Rarely do fashion week runways look like hip hop videos, but hip-hop group Outkast is known for bridging gaps. Outkast is the big name on the festival circuit this summer, and though they haven’t released new music since their 2006 film venture, Idlewild, their music videos preserve the giddy, satirical instincts they had in the early ‘00s. Getting ready to see them at Firefly, you might notice Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s visual homage to what came before, reminding us of the classics and why they’re timeless. Aside from that, the group has an eerie knack for predicting what comes back into style. Take a look at these moments when Outkast proved themselves trend re-setters.
1. Cardigans and Converse, or Geek Chic — “Roses” (2003)
Who doesn’t love a boy in a cardigan? Nowadays the buttoned-up look says, I’m smart, I’m stylish, and you can take me home to your country clubbin’ momma. But in the early 2000’s, girls were all about the bad boys— just ask Blink 182. In typical Outkast fashion, this video turned the trend on its head as musical theater geek Andre 3000 turned heartthrob, and T-Bird Big Boi got rejected by that mighty fine Caroline. The Grease themed video left millennials replicating Andre’s Buddy Holly look, which has since become the indie standard for acts like Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, and Weezer.
2. Sexy Schoolgirl — “Jazzy Belle” (1996)
Big Boi’s baby girl gets all grown up like Ruby Huxtable in this video, in a semi-disturbing nod to changing times and mutable moral standards. True, their video came one year after Clueless’ Cher’s famous yellow getup, but the plaid mini predates Britney’s Baby One More Time by a full two years. You could say that Big Boi’s daddy concerns—Is my little girl doing her homework, or has she become a stripper?!— foreshadow the whole “Oops! I Did it Again,” “Slave 4 U,” “Gimme More” de-evolution.
3. Daisy Dukes — “The Way You Move” (2003)
Old school auto hoods weren’t the only things getting waxed in the fabulously choreographed video, which also featured fancy green screen versions of a dance hall, a Buddhist temple, and the African savannah. The message being that the girl in question moves like she’s got nothing on, this features a daydream much like the one in “Jazzy Belle,” though a lot more shameless. The mechanics in this video rocked oiled thighs and cutoffs two years before Jessica Simpson slid hers on, and several before twenty-somethings began pairing them with crop tops and flower crowns for Bonnaroo.
4. Equestrian Chic — “Hey Ya!” (2003)
The look first inspired by Elizabeth Bennet’s tromp through the mud in Pride and Prejudice, and later piloted by sometimes-designer Amelia Earhart, has always been a way for the most feminine of women to toy with androgyny. In this kelly green reboot, complete with ridiculous velvet helmets, Andre imitates a hip-swinging English calendar girl. The boots and blazer combo took around eight years to come back, but it’s been riding high since 2011 following collections by Ralph Lauren and Hermes, not to mention ready-to-wear lines by J.Crew and L.L. Bean. Backup-singing clones have never been so ahead of the times.
5. Oversized Sunglasses — “Rosa Parks” (1998)
Big Boi and Andre 3000 took sunglasses out of the ‘90s and back to the ‘60s, in their video for “So Fresh, So Clean.” But two years before, their females of choice were donning the Jackie Os. The bug-eyes would knock the John Lennons out of the park with their thick frames, huge lenses and glamorous anonymity. They would be a staple in every girl’s closet from the mid-’00s onward, and aside from the Ray-Ban resurgence, the trend hasn’t let up yet.
Should these ambassadors of the ATL release a new video in the next year, it’s definitely going to be worth watching. Judging by their recent performances at Coachella and Counterpoint music festivals, the fashion industry is in for some yardwork.