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Dazed Looks: Photographer Quil Lemons’ outfits
Courtesy of Quil Lemons

How fashion photographer Quil Lemons got his no-rules style

Why the Dazed 100 photographer wears Tabis to the grocery store – and has his eye on a Fenty campaign

Following photographer Quil Lemons on social media is a joy, and not just because he’s a young talent whose star is on the rise. There’s no arguing with it: Lemons – who grew up in Philly and now lives in NYC – is simply one of the best-dressed people out there. His style is fearless, fun, and unique: every outfit demonstrates personality, a genuine freedom of experimentation, and the kind of taste that comes with years of being a fashion fan – even as a teen working in Walgreens. Put it this way: not many people can carry off – or would even think about trying to carry off – toe socks with open sandals. Quil can.

We found out about his style evolution, how lockdown has affected his aesthetic, and what he considers his ultimate rules for getting dressed. (Spoiler alert: in his book, there are no rules).

Describe your style in a sentence.

Quil Lemons: Ain't none of you bitches fucking with me!

What’s your earliest fashion memory?

Quil Lemons: My earliest fashion memory was seeing my stepdad unbox a new pair of Prada New America’s Cup Bike Fabric Sneakers (classic dad shoe). At this moment, I finally began to understand how coveted fashions items are, a Prada sneaker is a timeless staple, and it has street-cred. I was about 14 years old in my freshman year of high school. I would sneak and wear his Prada sneakers to school (which made no sense because I used to collect Jordans at the time). I loved the compliments I would receive from the old-heads on the block when I had that shoe on. They would be like, ‘YOOO QUIL YOU ALWAYS IN THAT FLY SHIT.’

How did you dress at 16?

Quil Lemons: Ooh at 16? GOD! I think I wore a lot of Zara. I was a baby of the Kanye West school of fashion. I was dying to buy Raf Simons, Givenchy, and Margiela, but I was only 16. I couldn't afford that at the time, and I would save all of my hard-earned Walgreens coins and buy small cheap fashion items from luxury brands here and there. I was broke with expensive taste.

Who’s your ultimate style icon?

Quil Lemons: Can I say me? I think I want to be my own! Like, 16-year-old me would look up to 23-year-old me. I’m always like ‘Yo I fucking wore that shit, and it looked good? Wtf how! I DID THAT!’

I jokingly tweeted the other day that Cree Lincoln from Codename: Kids Next Door was my style icon because she wore oversized pants and cropped tops. I sometimes think maybe Kid Cudi, Robin Williams, or Pharrell. We lowkey sleep on Robin Williams’ personal style. I also ask myself while getting dressed: what would Rihanna do? But I think that’s a general life mantra. 

What are your favourite pieces to wear right now? 

Quil Lemons: I got this Miu Miu bucket hat last fall in Harajuku on a whim, and I’ve fallen in love with it! I love a good tank from Peter Do or my homie ADW! My homies Steve and Kari both made some of my favourite graphic tees this year that are absolutely HARDT. Steve's ass literally took his outfits and printed them on shirts. Kari made a graphic tee that says ‘BEAT YO MEAT 4 WORLD PEACE’. These are a few of my favourite things!  

How has lockdown changed your style?

Quil Lemons: You would think my style would’ve become tamer since we are all home 24/7. However, my style has gotten way more experimental. I’m just like fuck it! Everyone wearing sweatpants and old t-shirts but I’m like nah, let’s still give a look at the grocery store. You can catch me in aisle seven with a mini Prada bag and Margiela Tabis. I want to look extremely cute, running errands even if I’m in my mask. I get dressed for myself and the girls that know the brands I’m wearing; pulling a look gives me a sense of normalcy and purpose in this pandemic. 

“Everyone wearing sweatpants and old t-shirts but I’m like nah, let’s still give a look at the grocery store. You can catch me in aisle seven with a mini Prada bag and Margiela Tabis” – Quil Lemons

What’s the last piece of clothing you bought?

Quil Lemons: Okay, so I have a bad shopping addiction! I think I got something from Dion Lee. Or this leather jacket from Supreme? Ehh, not sure I shop way too much. I also got three pairs of fish slides LOL. I’m a mess!

Where do you like to shop? 

Quil Lemons: I find a lot of cool pieces on Grailed. Also, SSENSE (LOVE) is a go-to because of their fantastic shipping!

What item of clothing would you save if your house was on fire?

Quil Lemons: I’ve thought about this question long and hard. Hmm, if there was a fire, what would I grab!! I asked myself, should I be grabbing practical things. Boots? Leather? Prada? To be very honest, if my house is on fire, I’m grabbing my film archive lmaoo! Fuck all of my clothing.

What item of clothing can you not bring yourself to get rid of?

Quil Lemons: My old Yeezy tour tees! I sleep in them now. I can’t let those go. I fought so hard (literally) to get those tees in real life.

What’s the first expensive or designer piece you bought yourself?

Quil Lemons: I bought myself a pair of matching Raf sneakers with my best friend, ADW. We were both 16 and saved about two paychecks to buy Raf x adidas.  

If the budget was no question, what look are you buying?

Quil Lemons: If budget was no question, I’m recreating Pharrell Williams in 2007 carrying a purple Croc Birkin HAC in with full archival BBC in New York City or Lil Wayne’s head to toe purple Bape outfit. Or I’ve been dying to get Adam Selman’s pink ‘Spoiled’ top. 

What’s most important to you when it comes to clothing?

Quil Lemons: I think clothing should be reflective of how you feel on the inside. Getting dressed is an extension of you and how you feel on that day. I let my mood determine what I’m going to put on. Some days I’m feeling a little more masculine. Some days more feminine. If that answers the question. 

“If budget was no question, I’m recreating Pharrell Williams in 2007 carrying a purple Croc Birkin Hac in with full archival BBC” – Quil Lemons

What’s your golden fashion rule?

Quil Lemons: No rules! Just have confidence and be sexy!  

Which fashion designer would you most like to have dinner with?

Quil Lemons: Rihanna because she fucking DID THAT with FENTY! Also, she doesn’t miss with her outfits! Name one bad Rih Rih look! You can’t!

But I also love what Fenty means for Black people in fashion, especially Black women! I want to pick her brain, and shameless plug I want to shoot for FENTY! The legacy of FENTY goes beyond our lifetime. Man whew if they let me get that damn campaign chilleeee! Let me run that up one time! 

If you had to wear one brand forever, which would you choose?

Quil Lemons: Too hard. I could never choose one brand!! I love fashion way too much to pick one brand.