A person’s sense of style doesn’t define them. But for LGBTQ+ people, it can be a powerful way to not only express yourself but to also subvert the expectations of how people “should” be or act. As queer people, we’re able to escape the rigidity of societal norms and express ourselves however we please, and in turn find self-acceptance.
This is certainly something that 20-year-old musician, activist and social media influencer Solana has found. “As a queer Black woman, my style means a lot to me,” she explains. “I’m so used to people making assumptions about the things I like and the kind of music I make and there are expectations about how I should present myself to the world. Although my appearance and style aren’t the most important thing about me, through that you can see my journey of growth and self-acceptance of my various identities.”
It was the pandemic that offered Solana an opportunity to think more about how she wanted to express herself through how she dresses. After stumbling across the Fairycore aesthetic, something clicked. “It made me more self-confident in my sense of style and identity as a whole,” she explains.
We’ve all had those moments where you see an aesthetic or discover a perfect item that you know would help you express your true authentic self. We’ve also all known the struggle when you attempt to then find that item online and have absolutely no luck whatsoever. This, thankfully, is where Google steps in. Their new search feature helps you to ‘search what you see’ when building your unique sense of style and personal identity. Through this simplified exploration of different aesthetics, anyone can unlock their creative potential. Instead of typing out searches, all you need to do is tap the camera icon in the Google app, or upload a screenshot of something you see online, and Google will find a match or offer up similar items.
For Solana, this has become an important tool when it comes to finding inspiration from the world around her, so we set her a challenge to style her own Fairycore inspired set using items she found using the Google app.
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To find out more, we spoke to her about her affinity with Fairycore, the importance of self-expression as a queer person and how using Google has helped her live creatively.
How would you describe Fairycore?
Fairycore is a subculture that celebrates the beauty of nature. Much of the style is inspired by different aspects of nature as well as a magical aspect of it. When I think of Fairycore, I think of wildflowers, forests, crystals and spirituality, and fairy mushrooms or mushroom rings.
Why do you think you were so drawn to it?
I think I used to believe that an outfit had to be symmetrical to be beautiful or stylish. But then when you look at nature and the intricacy of every leaf and every tree trunk it helps you realise that imperfection is often what makes something special.
What other styles, subcultures and aesthetics are you drawn to?
I can’t say that I truly belong to any specific subcultures as I hate the idea of restricting myself from wearing something that I might love just because it doesn’t fit my ‘aesthetic’. I love to experiment with clothes. As well as my Fairycore outfits, I love boldly patterned tops and trousers. I like to think my style reflects my creativity and like my music, my inspiration for fashion flows through me and into the world. A huge part of making music is experimenting – if you don’t try new things, it’s easy to trap yourself in a box.
Where do you find style inspiration?
I get so much of my inspiration from others’ styles. I love to just walk around London and look at what people are wearing. I also love second-hand shopping as I think that is where you find truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Social media is another great place to find fashion inspiration and connect to people with similar interests to you.
What does expressing yourself through your style mean as an LGBTQ+ person?
In a society where fitting in is often seen as more desirable than being yourself, I feel powerful that I’m at a place where I can express myself how I want. The LGBTQ+ community has some of the most incredible, forward-thinking creatives and I’m so proud to be a part of that.
I know you’re passionate about activism. How did you get into that?
I’ve been going to protests since I was 13 and have always been outspoken about injustice in the world. In lockdown, I started using social media as a platform to share my views and educate people where I can on issues. I speak about racism, homophobia, transphobia, gender inequality, environmental issues, mental health and more.
It’s really important to speak about issues that don’t directly affect you. It shouldn’t solely be the job of those affected to educate others. Lifting up the voices by sharing their stories and experiences can be a great way to stand up for others without dominating their spaces.
Can you tell me about your music? How did you get into that? How does your aesthetic feed into that?
I knew that I wanted to do music since I was six years old. My dad is a jazz saxophonist and my mum used to work in radio, so I have always been surrounded by music. It’s such a personal thing to me as writing is how I’ve always reflected and expressed my feelings. I think my music fits with my aesthetic as I’ve never been able to define it into a specific genre. I listen to so many different styles of music so, like my sense of style, I like to think my songs are a combination of all of my favourite artists, like some crazy puzzle.
How does Google help you express your creativity in your day-to-day life?
You know when you see someone wearing that thing that you really love but then have the sad realisation that you’ll probably never see it again? Being able to search what I see with the Google app helps to cultivate my creativity in my day-to-day life. It makes capturing new style inspiration fun and easy.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to try Fairycore?
In nature, you see a lot of contrasts between rough and smooth textures, which creates beautiful landscapes. Mixing fabrics like velvet and silk is a great way to make your outfits more interesting. Don’t be afraid to get creative with accessories. The best pieces of art are made through lots of experimentation and you are a work of art. The most important Fairycore essential for me is long flowy skirts. Once you’ve got a few of those, it’s so much easier to create outfits for this aesthetic.
To get closer to the styles you love, try the Google app here.
Search results on the Google Search feature may vary depending on visual matches.