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via Instagram @lexsonator

Lexson Millington is the 70s-obsessed TikToker spreading Black Boy Joy

The 22-year-old Canadian talks finding his style, channelling Tyler, The Creator and Steve Lacy, and starting his own vintage store during lockdown

In less than six months since he posted his first TikTok, Lexson Millington’s unique, 70s-inspired looks and overall joyful demeanour has amassed him a huge following. What started as a cute clip showing him and his girlfriend on a date evolved into a series of style posts, as he channelled idols in the form of Tyler, The Creator, André 3000, and Steve Lacy, and created wholesome mini music videos that looked like they’d been ripped directly from a Gucci campaign. Since then, the 22-year-old Toronto-based creator has turned his hand to creating Sims-style lookbooks and documenting his frequent thrifting adventures, which have now spilled over into an IRL project, as he launched his very own vintage store LBROS FINDS with his roommate Liam Wilkings during lockdown.

Here, the rising TikTok star talks being his own fashion icon, his earliest fashion memories, and finding inspiration in music.

Hey Lexson! First of all, I’d love to know your earliest fashion memory?

Lexson Millington: My parents used to own a fashion boutique in North York, Toronto, and at a very young age, like, coming out of middle school, I was introduced to Caribbean and Western fashion through them. I was really interested in what they were doing with the business and how they were going about bringing the boutique to life. They wanted me to get involved with modelling and stuff like that, so I was doing that for them, and through that I learned so much about different silhouettes – especially in Caribbean fashion. Things kind of branched out from there. That was probably my earliest memory of being like, ‘oh clothes are really cool’. It was like: if my parents are doing this thing, I can probably do it too.

How do you come up with your video concepts?

Lexson Millington: I'm really inspired by music – I’ve always been into Caribbean funk, Western soul, jazz vibes, all those things. Bringing that music to life in a fashion sense was what I wanted to portray in my art. I'll start listening to a bunch of cool songs and then go into my crazy closet at home. I kind of put together looks inspired by how the music makes me feel. It started with cute little editorial-style walking videos and then I moved on to outfit builds which became really cool because I can line up the music to the transitions and stuff like that. Everything is really about the music influences. 

Your glow-up TikTok blew up. What triggered your fashion transformation? 

Lexson Millington: I think it was definitely influenced by my surroundings and the people around me. In high school I think it was a case of wearing stuff to fit in – we were all very focused on trends and what was hot and what wasn’t. I feel like there was no actual diversity within my style while I was growing up. It was just very much like,’ I want to dress like this person’ or ‘I want to look cool’ or ‘I want to be someone I'm not’. When I got out of high school, I got into this cool art community I met downtown called Blank Canvas. Just by being around those people that like to have their own styles, personalities, and distinguish themselves in certain ways encouraged me to try to figure out how I wanted to be perceived.

How would you describe your style now? 

Lexson Millington: I’m really into the old, funk silhouettes like bell bottoms and sweater vests. My parents dressed like that when they were growing up, so I was like ‘you know what? This could be me too’. I feel like I have a very New York-funk-meets-old-groove vibe, I don’t know how to explain it. I feel like I'm an old soul, but I'm just trying to make it modern, essentially. I feel like I'm constantly living like I’m in a movie.

I saw loads of duets and stitches on my FYP with that video – this one girl, in particular, said it gave her hope and made her excited to see how she’ll develop after high school. How does it feel to see videos like that?

Lexson Millington: It’s actually funny you mention that – I follow another Black sister on TikTok who has this really cool page where she puts on other Black artists, other creators and stuff like that. I think she’s about 17, and she was saying ‘Wow, so inspired by this. I feel like this glow-up is going to be an actual thing.’ And I was like yes, this is correct! Just keep doing what you’re doing and things will get better. 

What was your style like in high school? 

Lexson Millington: I loved the big brands and wearing like brand names – you know, that hypebeast kind of mentality. The Supreme, the Bape, the YEEZYs, I went out of my way to buy that stuff – it was such a starter pack for high school! I really tried hard, but most days I actually just wore Gap or a Roots sweater, just comfy vibes. The demographic of my high school was mainly white people and Asians, so that influenced my style a lot in terms of I was a preppy kid for most of my days. So yeah, I wasn’t really myself – but we’re evolving. 

A lot of your looks are indebted to the 70s. What do you love the most about the era?

