Playboi Carti was voted best dressed in high school, and years later the rapper still lives up to the title as he is arguably one of hip-hop’s leading style icons.
In 2011, Playboi Carti (who at the time went by ‘$ir Cartier’) wore mostly tie-dye, snapbacks, bold graphics and bright colours. Carti had a deep adoration for the rap collective Odd Future, who played a core influence in shaping the direction of his early style. Carti’s attire in his 2012 music video for “$TEEZE” evidently reflects a young Tyler, the Creator.
In 2014, Carti began gaining traction in the Atlanta music scene. With little funding, Carti continued creating his homemade music videos where he would dress in mostly skinny jeans and sports jerseys, with the occasional streetwear piece. It was around this time Carti started on his deep passion for all-things streetwear.
Carti posted a fit pic on social media in 2015 wearing a rare Supreme piece which caught the eye of Ian Connor. Connor adored Carti’s style, and later the two built a friendship over their shared love for streetwear and being from Atlanta. Connor promoted Carti’s music on his social media and connected him to A$AP Mob – this is when Carti’s career and style hit a major turning point.
In 2016, Carti fell in love with Supreme and would wear the brand almost every day. Due to Supreme’s relevance during this era, Carti began popping off on social media due to his significant and fresh ‘fits.
Carti was selected as an XXL freshman and dropped his self-titled mixtape in 2017. With more eyes on him than ever before, Carti began wearing high-end brands to amplify his style. Raf Simons was an obvious favourite of his, and later that year Carti was featured on the still-legendary A$AP Mob single “RAF”.
Carti walked the runway at Virgil Abloh 2017 debut show for Louis Vuitton. Many notable names and eyes were on this highly anticipated show, thus many of these were on Carti as he strutted down the runway in a Louis Vuitton silver poncho, brick pants while holding the Prism Monochrome bag. Carti’s name was now relevant in the fashion world and not just music.
Whole Lotta Red was being teased in 2019, and in correspondence to any of his previous albums, Carti’s aesthetic began to change. Heading in a more dark and gloomy direction, Carti began wearing horns, fangs, dark makeup and almost exclusively Rick Owens and Raf Simons.
A year passed, and fans still awaited the drop of WLR. During the leadup, Carti dyed his hair red and did a GQ photoshoot which previewed his new dark, punk-rock style. The series of photographs built upon the rumour that Carti may be a vampire in real life – “Vamp Anthem” later alluded towards this rumour.
Today fans are stunned by Carti’s new aesthetic. At the Donda 2 listening party, amongst a group of significant rappers dressed in all-black, Carti performed in a groundbreaking look – extravagant makeup, a fishnet top, and a vibrant fur jacket. Carti’s new look immediately turned into an internet meme for his attire resembling WWE fighter Jeff Hardy.
As Carti’s style has been seen to change in correspondence with his albums, the possibility of a new Carti album is in the talks. Any of his previous Instagram posts were taken down, and now his page currently hosts only two photographs debuting Carti’s new punk rock style.
Carti cult following isn’t just for his music, but his style, as many of his fans love the artist for his innovative attires. Carti understands his proportions, colour palettes, trends and how to properly style himself.
At the end of the day, Carti’s style is not about owning the most exclusive, high-end pieces in fashion, but about how he chooses to piece together his looks. And like his 2012 anthem “$TEEZE”, Carti captures just that, as his look is not considered style, but his own personal steeze.
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