The Ones: Rox Brown
The stylist-slash-creative director makes a case for being controversial.
Words: Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins
“The Ones” celebrates a new generation of defiant, talented individuals. Click here for more stories about the cast.
As soon as I step into Rox Brown’s trailer to interview her, she starts interviewing me first.
“So, journalism,” she says. “This is what you do? This is your main thing?”
I nod. She sits and thinks, but only for a second before saying, “If I was a journalist, I’d be controversial.” When she sees my eyebrows raise, she continues, “I’d ask the real shit. I’m not scared.”
At 29 years old, Rox’s fearlessness has gotten her far as both a stylist and creative director. The Jamaica-born New Yorker got her first taste of fashion as a young kid, repurposing hand-me-downs from her older siblings and absorbing the sartorial stimulation of ‘90s and 2000s music videos. By the time she got to college, she had sharpened her taste, which she describes in one word, “weird.”
When your goal is to avoid normality, weird is good. After college, Rox hustled to get dream job after dream job — good fortune that she attributes to speaking her mind. Today, Rox lends her colorful vision and flawless execution to celebrities, events and even products of her own.
Rox’s own Instagram is filled with ‘fits that seemingly only she can pull off. And while she has an indisputable knack for fashion, her true superpower is one-of-a-kind, unflinching confidence.
Looking back, how did it feel when you were first getting started — wanting to make a name for yourself?
When I was in college, I always dressed a little bit weird, because I have a lot of brothers and older family members who I would get hand-me-down clothes from. I would have to figure out how to make those pieces cool. Eventually, it just became my style — buying things that people wouldn’t necessarily buy and just making them what I wanted them to be.
I finished school and kept working in retail, where I would meet all of these different people. I would style myself in guys’ clothes. Basketball players, musicians and other known people would come in. I would just be straight-up and honest with them, like, “Nah, you need this. Do this. Do this.”
Were you scared at any point?
I wasn’t scared to move forward, because I was inspired. Everyone has a passion, and I feel like we’re already programmed to do certain things. I started looking at it like this — when you put a bunch of kids in a room, there’s always a kid who’s attached to the building blocks. Then there’s the kid who wants to draw stuff. Then there’s the kid who wants to sing all the time. And then there’s the kid who’s cleaning up.
It can turn into something if you’re allowed to feed that passion. So, I decided to feed mine. And I did.
The absence of fear created room for Rox to find, feed, grow and groom her passion for not just styling but a singular lifestyle. Quite quickly, her influence was no longer limited to a single storefront. It spread online and IRL with her growing profile and a show on YouTube. Despite her success, she remains committed to the timeliness of true individuality.
When you did go for it, what did you think about the fashion space at the time?
At that time, I thought that the climate of fashion was very authentic, and people were themselves. It’s changed since then. Now, everything’s a uniform. If one trendy thing comes out, everyone’s like, “Alright, cool. This is how I have to wear it.” Back then, people would wear things in a way that still showed who they were. You know what I mean?
How have you gone against that grain? How do you defy the norm?
Whichever direction everyone’s going in, I go the opposite way. If everyone’s wearing something one way, I’m going to wear it in a whole different way.
To me, defiance is always the beginning of a new trend or an iconic moment. In order to start something truly new, you have to be defiant first.
I don’t want to encourage anyone to follow me. The way I see it is just like, “Look, if I can be myself, you can be yourself.” We’re all different for a reason.
How do you approach dressing yourself, as opposed to others?
I start with anything. I start with music. I turn on a playlist. Often, it starts in the shower. If I’m playing ’90s music in the shower, then I’ll go find my baggy pants. It comes from a vibe or a mood more than a piece of clothing. I don’t build around anything except for how I’m feeling.
If I’m tired, I might look tired, because I’ll just throw on sweats. You can tell when someone’s just not in the mood by how they dress.
Air Jordan is a big part of my vibe, because I love the ’90s and 2000s. Back then, rappers were wearing Jordans with big chains, and girls were wearing them with skirts. When I was younger, Jordans were — and still are — a big part of everyone’s wardrobe. Even then, it was clear to me that just because the shoes were for basketball, it didn’t mean that I had to wear them for that. I can’t play basketball! I can’t even dribble right. [Laughs]
What about what you’re wearing today?
Before I came in, I was like, “Alright, I know they’re going to give me some sweats and baggy things to work with. Let’s go with that.” I just worked with the stylist, because I’m also a stylist. I’m happy that this stylist “got” me, because I wanted to do this ’90s vibe.
I exit Rox’s air conditioned trailer and step back onto the hot sidewalk, so she can ready her next look. Her philosophy of music as the conduit for how to dress has me thinking. When she steps out of her trailer for her last shoot, she is head-to-toe from a ‘90s music video, sporting a breezy windbreaker set and a crisp pair of Jordans — a fit that seemingly only Rox could pull off.
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