With the lead-up to and release of his sophomore solo album, Set It Off, Offset is paying homage to his biggest inspiration, Michael Jackson. From his red carpet looks to the video for the single “Fan” — in which Offset sports looks that call back to such M.J. hits as “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” — the rap star and streetwear-meets-high-fashion trendsetter is looking to make his own “long-lasting” impression, he tells THR, by channeling the King of Pop’s legendary fashion through his own unique style.
“When I say ‘set it off,’ I mean blowing shit up — my career, the songs, the energy, the vibe, and creatively taking it to the next level where nobody has seen,” says Offset of his new album.
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While the album’s cover shows the former Migos rapper, 31, dressed as Jackson during his “Billie Jean” era, the promotional cycle leading up to its Oct. 13 release found Offset wearing M.J.-inspired looks co-designed with Tremaine Emory, founder of streetwear label Denim Tears (who recently exited his post as creative director of Supreme). Offset, who grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, recently released a Set It Off capsule collection with Emory, Offset Tears. Offset’s favorite piece is an all-black hoodie featuring Denim Tears’ signature wreaths rearranged into five fiery Olympic-like rings.
“I want to influence the next generation to express themselves through clothing because it’s such a free space,” says Offset, who directed both the “Fan” video as well as the one for his single “Jealousy,” which features his wife, Cardi B, and includes narration by Jamie Lee Curtis.
He spoke to THR about his style icons and what he has his eye on from the latest Paris Fashion Week.
What advice would you give someone who isn’t as confident in expressing their tastes?
I would say, “Be free, man. Do what you believe in because there’s no perfect or certain way that you do anything.” Being fresh and fashionable has always been part of my life since my childhood. In middle school and high school, me and my friends would wear each other’s clothes. If I had the shirt that you ain’t got, you had the pants I didn’t have, we’d swap it out.
Can you remember an item your friends had that you wanted?
When I first moved to my school [at 13], my close friend gave me his Bo Jacksons [sneakers]. I was new to the school, and I didn’t have no clothes or shoes. My mom had spent all the bread to move us over there [from Clayton County to Gwinnett County, both suburbs of Atlanta], and I met one of my right-hand men, who is actually in the car with me right now, without me having to really ask. He looked out for me.
What inspired you to emulate Michael Jackson’s style?
If you research Mike, his whole thing was becoming better as an artist, as an entertainer, as a filmmaker, as a fashion guy. I felt like there were a lot of things relating to him and me through going solo. He was with Motown. I’m with Motown. Also, that’s my favorite artist in the world.
Is he also your top style icon?
Definitely. And André 3000 because, at the time, André 3000 wore baggy clothes, like jerseys. He went totally left and stood his ground in what he believed in. In the beginning, people didn’t get it, but now he’s an icon.
What is your wardrobe staple during the fall?
My belt that I custom made, inspired by Mike but in its own way. It has the album title, Set It Off, written all across it in real silver, so it’s a heavy belt. It’s fire. It don’t fit in belt loops, so I throw it over the loops. That’s been my signature.
How does your day-to-day style differ from outfits for the red carpet or on tour?
It doesn’t, actually. I make sure I walk out of the house looking like I’m hitting the carpet because I feel like I’m just not being myself if I don’t do that. I don’t care if I’m going to Target.
Let’s say you’re getting ready to go to Target. What outfit would you put together?
My AP is an everyday piece — my Audemars [Piguet watch]. I would put on my Denim Tears hoodie. I got my big diamond earrings. Those are my signatures. And I put dread clips in my hair — three twist clips — as a style.
Do you have a go-to self-care product?
I put on coconut oil because I don’t like to put lotion on. It’s too thick. Oil makes my skin soft.
On the album’s closer, “Healthy,” you rap, “Money don’t buy happiness / But I’ve been happy ever since / I came up a couple M’s.” When was the last time a material purchase helped you feel better?
If we’re being totally honest? Every time! It feels good that I could buy it, you know what I’m saying? I just recently bought a TRX [truck], and that was a beautiful buy to me. Hello! The last thing I bought was my wife’s Hermès collection, goddamn it. It costs to be the boss.
What do you have your eye on now?
These new oversized moto jackets that Demna just showed at the 2024 Balenciaga show in Paris. I told him I need one early, man. It’s so crazy the way it fits. It has some wire that holds the shoulders up, so it looks like you got shoulder pads on. If you layer it right? Sick!
You have a long-standing relationship with Balenciaga. How has having a front-row seat to Fashion Week informed your style?
The shows are always keeping you ahead of the curve. I don’t follow trends. I set them, and then move on to the next.
Shop Offset’s Go-To Gear
Offset’s everyday watch is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph in rose gold; $75,900, Audemars Piguet Beverly Hills
Chrome Hearts Ultra Violence leather gloves; $1,485, Chrome Hearts, Los Angeles
He’s a fan of Apple Airpods Max headphones; on sale for $480 (reg. $549), amazon.com
The star prefers sunglasses with thin profiles, including styles by Prada. The brand’s shades with slate gray lenses and triangle logo are $515 at prada.com
Offset wore his just-released Offset Tears hoodie Oct. 12; $150, preorder at shop.offsetofficial.com
This story first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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