizable New York bodega. "The Paper cover was our first official collaboration but not our last," Fucci said in the days after the Fenty x Puma show during Paris Fashion Week.
So, how did Fucci go from his humble beginnings at an Apple tech support job to having an Instagram account that Rihanna uses as her personal mood board?
What were some of your first encounters with fashion growing up?
The women in my family were my first fashion icons. My mom and my grandma were serving looks before I even knew what looks were. I mean, my mom was the lady in the grocery store with heels on. I got free haircuts because she was always on point and looked good at all times. My grandma would go all out for Saturday services [the family belongs to a Seventh-day Adventist church] with the hats, dresses and suits. I would steal my mom’s magazines and post editorial photos all over my wall. I think at first my family just thought I was into the girls, but I was really obsessing over the clothes.
Your favorite article of clothing as a child:
I had this grey and green G-Unit sweatsuit that I adored. My grandma bought it for me when G-Unit was popping. It was definitely one of my faves.
You’ve had a difficult beginning to your career. Where did you start and how does it feel to finally be where you are now?
I wouldn’t say I had a difficult career start—more like a difficult life. All of this started out of pure boredom while working at my day job. This was a hobby for me and it was fun. I love fashion and never really looked at it from a career, until I noticed that people were really [into] what I was doing. I didn’t think everything would happen this fast. What I’m doing now feels like a dream because I thought it would take at least five years to get where I am today.
Rihanna calls you her “favorite fan.” When did you first get in contact with her and how? In what capacity have you worked with her since?
Rih followed me about 4 years ago on some funny s--t. My Twitter name was @paidho, or something like that at the time. We would kiki here and there. She DM’d me first saying that I was one of her favorite accounts which was great because I had been debating if I should slide in her DMs, but I didn’t want to seem presumptuous. Before, she would go on my page to see what’s in and check out the latest runway collections. There would be moments where I’d see her in certain pieces and I’m like, 'Did she see that on my page?' I finally got some sort of confirmation when I sent her some looks and she responded: 'Bruh, I just stole those from your page today.' That went on for some years and then I started doing my Polyvore looks. Since then, I started doing 'Special deliveRIH' where I’d send her clothes from upcoming designers.
What do you love most about Rihanna and what has she said to you that you’ll hold on to forever?
What I love the most about her is the fact that she’s so unfiltered. What you see is what you get. She’s very much herself at all times. She’s unapologetic. She always tells me to remain humble and stay true to myself. She makes me feel like I am enough and dope which is a great feeling for someone who did not always have the highest self-esteem and confidence.
Three words that describe your aesthetic:
Sexy, Confident, C---y. That’s what “hoesthetics” is about. I always want women to feel powerful and own their truth.
Styling mantras you live by:
”There’s no such thing as being overdressed, only best dressed.”
Rihanna, John Galliano, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Andre Leon Talley, and Edward Enninful.
Fashion pet peeve:
As stylists, you should never put more than one client in the same piece. I also believe that you should always wear the clothes, never let them wear you. Most importantly, I cannot stand criticism that isn’t constructive.
Your personal daily uniform:
Jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. I’m pretty simple when it comes to my personal style.
Drinking lots of water and minding my business keeps me unstressed and looking fresh-faced. A cucumber-melon mask helps, too.
Best recent discovery:
Leyna Bloom! She’s a trans model and one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I want to work with her a lot this year to see what kind of magic we can produce.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. It’s a book about self-love and awareness of the world.
Balenciaga presidential campaign bomber jacket.
Pieces you saw on the Fall 2017 runways that you can’t wait to get your hands on:
I can’t fairly answer that yet because I haven’t gotten a chance to look at all the collections. However, those sloughy knee-high glitter boots by Saint Laurent are to die for.
Something you would never wear:
Most prized possession(s) in your closet:
My thrifted red, white, and black motorcycle jacket by Joe Rocket.
Something you’re looking forward to wearing this spring:
I’m getting my hands on a few pairs of Y-3 sneakers. I’m really excited to wear those.
Designers you’re currently obsessed with:
K2O USA, Y/Project, Vetements, and Christopher Shannon.
I want to be an entrepreneur. I do not ever want to be placed in a box. I hope to grow into a modern Renaissance man.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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