Instagram can often be repetitive and banal—an insipid parade of aspirational living, curated humble-brags, and self-aggrandizing “candid” model shots. There’s only so many times that you can see a coffee cup shot from above on a pristine white countertop, or a pair of tan, toned legs leading to painted toes in the sand and still feel #inspired. So it’s refreshing to see someone like Sita Abellan break the rules yet still come out on top.
Always on the verge of a takedown notice for some form of content violation—smoking cigarettes clad in chains and chokers instead of sipping Kombucha in yoga pants—the Spanish DJ/model is a world away from the clean-living cut-and-paste tweens that you usually scroll past.
Having risen to prominence for her wholly original sense of style—exemplified perhaps in a recent Instagram post featuring a Maria Ke Fisherman Cropped Faux 3D relief fur top and skirt paired with some Goth-y combat boots—Abellan is loud and inflammatory with a pile-on of materials, patterns, and genres that somehow coalesce into a cohesive statement. Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere: Tokyo motorcycle culture, ’90s raver girls, goth and glam, S&M and Satanism. Her bold and inventive sense of fashion recently captured the attention of tastemakers such as Rihanna (she starred in the “Bitch Better Have My Money” video and walked in RiRi’s Fenty X Puma show) and avant-garde Polish fashion label Misbhv (who she collaborated with on a clothing line) all while continuing to delight the blogosphere with her everyday outfits. I ask her how she goes about assembling such a diverse and unique wardrobe. “I don’t care about style, I don’t care about brands, I don’t care if the clothes are expensive or not,” Abellan says, “I just open up my closet and I just pick what I will wear—I can’t explain it. It’s really not even a conscious decision. There’s no strategy. It really comes down to an instinct, a gut feeling.”
Her origins weren’t necessarily conducive to her stylistic experimentation. She grew up in a small Spanish village, and while her mother was interested in fashion, it was (capital F) Fashion in the more classical European sense—slightly dour conservative black clothing: sensible, smart, chic.
“When I was younger, the way I was trying to express myself was through clothing, and the way I dress is one of the main ways in which I assert my freedom.” Abellan says when I ask about her childhood. “Being in a small town it was hard sometimes because people would criticize me for what I wore, like, ‘Why are you crazy? Why do you wear these clothes? Why don’t you wear black?’ But those clothes didn’t express who I felt I was—I had to do it my own way.”
Abellan is not content to constrain her identity to one mode of expression—and yes, she’s aware of the cliché of the model-slash-DJ. She just doesn’t care. “When I say I’m a model and that I DJ too, people in Europe especially are pretty judgmental, like, ‘Oh, sure.’” She laughs at her own imitation of a pretentious German club kid. “I don’t care what they think. If they want to judge me, that’s their choice. I feel like people have been judging me for my whole life, and this is something I love to do, so I just say—who cares? I want them to listen to my music and then decide. I think then they might change their minds.”
Wrapping up our interview, I ask Abellan what’s next on her list. “I’m going to keep doing my thing. I’d like to come out with my own collection, I would like to do more styling in a creative sense, but I love what I’m doing, so I’m happy to keep doing it,” she says. “One thing I really hope to do is to inspire young woman to believe in themselves and to be strong under the pressure of society, and to do what they believe is right—be who they want be despite the people that criticize them.” We think that so far she’s doing okay.
Written by Tate Dillow
Photographer: Shane Mccauley for Tack Artist Group.
Stylist: Zoe Costello for Jed Root.
Hair: Christine Nelli for The Wall Group using Bumble And Bumble.
Makeup: Jo Baker for Forward Artists using Rimmel London.
Manicure: Pilar Noire for Nailing Hollywood using Nars Nail Polishes in Back Room and Ecume.