But thanks to her new clothing line, Aiko (and petite girls everywhere!) will have way more options to fit their super-small frames.
Jhené Aiko’s collaborations typically involve names like Drake, Childish Gambino, and Kendrick Lamar. But the R&B songstress is stepping into an entirely different industry for her latest joint venture: a breezy, bohemian-centric clothing line created in partnership with Neff and PacSun, called Soul of Summer.
“It’s just really me,” she told us over the phone earlier this week. “It’s all about my love for summer.” When the collection launches on June 26th, shoppers can definitely expect staples for the steamy temps ahead—think lounge-y, patterned tops and loose silhouettes. And the fact that Aiko opted for PacSun to house the collection is less than coincidental—she shops there a lot, she told us, thanks to their wide array of sizes. (She stands at just 5’2″.)
Here, the singer reveals her best shopping tips for petite girls everywhere, as well as why she surrounds herself with crystals on stage, and the one makeup item she simply can’t live without.
Have you always been interested in designing?
I’ve always been interested in finding stuff that I really like, and it’s always been harder for me because of my size—I’m so small, so it’s hard for me to find things that fit me. As I got older, I started liking looser things because it was easier for me to find things that fit. I guess I just developed more of an interest to actually be a part of the design, picking out the fabric and just being more involved. I never really considered myself a fashion person, but then I just realized that fashion is just another way of self expression and that’s pretty much what I’m most passionate about.
What’s the most frustrating part about shopping when you’re so petite?
Um, nothing can fit me! [laughs] I have to go to a tailor. I’m 5’2″ so everything is too long. I’ve always been small. I have a daughter and even when I was pregnant with her I was just in my regular clothes. But like I said, as I got older it wasn’t about tight-fitting clothes for me anymore—just comfort, and then also just what looks best. I find flowy [styles] to be complementary to my vibe. It’s also easier to find clothes when I’m looking for flowy things, but I always, always have to get them shortened because I’m so small.
Are there any good tips you’ve picked up over the years about shopping when you’re petite?
Well, number one: The tailor is your best friend! It is worth it to spend an extra $20 to get something hemmed so that it can be personalized to your size. And I’ll give this advice to any young lady: The tighter the better isn’t always the case. It’s okay to be lounge-y and to feel comfortable and to not feel like you can’t move in your clothes—that doesn’t equal sexy, it just means that you’re probably going to be uncomfortable throughout the night. Also for a small girl: Don’t be afraid to hit up the preteen section either! [laughs]
That’s a great tip. And it’s always less expensive too.
I’m 27 years old, but I know it fits me, so…
Does fashion intersect with your music at all?
With my career, everything I do is me. There’s no one that handles telling me what I should be about or how I should dress or anything. I’m hands on with absolutely everything. When I’m writing a song, I’m already thinking of the visual for the song and I’m already thinking of what I’m going to wear in that visual and what I’m going to wear when I perform. It all goes hand in hand. Everything I do is just me expressing different sides of myself.
There are a lot of New Age motifs in your collection—moon phases, lotuses.
I’ve always been very spiritual, since I was a very, very young child. The older I get, I’m reading more, I’m experiencing more, and so that’s all reflected in all of my music. All of my fans are pretty familiar with me and my beliefs. It’s all about connecting to yourself and sticking to your own spirituality. There’s a tank with the moon and a Buddha and that’s actually the back tattoo that I have. So that one is personal.
What’s the significance of that?
The moons are the moon phases from new moon to new moon and it’s also my brother who passed away—he was born on a new moon, and his sign is the sign of the moon; cancer is ruled by the moon. And Buddha is just someone that I’ve studied and I look up to and I see as a teacher and he has my back so I put him on my back. There is also a little 7, 7 with an infinity sign above the buddha and that’s also on the tank, and my brother’s birthday was July 7.
Are you into crystal healing too?
I am! I recently got all of these big gems and I travel with them and when I set up my staging for my show, we put all these gems around me and they all have their special properties. I just got my crystal bibles, so we try to study what each gem means.
A lot of celebs are expanding into these niche lifestyle brands, like Gwyneth Paltrow and goop. Do you think this is something you’d ever be interested in?
For sure. I like exposing my audience to different things, and I plan on doing that through my merch and through these collaborations. Connecting more with them through things that I’m interested in and that I like, and hopefully opening their minds if they, for example, may not have been into crystals before. I like when I meet my fans and they expose me to different things and they tell me about a book, or something cool. So yes, I think that in the future, I would love to do something more like a lifestyle brand.
Beyond fashion, what is the one makeup item you can’t live without?
My eyebrow pencil—it’s Anastasia Brow Wiz. I started plucking my eyebrows when I was a preteen, and so I’ve always struggled with trying to find my natural shape. Recently I started letting them grow out and just finding more of my natural shape, and the Brow Wiz has been my hero in all that because when you’re growing out your eyebrows you have those spaces that are a little slower to grow in and the Brow Wiz fills them right in. It keeps them natural, and I love it.