We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in our column “How I Shop.”
I’ve said it before on this very website, and I’ll say it again: Storm Reid is one of the most exciting presences on the red carpet, always making interesting choices with the pieces she wears and looking like she’s genuinely enjoying it.
Of course, there haven’t been many opportunities to dress up in the last eight months. But that hasn’t stopped the 17-year-old from sharing her looks — to attend virtual fashion shows, to graduate from high school, to work out at home — and spread positivity with everything she puts out into the world. That makes her particularly well-suited for Aerie‘s latest project, in honor of World Kindness Day (Nov. 13).
The brand is introducing a Kind Hotline — an actual number you can call to hear messages about kindness from Reid, Melissa Wood-Tepperberg and Jillian Mercado, as well as #AerieREAL Role Models Aly Raisman, Iskra Lawrence and more. It’ll be active from Nov. 13th through Dec. 25 at 1-844-KIND-365. As part of this campaign, Aerie also partnered with Feeding America, donating five meals (up to 500,000 meals) for every purchase made from Nov. 13 through Nov. 15 and 20 meals (up to one million meals) for every purchase made using the REAL Rewards credit card through Nov. 25.
“I’ve been a part of the Aerie family for a while now, but when this opportunity was presented to me, I said yes immediately,” Reid says. (She was part of the launch of OFFLINE, its latest brand-within-the-brand, this summer.) “I feel like the world is so divided right now — just the state of our country, it’s kind of all over the place, to say the least. To be able to be an advocate for the AerieREAL Kind hotline is so special. Aerie’s ongoing commitment is to sharing positivity, and I feel like that’s what mine is as well, whether that’s through my Bamazing initiative, my approach to social media or my approach to life. It’s just letting people know that they’re worthy of being seen and heard, that they’re perfectly imperfect and don’t have to conform, and that they belong in spaces, whether people tell them they belong or not.”
That thoughtfulness extends to her wardrobe, as well, especially when it comes to public appearances: Reid and longtime stylist Jason Bolden really consider the brands she’ll wear on a red carpet and partner with in the long term, to ensure that any company she’s aligning herself with not only supports her, but also her values. (In addition to Aerie, she’s worked with Miu Miu for years, even walking the brand’s Fall 2020 show during Paris Fashion Week back in March.) “I like to have fun, but stay within what we believe in,” she says.
Reid understands that what she does — and what she says, and how she dresses — can and does have an impact far beyond her own professional trajectory. Though she’d been a working actor for many years, this really set in for her when “A Wrinkle in Time” came out in 2018, she says: “I saw not only that was I an actress, but that I had a duty and a responsibility now to be a role model. Young girls would come up to me — and still continue to come up to me — and say, ‘Thank you for allowing me to see myself change the world.’ That really hits home for me, because I truly know now that there are people that are looking to me for inspiration, for hope, whether that’s in the projects I take on as an actress and a producer or in the things that I wear.”
“I know that people are looking,” she continues. “They’re looking for me and looking at me, sometimes for answers or sometimes just for a sense of comfortability within themselves. They’re looking for relatability, for inspiration and for support. As long as I can do that in whatever I’m doing — whether that’s me posing on red carpets in the things that I wear or the projects I’m a part of — I think it’s just way bigger than myself, and it’s [something] that I have to think about now. I have to continue to keep that image up continually. Of course, I’m not going to wear all the right things. I’m not going to say all the right things. I’m not going to do all the right things. But I think it’s important for me to stay on the path and on the side of right as much as possible.”
Ahead, Reid talks about her approach to fashion in both her professional and personal life, her collaboration with Bolden and her approach to brand partnerships.
“My style is ever-changing. It just depends on my mood, where I’m going, who I’m going to be around and what the weather is. I think most of the time, you’ll catch me in some really, really cool sneakers, because I’m a sneakerhead. It doesn’t really matter what I’m wearing, shirt-wise — it could just be a long shirt or a white tee, as long as my jeans and my sneakers are cool, most importantly, I feel pretty confident.
“I currently have over 65 boxes of sneakers in my room right now. Everybody knows that I love Nike and I’m a Nike girl, so when it comes to sneakers, I’m rocking Nike. Or, I love collaborations — my friend Jaden [Smith] just did one with New Balance. I try to dive into different sneakers, but I would say my favorite sneaker right now has to be the Air Jordan 1 Classic Retros.
“I think it was the beginning of quarantine, we had nowhere to go and I found a certain urge to buy ten pairs of sneakers off of Stadium Goods. I don’t know why. I don’t know how that jumped into my brain, but I bought ten pairs of sneakers. Thankfully, I have been able to wear them. Whether I’m going out with friends to eat or going out with my family to eat, I just throw on a cool pair of sneakers, because I don’t want to waste my money. I’m going to get my money’s worth.
“I have tons and tons of [Aerie’s] workout outfits. My supporters know that I’m really active, so I find myself in their workout gear, I think, more than three times a week. The leggings and the sports bras are so comforting. They keep everything tight, but they’re not too tight where you’re feeling uncomfortable. The brand is just incredible. Other than that, they have super-duper-duper-duper soft pajamas — I recently got their new line for Christmas, so I’m very excited to be rocking Aerie the whole season.”
