Coi Leray arrived in New York City on the first day of fashion week via private jet, and, by that afternoon, was holed up in a hotel room being fitted for her many, many front row looks. The 24-year-old rapper has already made her mark with hip-hop aficionados (she’s a member of the most recent edition of XXL’s vaunted Freshmen Class) and Gen-Z (on TikTok, she’s racked up multiple viral hits and has over 9.2 million followers herself on the platform). Although Coi Leray’s 2018 track “Huddy” put her on a wider radar, 2021 brought her first certified Billboard Top 40 hit with the mumble rap jam “No More Parties.”
Now Leray, the daughter of hip-hop media mogul Benzino, is embarking on another rite of passage for promising young talents hoping to reach wider notoriety: the fashion week front row circuit (Leray had previously attended one show during the last edition of NYFW: she wore a custom look mixing classic suiting with nipple pasties at Moschino). For fall 2022, Leray began, literally, at the top. The first show on her agenda was Christian Cowan’s runway show held February 11 at the observatory at One World Trade Center, dubbed the highest show in NYFW history.
During her fitting, we caught up with Leray to discuss her fashion sense, plans for 2022, and those rumors about a possible Nicki Minaj collab.
This is your second fashion week. Last time you were at the Moschino show in quite a headline-making outfit. What are you planning for your looks this week?
It’s looking like it’s gonna be a different type of week. Every look is super different. Shout out to all the brands. I’m super excited. I cannot wait to even see the shows. We’re gonna tear it up.
Do you know what you’re wearing for Christian Cowan?
Let me tell you, it is so fire. Oh my God. It fits my body so loud. We’re popping out, period.
You also just released a new music video for “Anxiety” yesterday. There’s a lot of strong looks in that one. I love the hair when you’re in a birdcage. How involved are you in bringing these fashion moments together, whether it’s in the front row or on stage or in a video?
I have a unique aesthetic. I have this style where I’m going toward the tomboy swag. I sew my boy clothes and I got on the baggy clothes, whatever. Then I also could get sexy and put that shit on, you know what I’m saying? As a trendsetter, I just felt like confidence is everything. Last year, I planted that. I owned that. This year, I definitely wanna go ahead and take confidence to a whole other level and just experiment with new looks.
I’ve been doing the Coi Leray braid. Shout out to everyone who’s been getting them. Seems like, you know, that became the biggest trend last year. I love my Coi Leray braids, but this year, listen, we’re doing bobs, we’re doing mullets, we might do a couple wigs, and we’re just gonna go crazy.
Are you very familiar with Christian Cowan?
He actually reached out to me. He told me he was a fan of me and my music. I actually was following him because I love fashion. I love clothes. I don’t know where I got his page from, but I was already following him. So he just noticed that and we started engaging. He’s like, “Yo, I want you to come to my show.” I’m like, “I’ll be there.” Next thing you know, I hopped on the jet. The PJ, baby. Now we got on some Christian Cowan.
He directly reached out? That’s interesting. He’s got a good eye for pop star dressing. He did the outfit on Cardi’s album cover.
He also did a look for Doja Cat that I’m super in love with. I love just how he is so big on the culture and how he taps in with the female artists—specially Black female artists. He’s really very creative and very talented.
Do you have any style icons you look up to?
Well, one of my biggest trendsetters and someone I always looked up to is Lady Gaga. She’s someone who just never really cared what anybody had to say when it came to her looks or when it came to how she presented in the looks on stage, red carpets, or in music videos. Also, Missy Elliott. She’s a super big, big inspiration, just overall in music and in fashion. She’s always wearing color colors and metallic and the baggy look and just putting all kinds of accessories. Like that whole garbage bag suit. She’s just amazing.
I know there are rumors about a possible Nick Minaj collaboration. Are those just rumors or will we have to wait and see?
I mean, what rumors? Who told you?
That’s just what I heard online.
Well, I can’t wait to collab with Nicki Minaj one day. She’s the GOAT. You heard her new single she just dropped?
Woo! Shout out to Nicki. Going crazy. Period. Make sure y’all go stream “Bussin.’”