Billie Eilish ‘inspired’ by second-hand clothes rather than fashion trends

The Grammy-winning singer spoke about the importance of sustainable fashion at a climate-focused event, entitled Overheated, which she co-founded.

Naomi Clarke
Wednesday 30 August 2023 17:09 BST
Billie Eilish (Doug Peters/PA)
Billie Eilish (Doug Peters/PA) (PA Wire)

Billie Eilish has said she enjoys the freedom of feeling “naturally inspired” when shopping for second-hand clothes instead of being influenced by fashion trends.

The Grammy Award-winning singer, 21, spoke to her mother and campaigner Maggie Baird about sustainable fashion at a climate-focused event entitled Overheated, held at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace in London on Wednesday.

Eilish, who co-founded the event which launched last summer, is known for her bold style which often includes oversized streetwear pieces.

It comes as the singer is the latest artist to be presented with a Brit Billion award, which marks her achieving one billion UK streams.

Speaking at the event about second-hand clothes shopping, known as thrifting in the US, she said: “The thing with stores that are making new stuff, they’re making it to be specifically for this kind of style.

“This is the trendy thing so I’m going to put this in front of you and you’re going to be like, ‘Oh, that’s trendy, I’m going to wear that’ which is totally fine.

“What I like about the freedom of thrifting is that nobody’s telling you ‘Here’s the section that’s the girly and here’s the section that’s boyish and here’s the section that is fancy and here’s a section that’s casual’. It’s just all there and so it’s up to you to decide whatever you want to decide.

“I get really bothered when things are forced upon me and I like the freedom of just being inspired because I’m naturally inspired.

“I think sometimes you get caught up in the world of ‘What are people going to think?’ or ‘Is this going to look cool?’ and ‘Would so and so like this’.

“And at a certain point, at least for me, I’ve definitely hit a wall of like ‘Oh, actually, I don’t even like this’. So what’s the point of that.

“You want to do and be and wear the things that make you feel good about who you are and feel like they work for you.”

Her mother revealed that Eilish and her producer brother Finneas grew up on hand-me-down clothing and pieces bought from second-hand outlets.

Baird also noted how her daughter took this practice into her music career, recalling when Eilish once selected her whole wardrobe for an upcoming Australia tour from three thrift stores in two hours.

Reflecting on her experience of working with brands, Eilish said: “I get given clothes and brands give me clothes and sometimes people post outfits that I’ve worn and they’re like ‘Billie is wearing this brand and it’s this much money’.

“It’s just crazy to me. I don’t shop like that, I only thrift or do little vintage shops.”

The singer said she is someone who will continuously re-wear items of clothing but understands that sometimes people can feel “insecure” about doing this when in the public eye.

“I think that you should really wear your clothes because they’re cute. You like them, that’s why you bought them. You have a washing machine, you can wash them,” she added.

The event was hosted by the BBC’s Abbie McCarthy and held panel discussions on climate change by climate activists, musicians and other leading voices in partnership with the plant-based food organisation Support + Feed.

On Wednesday, it was also announced that Eilish has surpassed the milestone of one billion streams in the UK, as calculated by the Official Charts Company.

The singer, who headlined Reading and Leeds last weekend, has seen her Grammy Award-winning single Bad Guy reach more than 300 million streams alone, with six other tracks crossing the 100 million mark.

Other recipients of the award include Lana Del Rey, Queen, Becky Hill, and Olivia Rodrigo.

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