Lexson Millington: The biggest thing for me – and it extends even the 60s through to the 80s to be honest – is the music. The big artists that I love from those eras have the craziest style. The 70s silhouette just makes our bodies and our silhouette look so good and so sexy. I don't know, I just love that look. I fell in love with the Jackson Five, Rick James, all of like those old-time musicians that just went crazy with the styling. I watch old Soul Trains and I just think wow. The styling in these videos, besides the dancing and the music, is insane. The people who embodied those styles, actually live those lives and have those emotions, which back-up the actual look. I feel like what I constantly want to embody with my current style is just the joy they felt, the pain that they felt. It’s all just really cool. 

Who is your ultimate style icon?

Lexson Millington: Hmmm… Can I say myself? 

Yes, of course, you can! 

Lexson Millington: Okay, cool. I don't know, I just would have never seen myself where I am today. So I'd always want to tell my younger self, ‘Yo listen, change is inevitable and the evolution is real’. I feel like me as my younger self looking up to where I am now, and that's super iconic in my own eyes. Just to see that growth and development. I just feel like the spin I have on that 70s aesthetic is super cool and super neat. I constantly look to myself for new ideas. 


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When did you start thrifting?

Lexson Millington: Oh, thrifting is super old for me now but it's really only been six years that I've been switching over to sustainable fashion stuff like that. I’d say it all started at a place we have called Value Village in Toronto. It's basically a big house of secondhand clothing and I fell in love with that spot because I live right next to it, so I’m there pretty much every other day – well, obviously not right now. The thrifting mentality came to me from my peers. They're like, ‘Yo, you can really find some cool stuff that you can identify with, for a really good price in these places’. And that was definitely appealing to me at the time. It really challenged me to identify myself and find my certain style because like it's not all set in stone. You can go in and some days are really good, and other days are like ‘Why am I here?’ But it's all part of the journey and it's cool. So I literally thrift all my clothes now, my closet is probably either all women's thrift or gifts from people. 

What made you want to turn it into a business? 

Lexson Millington: I think the main motive was just to get some extra cash and I thought that it'd be a really cool idea to sell some clothes instead of throwing them out. That turned into a platform I use with my roommate who’s a jewellery designer and also a big thrifter. We thought we can definitely take our style and try to brand it in a certain way to benefit us because we do buy a lot of clothes! I also feel like it also helps a lot of people, when we curate or narrow it down to cooler things that we might be able to give them instead of them having to sift through a bunch of clothes to find something cool. I do it all out of my loft, so that's really fun. It's like a big studio that I live out of, but I also work there and I sell my stuff there. I feel like it's like a cool mentality and almost a therapeutic place to be in, to be able to make my own hours and have this actually generate income on my own time.

How did you navigate trying to thrift during lockdowns and quarantines? 

Lexson Millington: It's been interesting, honestly. It was definitely a bumpy ride at the beginning. Especially since I was out of a job at the beginning of this and I was really scared in terms of finances. That's also what kind of led me to start this business with my roommate. We have a lot of clothes so it all started with our own things. The pandemic definitely took a toll on me, but I feel like I'm starting to bounce back now with this new creative energy. I think the lesson I learned was just to stay consistent, regardless of the surroundings. And to stay as creative as possible, because that really helps me get through the day. I think that's really important.

Who is your favourite designer or brand right now?

Lexson Millington: Currently, my favourite designer is actually in Toronto, he goes by the name of Spencer Badu. He’s a Black designer who makes androgynous clothing. I personally love his work, I've been working with him for the past four years now. I really believe in his brand and I think he's gonna definitely be on top one day. In terms of established brands, I would say Telfar Clemens is probably one of my favourite designers, I really want to work with him in the future. I just love everything about him, the shows, the clothes – the feeling and energy behind the brand feels super community-based. It’s a super cool label.

What’s next for you, and what are your hopes for the future?

Lexson Millington: The content I'm making right now is what I want to be doing for the long run, in terms of spreading joy, spreading love, and giving people different ideas of how to express themselves through fashion. I feel like that's gonna be a thing that's going to be constant in life – we all wear clothes, we all feel through our clothing. I think people should pay attention to how that actually affects things and how important it actually is in everything that we do. 

I just want to put a good, light, funky spin on things, which I think is really neat right now because the world is so fucked. I guess the goal is to continue to just show light through what I do because that's how I feel internally, this stuff really gives me joy – being able to express myself in the way I do. I feel like because I'm able to tap into this Black Boy Joy through style, hopefully a lot of people can be reached and touched by it.