Just days after announcing that she is retiring from music amid clashes with her record label, Def Jam, Teyana Taylor was named creative director of the U.K-based retailer PrettyLittleThing.
Her seemingly abrupt career change made headlines, but Taylor tells PEOPLE exclusively that the fashion partnership was no surprise to those closest to her because she has been altering her own looks and styling her friends and family for years.
"They were like, 'Girl, finally!'" Taylor, who recently celebrated her 30th birthday, quips. "Everybody's very supportive and I think that's all that matters. I think having a great support system plays a part in having peace. Support is the energy. [When] you have support, it just gives you that ammo to really want to be the greatest."
A jack of all trades, Taylor made her television debut on an episode of MTV's My Super Sweet 16 in 2007 and has since found success as a singer, dancer and actress. Now, the wife and mom of two feels free, creatively, and says she is ready to make her mark on the fashion world. "I'm at a place where no one can put me in a box," she explains. "They can't tell me I can only do one thing. I do whatever I put my mind to and succeed at it."
"I eventually knew I would venture [into fashion]. I mean, my goal was always be entrepreneurial, be a mogul," Taylor — who previously partnered with PrettyLittleThing on sponsored social media posts — adds. "So I'm kind of tapping into all of my dreams, all of my business dreams, all of the things that I love to do. Whether that is acting, directing, fashion, whatever it is, to be able to tap into those other areas of things."
When asked about her vision for the brand, the star says she'll focus on "enhancing beauty that's already there" by getting to know the PrettyLittleThing consumer. "I would never just put my name on something and not want to be fully be involved and totally put my all into it," Taylor shares.
For her, that means reading through every customer review and Instagram comment to learn what people love about the brand and what it can improve upon. One design element she won't change about PrettyLittleThing? The brand's knack for launching sexy pieces that fit like a glove at an affordable price point.
"I think the most important thing is making sure everything fits right. Because if you have so many different shapes, forms of body and you want to make sure everybody feels sexy at all times and everybody feels beautiful at all times. So I think that's my main goal — the fit of everything."
Taylor's first collection — designed and developed entirely over Zoom during quarantine — will roll out in January.
Available in U.S. sizes 0 to 26, the line will consist of pieces that look like they were pulled straight from Taylor's personal closet, including a denim jumpsuit, oversized jackets, cutout minidresses and a neon crop top.
As for how she pulled off such a feat in the middle of a global pandemic, the "Fade" music video star says she maintained a positive attitude and jokes that the unprecedented events of 2020 gave her creative "super powers."
"I mean, s—, I got to do what I can! You've got to make it fun and just be grateful that you're even doing something like that because of a lot of things that's going on, some people can't work at all," she says. "People are getting laid off, people are losing their jobs and it's really tough out here. So I would never really sit around and complain about what I can't design in-person."
"I just try and be grateful and appreciative, you know, get it done," she concludes.
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