Phoebe Robinson knows her way around a look. Since Robinson broke onto the scene with creations like Two Dope Queens and Sooo Many White Guys, the comedian, actor, and author has always understood the assignment, whether it’s a late night show, a book cover, or being a podcast icon.
But where does Robinson get all her fashion inspiration, and how has she crafted her personal style with an eye toward ethical, sustainable lines in a way that helps support small makers out in the world? With her new TV show, Everything’s Trash, airing now on Freeform, Robinson sat down with Byrdie to talk about some of her absolute favorite BIPOC-owned brands.
“I always wear head wraps. I feel like maybe I saw Igeoma Oluo, who's an author, wearing these, and then I saw a couple people that I knew wearing them, too. I was like, 'okay, cool.' Then when I set up my production company, in Brooklyn in Sunset Park, The Wrap Life has a store there, so it was kind of fate.
I really like their stuff because you can always just throw something on and feel really cool. You can feel like Erykah Badu, even though you don't have as much talent as her. It's colorful and fun.
Their stuff is really soft. They also have ones that are sort of ribbed, so it gives you that little bit of extra bit of detailing. You're riding around New York, you're doing errands, or you're popping on Zoom, and you look put together without looking like, “I put all this effort in and I'm trying so hard.” It’s just a natural, effortlessly cool wrap.
I really love supporting black owned businesses, too, and so I've included their products in promotional boxes for the show and for books I've written.”
I've been a big fan of her work for years. I started buying stuff from her in 2016. I like jewelry, but I don't always really like a lot of it, or if I do, I like simple rings like this.
What I really liked about her stuff is that it’s really fun, and because it’s gold it pops against your skin. You also feel kind of like a badass because you're representing for the culture, too.
With her craftsmanship, you can just tell the love and care and attention that goes into her stuff. I always appreciate that. Everything that she makes is high quality and she works so hard and I'm a major fan.”
“When I started doing photo shoots and stuff, my stylist Ryan Young would be like,“Oh, this is from Lorraine West,' and I’d just think, 'Oh my god.'
I'm not necessarily a flashy jewelry person, so I really like how clean her designs are. They still have a lot of personality, obviously, because she has people like Beyoncé wearing them. It's not like her stuff is boring as hell—It's really cool—but it feels timeless. A pair of earrings that I have from her, I'm going to keep forever because they’re always going to look good.
And you know I'm a hoop girl, and she's got some great hoops. I just throw those on and feel my most fierce self.”
“I'm a person who, if I can wear a sneaker or a platform, I'll go for that, but I really like Malone because I feel like I can wear their shoes and they're not painfully uncomfortable. I can just be bopping around in them.
I wear a lot of Malone stuff for press. When I guess hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live! last year, I wore these super cute pink Malone shoes, and I kept them because that was such an achievement for me. I really felt super cool.
Their shoes are surprisingly comfortable for someone who's not a heel person all the way, and I also think they have really cool designs with a lot of personality without being too much. It's something you want to wear again. Sometimes, because they’re heels, I’ll be like 'These are cool, but I only want to wear these once,' but with Malone, I want to wear those again.”
"As someone who's really into fashion and loves playing with different looks, I always want to find things that feel real to me and feel like conversation starters, but still aren’t anything crazy. Octave makes me feel special and unique. I'm always on the hunt for new stuff, and to [my stylist] Ryan's credit, he's always introducing me to new things like Octave.
I love the shape of their earrings, especially. They have cool geometric shapes and they play with color in a way that's interesting. The color combinations always feel really fresh and current.”
“One of my first favorite substantial purchases was from Johnny Nelson. He makes these really cool knuckle rings, and I just love them so much. I wore them for a photoshoot and I was like, “Ryan, I really like this. Can I just…” He was like, “Okay, I'm just going to show you the price,” and I was like “It’s worth it.”
It’s the Let Freedom Ring 4-Finger Ring, and I got it in gold. It's so badass. It's MLK, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and Frederick Douglass, and I bought two of them. They're gorgeous and stunning, and I have them set up in a cute little jewelry box in my closet. When I walk into it every day, I look at them and go, 'Yes.' I break it out for very rare occasions.”
“I am always trying to find different jewelers that have a unique, special look. I love a lot of White/Space’s rings, and I’ve worn a few during this current press run. They’re really fun and beautiful.
I love the delicate nature and the preciousness of them. It makes you really want to take care of them. If I put a White/Space piece on, I feel a little bit more like a lady. It's really nice to have that moment too because usually my go to is big ol’ hoops, so it's nice to switch it up and have more of a delicate hoop or ring with just one diamond in it. It’s a touch of elegance that takes it over the top.”
“Every time I have a press run, I always end up discovering a new designer and Almasika is one that I love that Ryan introduced me to.
I was like, 'Okay, this stuff is very expensive, so I can't lose it and I can't scratch it up.' As soon as I would get off of something like Kimmel, I'd take the ring off and put it back.
I love a lot of gold jewelry. I can always do like rose gold or silver, but classic gold is generally what I like the most. Almasika’s pieces always feel very statement, like you're going to notice them and you're going to be like, 'Okay, I want that in my collection.'
I'm going to save up and get one of their necklaces. I only wore their rings and earrings, but I want get one of their necklaces because I think their necklaces are stunning and I feel like it would be like, 'Okay, I'm only going to wear this necklace for a very important event,' but it'd be something beautiful to have in my possession.”
“Sabrina Rowe is my hairstylist, and this is her company that she started during COVID.
It's just so great. I am a 4C girl—that's what my hair is—and we need a lot of attention. A lot of loving, a lot of moisturizing, and I'm obsessed with her conditioner. I'll do a deep condition for 30 minutes and let it sit on my hair and it's so good. I also love the soothing scalp shampoo because it tingles a little bit and you can smell the green tea and the aloe and all that stuff.
Her products are made with such love and so much care. I really am a fan of all her stuff. She has hair oils, she has body lotion, she has lip balm. She has a lot of great products.
When she was creating everything, she'd be like, 'Here's a small thing I'm trying with this formula. Can you try it out?' Of course I was like, 'Okay,' and my hair just got so soft. I really did panic because I think a lot of lines can dry my hair out and I was like, 'How did she figure out how to keep my hair moisturized?' That's when I was like, 'Okay, I'm a believer.' Now, I buy her stuff for my mom and my other girlfriends.”
“There's so much artistry and creativity that I really love in his clothes.
I really tried to get his Target stuff, and everything was gone. I was so sad. I was trying so hard. I texted a friend like, “Are there any available by you?” I lost out on that.
I really like that there's a personality to his stuff. It's playful, but you can obviously tell that he is a fan of fashion and he really wants to push things forward. I love the silhouettes, too. I love a good silhouette. He can do oversized, but not make it look messy.
I like patterns and prints a lot, and he plays with that in a way that I always think is really cool, too. There's an intelligence behind his line and his brand and I think he’s really just doing some amazing shit right now.”
“My incredible publicist Sam [Srinivasan] gifted me my first Telfar bar a couple of years ago. It’s a cute little crossbody, which I love for bopping around New York. It goes with everything. It's clean. That's the thing: Telfar is like the opposite of Christopher John Ross. That’s patterns and color everywhere, whereas this is just clean, minimalist design, which I also really appreciate.”