17/09/2015 10:24 BST | Updated 17/09/2015 10:59 BST

Paloma Faith On The 90s Trend Being Her 'Worst Nightmare' And Why Feminism Isn't Just A Women's Issue

Over the last few years, pop stars in underpants have become so ubiquitous on stage, you’d think they were part of a special BOGOF deal for female singers.

One person who won’t be wearing them anytime soon is singer Paloma Faith, who once said in a Stylist interview: “I celebrate my curves but don’t believe I have to sell my music by selling my body.”

paloma faith

The singer has always been on our style radar – and she’s a regular at London Fashion Week - but we’re also loving her strong feminist stance which has attracted the likes of UN Women, who will be involving her in their #HeForShe campaign.

“I think it’s important that we realise feminism isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a global issue for both genders,” she said talking to HuffPost UK Style. “I’m doing a radio show for them which is all about music that’s empowering for women.”

When asked about diversity on the catwalk ahead of our #LFW4All, she’s hopeful things are changing. She’s says there are designers such as Vivienne Westwood who have always championed diversity, and after seeing more Asian models in Armani shows, thinks it may be changing.

She also says people are also more aware of how they talk about models being thin. Skinny-shaming is not the done thing anymore.

“I think if you look at (models) like Cara Delevingne – okay, she’s thin but I’ve been out to eat with her and she eats like a pig. And I know she wasn’t sicking it up afterwards! It’s the ones that don’t eat who are worrying.”

paloma faith

Strong women have always been a part of Paloma’s life: she got her sense of style and presentation from her mother and aunts.

“My mum was a child of seven - five of them were girls and they were very close in age. They were a solid group of fashion fanatics: mildly competitive and also in allegiance with one another.”

“They talked about clothes a lot when I was young. My mum was always determined to dress me well – she comes from a lower working class background and it was in-built in her and her family to always be well presented.

“It wasn’t about status – my mum was always anti-branding because she was very left wing but it was more about saying you were well groomed and clean. Every night before school my mum would lay out my outfit. So I’d know what I was wearing before I went to bed and I didn’t go to a uniformed school.”

When Paloma entered her teens, she took charge of her own fashion, jumping from one sub culture to another every 10 months or so. “I was grungy, I was a yardie, hippie, a rude girl – all of them.”


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Paloma famously held a lot of jobs before landing fame including working as a singer in a burlesque club and a sales assistant at Agent Provocateur.

paloma faith red carpet

When asked if her many jobs impacted her style evolution, she said: “Everything influences your sense of style - it informs the person you’ve become. I’m not into burlesque style anymore - I’m in a 60’s early 70s phase now. I’ve always looked a bit back in times of style. I prefer themes that are classic and timeless.”

At the moment, she’s pushing towards contemporary mixed with a bit of nostalgia. Brigitte Bardot is a big influence on her look right now.

Interestingly, considering how intricate her outfits and look appear, she’s fairly low maintenance. Her stylist proclaims her as one of the easiest people to work with because once they decide on an outfit, she doesn’t change her mind. This is something she credits her mum with, harking back to her laid-out-outfit days.

She only uses a professional hair and makeup person if she’s doing television or a photoshoot but for everything else, she does it herself. It takes her 45 minutes.

“It would take other people two hours but I have patience and a ‘that’ll do’ attitude.”

She’s been doing a lot of 60s looks, so her beauty bag contains “a really great mascara from Benefit called They’re Real – it makes your eyelashes really Twiggy-like and you can layer it up.”

Lipstick favourites include Dragon Girl from Nars and Ruby Woo from MAC, and she only uses The Body Shop’s aloe vera skincare range as it’s “the only one I can put on my face without getting spots.”

paloma faith

One trend that she won’t be touching with a bargepole is the current resurgence of 90s fashion.

“It’s like my worst nightmare. I learned how not to dress because I was a teenager in the 90s. When I look back on pictures – every picture from the 90s looked terrible and people are recreating that as a trend as we speak.

“Terracotta lipstick is just not good, on any level. Or lipliner with lipgloss in the middle.”

When I mention we’re running a sustainable fashion month that aims to shine a spotlight on re-using clothes and buying clothes that last decades, she mentions her love of vintage clothing.

“There’s too much stuff in the world and we should reuse it. Recently I went to the Eden Project and I met the guy who opened it (Sir Tim Smit who co-founded it) who said people are under the impression that whatever damage is done to the world is irreparable but the world rejuvenates. He said we have a responsibility to change things now because nature is a very strong force.

“When going to a vintage shop you’re better off because you’re not tapping as much into the industry that could be damaging the environment. I also think that it’s unlikely some the stuff we buy now will last as long as pieces did in the past – they were better made.”

One of Paloma’s favourite pieces is her aunt’s Burberry mackintosh from the 70s. She prefers pieces that are timeless and says that buying vintage is a brilliant way of looking unique.

“Most of the fashion houses are working out of the same manufacturers and mindset so it’s all quite generic.”

Paloma Faith