“For me to browse in store, I have to be in the mood for it — I usually have to try on clothes, and sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. Even though I love fashion, you just don’t feel like taking all your clothes off and putting your phone in your purse and taking your shoes off. That’s a whole task in itself. But I do like to shop in store, as well as online. There are just certain things that I probably won’t buy online, like jeans. I try not to buy sneakers online. I try to put them on my feet to know that I can wear them. Shirts and workout outfits, I can get away with online.
“I love denim, so I love Reformation and Levi’s. Any sneaker store, I’m always in there. Then, I like to support Black business and my friends’ brands. My homie, he has a sweatshirt, kind of athleisure company. Demetrius Harmon has an incredible line of clothes that have a message behind them. I love to support small businesses and give new businesses a try, so that’s what I’ve been really doing over quarantine. Of course, I’ve been shopping online, but instead of shopping at my typical places, I’ve tried new ones, and that hasn’t failed me yet. I’m pretty excited to learn about these brands.
“I consult with my mom and my sister the most [when I shop.] But when it comes to sneakers, I consult my brother, because he loves sneakers as well. He’ll send me sneaker news apps and pictures of sneakers that he likes and that he thinks I would like. Those are my three go-to people. Then, of course, I like to shop with my friends — when the world was open, we would go to Melrose or Rodeo or to little shops and flea markets so we could find cool things.
“I’ve always liked to express myself through my fashion. Even when I was in middle school and had to wear uniforms, I made sure I would wear skirts and, of course, a collared shirt with long, funky socks and a really cool pair of sneakers, just to let people know that I’m in the building — yes, this is school, but I can still be fashionable. I think fashion’s about taking up space and making yourself feel as big or as small as you want.
“Jason has helped my style as well, as a young actress and a young businesswoman. He knows my sense of style, and he knows what I like to wear and what I don’t like to wear. Whether that’s for red carpet looks or [him] just sending me a pair of cool sneakers in my text messages, he knows that I like to be comfortable, but I also like to make a statement. I think that really goes into my professional wardrobe and my casual wardrobe.
“I’ve been working with Jason before ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ came out. It’s about building a relationship with him and his team — I work very closely with Jason, but with John [Mumblo] as well — getting to know each other and knowing that I’m willing to wear a lot of stuff and I’m willing to take risks. They also know what my comfort zone is, and they know that it’s important to me that the designers I wear align with who I am as a person. Not only can fashion be a statement — you can take up space and it can be pretty and frilly or whatever you want it to be — but it could also be a political statement. He understands that I don’t want to be involved with any designer that doesn’t match who I am as a person or doesn’t believe in me as a young actress. It’s way more than just being able to put on clothes: It’s really a relationship, and it’s a close relationship. It’s something that has to be, I think, tweaked and worked on as you grow as a person. That’s important, that I have those conversations with him.
“With Aerie and Miu Miu, these are brands that I’ve worked with for quite a while now, but also brands that truly believe in me and want to help me grow as a young woman in this industry and as a young woman coming up in the fashion landscape. I try to stick true to the brands that I truly know and I truly love. Anything that you see me in is something that I have loved for a really long time or something new that Jason has introduced me to but I’ve fallen in love with the creative teams behind them. I think it’s just that importance of staying true to myself, to what I believe in and to what I believe other people should think about when they’re putting on clothes or shoes or accessories.
“I’m always on the phone with [Bolden], always on FaceTime. I think what I love about him the most is he’s always just making sure that I’m comfortable. At this point, he knows what I like to wear. He knows what I’m comfortable in physically, but he just wants to make sure that mentally, yes, are you okay in this? Are you going to feel comfortable when you go to this event and pictures come out the next day? Are you going to be happy with that? That means a lot to me.
“Last year, at the People’s Choice Awards, I wore Iris van Herpen. She’s an incredible, insanely talented designer. I think that’s one of my favorite looks that I’ve been able to wear, because it was so elegant, but I was literally taking up space and making sure that my presence was seen and known — ‘Okay, yes, Storm is here. She’s in the building, and she didn’t come to play any games.’
“We’re usually always aligned. I have a great relationship with everyone over there, but there was a rainbow [Moschino] suit that I wore to the 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards. Before I tried it on, I was like, ‘I don’t know, Jason. I don’t know if I’m going to like that.’ But I ended up loving it. It was a risk — I knew it was going to be something that people would either love or not really love, but I didn’t really care, because I liked it and he liked it. I felt comfortable in it. It’s really the only thing I’ve worn where I was like, “I don’t know,” but as soon as I tried it on, he was like, ‘See? I told you you would like it.’
“I would say [Zendaya‘s] sense of style, whether that’s her street style and what she comes to set in or the things that her and [Law Roach] come up with for red carpet and magazine covers, I think is truly incredible and truly insane. She’s definitely a fashion inspiration and a fashion icon, in my opinion. I would say the same thing for Beyoncé and Rihanna. I think they’re such beautiful women, but their style really represents who they are. You can tell that they put a lot of effort into their style, for it to reflect who they are as women and who they are as people. If I could have Beyoncé style, Zendaya style, and Rihanna style all bottled up in one, I would buy that. I’d spend good money on that.
“Since we’ve been in the house for so long, I’m really looking forward to seeing what people wear [at parties and on the red carpet]. I think the first event where we’re all able to step out and it’s truly, truly safe, people are going to go above and beyond with their outfits — rightfully so. There are new designers that I can’t wait to try. And just taking beauty and fashion risks, I have a few things in mind. But of course, my top priority is just staying in the house as long as possible, or as long as it takes to get this virus under control.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.