MEN’S FASHION: André 3000 on hair moods, ugly hands and a mythical Outkast album
André 3000, real name André Benjamin, along with actors Adrien Brody and Gael García Bernal, is featured in the Masters of Style campaign, created by Gillette to promote its recently introduced Fusion ProGlide Styler, a tool that combines the functions of shaver, trimmer and edger. Benjamin, too, is a triple-threat talent. As half of Outkast, the Atlanta-based duo, he became one of hip hop’s most acclaimed musicians. He has also won praise as a menswear designer since launching his label, Benjamin Bixby, in 2008. And as a dresser, he’s known for being one of the best. He’s been celebrated in fashion magazines, and in Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity, an academic work of groundbreaking cultural history, his name shows up on the very first page.
Let’s catch up on the musical action. Last year, you earned a Grammy nomination for a track with Beyoncé. In February, Converse presented “Do Ya Thang,” your collaboration with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Gorillaz. Is an Outkast album due to come out in 2012?
“To be honest, no, there is not an Outkast album in the works. I know there’s been a lot of talk in the internet world. I don’t have Twitter or Facebook or any of those kinds of things, so I haven’t had a chance to address it.”
Who chose the clothes you wore in the Masters of Style campaign?
“I just brought a bag of things, and I would pull out things that would work. We’d send pictures back to the bigwigs at Gillette, and they’d say, ‘This works, this doesn’t.’”
Where is that double-breasted jacket from?
“That’s my own. That was from Benjamin Bixby. That’s a Bixby polo shirt under it and Simon Spurr jeans. I’ve had the hat for ages. It’s kind of like an old straw hat that I just can’t get rid of.”
There are also shots of you in a great black cardigan with orange stripes.
“That’s actually from the last Bixby collection that we ended up not making because we ran out of steam. I had to stop. I’m looking forward to the new Bixby.”
How often do you change the style of your facial hair?
“I don’t go too far away from what I have been doing. Movie roles aside, I just kind of keep it the same.”
Are there any movie roles coming up?
“Yes, but it’s too early to give too much information. I can say that this year and next year are going to be really exciting for music and film and fashion.”
The hair on your head—how often does that change?
“It depends. I go through moods. Sometimes I want to cut it clean and just be really neat, and sometimes I want to wow it out. Right now I’m going through a phase where I’m letting it grow. Sometimes it’s braided, sometimes I let it out like a complete ’fro.”
What attention do you pay to manicure and pedicure?
“I kind of do it myself.”
Guys seem to need help in knowing how to take care of their hands and feet. What would you tell them?
“It’s funny, because I have a 14-year-old son. The only thing I say is, ‘You know, girls don’t like ugly hands, and they don’t like you touching them with ugly hands.’ I’m not really heavy on feet. I’m a ruffian in that way. Not that I have claws or anything like that.”
What about fitness?
“I like to walk as much as I can. Walking every day is good for thinking.”