Exclusive Interview

Dove Cameron Is Still Learning To Express Herself Through Fashion

“When you're in the public eye, it feels like you would be f*cking things up for people if you did anything differently than what's expected.”

Dove Cameron for Savage X Fenty
Savage X Fenty

Forget her time as a young actor on family-friendly television, Dove Cameron is carving out a new identity for herself. The “Boyfriend” singer has become a queer icon and fashion star (I mean, that Iris Van Herpen dress at the Met Gala?!) over the past few years, and as Savage X Fenty’s new brand ambassador, this only adds to her growing list of accolades.

Bustle spoke with the singer about the new loungewear campaign and she had nothing but love and excitement for the brand, noting that she wouldn’t align herself with a brand that did not align with her.

“I hope it makes you feel like your truest, and your most expressed, and your most comfortable, and capable, and badass empowered self. I think that's what clothing should do for us. I very much feel aligned with Savage X Fenty in the sense that I think we share those values,” Cameron said.

Ahead, she shared her thoughts on identity, sexuality, fashion, and more.

As a queer artist, how does Savage X Fenty resonate with you?

Their ethos has always been about self expression, inclusivity, boldness, ferocity, and a full scope of human expression. Ever since they came straight out the gate, I've felt very resonant with the brand. I think a lot of people do, because it is all about pushing the boundaries of human expression and feeling your most comfortable, most expressed, and most yourself. So as a queer artist and as a human being, I feel super represented by the brand. I wouldn't want to work with a brand that I felt didn't fully get my experience.

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Lounge wear is often genderless or unisex. Does that resonate with you?

As I unpack my identity more — and I redefine it every other day — I step into the fullness of who I am every day. I tend to gravitate more towards things that make me feel at the intersection of masculine and feminine. It's not that I never ever dress fully femme or I never ever want to dress fully masc — it's just that the things I mostly gravitate towards and feel my strongest and most self expressed in are a combination of the two, and also sometimes both and neither. There's kind of an in-between, where it's not really anything, and that's sometimes where I feel the most myself.

Loungewear is a great opportunity for representation for anyone and everyone, and people that feel represented by both and neither. I think loungewear is that intersection between any sort of expression, and so therefore is the most inclusive. This collection in particular — seeing it on different people, different identities, different bodies, different expressions, and it translates. It translates on everyone. I feel my most safe to express whatever that means to me in collections like this.

What's really unique about this collection is that it's not just oversized, baggy, neutrals that usually make up genderless or unisex fashion. It really hits the intersection between masculine and feminine with colors and crop tops, fitted silhouettes, baggy silhouettes — you have the option to express what your gender means to you.

There's so much joy and levity in these clothes because of the work that went into constructing something that everybody would feel expressed in. That speaks as someone who is queer and does find myself gravitating towards all kinds of modes of expression, I feel very represented by the brand.

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Who would you say are your style icons?

I love FKA Twigs. I love Bjork. I love David Bowie. A lot of my favorite looks are of an amorphous, early ‘90s male, upscale fit — back to when we had all of the early ‘90s male heart throbs in little two-piece suit coats, that's my dream. If I could be a ‘90s male heartthrob, I think all my problems would be solved. A lot of my more dramatic masc femme favorites come from Freddie Mercury.

I'm still learning to grant myself permission to express in ways that don't feel commercial or that wouldn't be understood by everyone, because I started out with a very sterile platform. When you're in the public eye, it feels like you would be fucking things up for people if you did anything differently than what's expected. I'm still trying to unlearn the self-hatred that allows me to express in ways that feel risky. I'm doing that kind of untethering work right now, because self-expression is so much of being alive.

How do you express your gender and sexuality through fashion?

I probably feel most myself when I look about 10 feet tall — like, Jack Skellington drag. I need to feel a little bit tall, creepy, thin man. My ideal gender expression is Slender Man. I like to feel very — like a shadow almost.

It's taken me so long to realize I really don't feel comfortable in a dress. I feel more myself when I have bleached eyebrows, when I'm covered in tattoos. Things that make me feel like I'm reclaiming myself in a way that some people might disagree with. Sometimes I make those choices on purpose just to remind myself I have the freedom to do it.

What would you say is a current trend that you're ready to see retired?

I feel like more so than ever I'm noticing trends that I really love. I love the weird toes on the Tabi Boots. That really makes my heart sing. I love these super excessively-beaded balaclavas or balaclavas with ears. I've fallen out of love with unbelievably bright jewel tones, but I feel like I was never really the audience for it.

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