Tulisa and fashion haven't always been a natural fit. As she told us backstage before performing at Vodafone London Fashion Weekend last night, working in the band N-Dubz didn't give her much of a chance to develop her girly side. But she's more than made up for it since going solo and taking over the role of X Factor judge from style queen Cheryl Cole. The 24-year-old singer has dallied with designer frocks, towering platforms and this series, she's dyed her voluminous locks from brunette to blonde, all the while retaining her signature street style. Tulisa's even set to launch her first clothing line this year, but don't expect her to ditch those tracksuits any time soon!
How did you get involved with London Fashion Weekend?
I was asked to perform at the show, which was a really exciting opportunity as this year I’ve been getting into fashion more than I ever have before. I’m trying to express myself through what I wear and I’ve got my clothing line coming out soon. Back in the day if anyone had asked me if I wanted to come to Fashion Week I would have been like ‘what me!’ but it’s all about growing and becoming a woman isn’t it?
How do you think your style has developed over your career?
I’ve become a lot more open, but there are two very different sides to me and one has always stayed the same. There’s still a very street side where I’ll wear a tracksuit that I’ve had since the age of 15 to run to Tesco. But when it comes to expressing myself and play time as I like to call it then the things that I wear now I wouldn’t have been seen dead in a couple of years ago. It also wouldn’t have looked right because I had the N-Dubz boys next to me and we had an image and it wouldn’t have made sense. It’s been fun being able to dress more feminine and experiment.
Who inspires your style?
Recently I have loved doing photo shoots where I’ve recreated old school glamour. When I was brunette I tried to go for an Elizabeth Taylor look and absolutely loved bringing that era back and since I’ve been blonde I’ve done a shoot based around Diana Dors. I’d like to bring more of that glamour to my red carpet style.
Which high street shops do you rely on?
I love a bit of everything from Lipsy to River Island. River Island is probably the one I've always loved the most.
And what about your favourite designers?
I love a good Vivienne Westwood dress. I’ve rocked a few in my time. Every time I wear one I’m like ‘Oh my god, I absolutely love that dress’. Because my figure is quite hippy they always fit me really well.
What’s your most extravagant purchase?
A Chanel bag! I never shop, as in go to the shops, I always get sent things to look at. But I went out one day with my friend and went past the shop and thought how it’s every girl’s dream to buy a Chanel bag and that I could actually do it. I walked into the shop and found the biggest one I could find - a bright white one - and said ‘I’ll take it!’ There are so many labels you could get, but since I was a kid everyone always said there’s nothing quite like a Chanel bag.
We’ve got to ask about your fashion collection! What can we expect?
Definitely a mix of glam and sophisticated with an edgy street vibe. There are also cutesy 50's inspired all-in-one suits and everything from casual wear to fancy dresses to outfits that I would wear on stage. It’s a bit of everything but it’s accessible and affordable for my fan base. I’ve worked on it with my stylist who knows me and what I like, so she’ll come to me and put foward ideas. We’re like one brain now so we sit together and go through the looks.
Fashion is a huge part of X Factor – do you have a say in what your acts wear?
The Glam Squad (X Factor style team) is in charge of the wardrobe, but with Little Mix last series they were put in certain outfits and came to me before one show and said they didn’t feel comfortable. I went to the Glam Squad and told them they needed to change the girls’ looks – I played the bad guy and pretended it was all my decision.
Little Mix clearly love fashion – which of the girls’ wardrobes would you most like to raid?
Definitely Jade’s! I love the Mickey Mouse jumpers and stuff she wears. So cute!