Julia Fox on Her Pop Star Era and Being the ‘Patron Saint’ of Indie Designers on ‘OMG Fashun’

Julia Fox still remembers the first time she fell in love with fashion.

“When I grew up in Italy, clothes were always 10 years behind the United States. In the early ’90s, everyone was still dressing like it was the ’80s,” Fox told WWD. “I would go to my mom’s workout classes, and all the girls were wearing leotards and leg warmers, so I went home and put on a one-piece bathing suit. I didn’t want to take it off.”

Fox has loved dressing up ever since: the muse turned “Uncut Gems” star turned New York Times bestselling author has cultivated a following around her unconventional wardrobe. Now, she’ll discover the next generation of fashion “disruptors” alongside Zendaya’s stylist, Law Roach, and rotating celebrity guests.

Julia Fox on “OMG Fashun.”

E! Entertainment/Quantrell Colbert

“OMG Fashun,” premiering Monday on E!, is “Project Runway” for the TikTok age. A winner is crowned in each 30-minute episode, where three unknown designers face two distinct challenges. The champion receives $10,000 and a chance to “go viral” by dressing Fox — losing contestants are “canceled.”

“It just has to be ahead of the curve,” Fox said of her ideal winning look. “It can’t be too trendy. If it’s something that we’re seeing a lot of right now, I don’t want it because it’s already over.”

While Fox doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to judging, she also knows the feeling of being a young designer with hopes and dreams. In her early 20s, she cofounded her own label, Franziska Fox, alongside her best friend and stylist Briana Andalore. Their formfitting, futuristic clubwear was worn by the likes of Robin Wright, Kylie Jenner and Lindsay Lohan.

“I know how disheartening it can be to enter an industry where there’s a few people at the top calling all the shots, and you have to have a lot of money and connections and privilege,” Fox explained. “To get a celebrity to wear your clothes on such a big stage is the dream, but it’s hard, and it doesn’t cost me anything. Most of the time, these kids’ designs are way cooler than the usual stuff we see.”

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A model walks the runway on “OMG Fashun.”

E! Entertainment/Quantrell Colbert

Fox has made a habit of wearing clothes crafted from unorthodox materials: watches, plastic bags and condoms have comprised some of her most daring looks. “OMG Fashun” disruptors have similar props. Within the show’s first two episodes, contestants are tasked with making garments out of insects, plants and plastic straws.

Often, Fox doesn’t need to look far to discover emerging fashion talent. Young designers are practically clamoring to dress the style icon, with some staking out red carpets to deliver her bespoke garments.

“That happens at almost every event I go to,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time I love what they’re giving me. It’s really exciting because they know that I’m their patron saint and that I will wear their stuff. I want to allow space for designers who taught themselves, who couldn’t go to fashion school, or who don’t have mommy and daddy to pay for their first collection.”

After all, mainstream labels simply aren’t Fox’s style.

“In the fashion world, it’s all about wearing the big European design houses,” she added. “I’m just not really about that life. That doesn’t excite me, and it doesn’t make me feel good.”

Julia Fox in 2023, celebrity style, fashion

Julia Fox in 2023.

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Rather than follow the fleeting trend cycle, Fox finds herself inspired by the “dystopic, dark, weird times” we’re in. Frequently, she draws upon her roots as a dominatrix. As chronicled in her 2023 memoir “Down the Drain,” Fox spent her late teens working in a sex dungeon.

“I still love fetish clothing,” Fox enthused. “It’s very much part of my DNA, and I try to infuse it into almost any look or vibe that I’m going for. Latex, leather, chains — there are always some elements of S&M if you look very closely.”

Fox’s 300-page volume charts her fascinating (and oftentimes fraught) upbringing between New York and Italy, her struggles with substance abuse and her unlikely path to cult superstardom.

Even after sharing the screen with Adam Sandler, fronting campaigns for Supreme and walking the runway for Tommy Hilfiger, somehow, hosting her own E! show still feels like “a fluke.”

Working with Roach is a dream come true for Fox, who initially approached the sought-after image architect to style her post-“Uncut Gems.”

“He was too busy,” Fox admitted. “But I always knew I was going to work with him. I was like, ‘I’m going to make it happen.’”

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Model Wisdom Kaye, Julia Fox and Law Roach on “OMG Fashun.”

E! Entertainment/Quantrell Colbert

Roach is credited with turning his sole client, Zendaya, into a fashion fixture. After working together for over a decade, the Emmy-winning actress has raised her profile among top designers, scoring endorsement deals with Louis Vuitton and Bulgari. On Monday, she’ll co-chair the 2024 Met Gala, which is widely regarded as fashion’s Super Bowl.

“I know that he loves my clothes,” Fox continued. “That’s a huge compliment because I don’t think Law Roach likes that many people’s outfits.”

As for Fox’s next venture, she’ll drop her first single, also titled “Down the Drain,” on Friday. She premiered the electronic track at a launch party for her book late last year, followed by a surprise performance at a Boiler Room set hosted by Charli XCX in February. The singer-songwriter, who is best known for her chart-topping collaborations with Iggy Azalea and Icona Pop, introduced Fox as “a f–king icon.”

“That was also a fluke,” Fox said of her live debut. Boiler Room, a music broadcaster with a loyal underground following, hosts and streams dance music shows around the globe.

“Charli was having this event and she said, ‘We want to play your song,’ and I thought she meant playing my favorite song. I was like, ‘Stilettos (Pumps)’ by Crime Mob, and she went, ‘No, no, no, your song,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, yes, you’re right, I have a song, I forgot,’” Fox snickered. “Then it just went viral from there.”

With a thundering beat produced by composer Ben Draghi (partner of Fox’s best friend, model and photographer Richie Shazam) and an infectious hook, Fox’s new single seems to simultaneously critique and reclaim ownership of Sigmund Freud’s Madonna-whore complex. What’s more, it taps into Fox’s penchant for perpetual transformation, a theme consistent in her memoir.

“Making a song has always been on my bucket list,” Fox added. “In my book, there’s a lot of reinventing oneself and kind of deciding spur of the moment, ‘I’m going to be this other person.’ I was like, ‘Well, I know I’ll have an audience at this book event, so maybe it’s the perfect time to enter my pop star era.’”

Fox has never been one to box herself in, and her unabashed spontaneity sets her apart in the era of manufactured celebrity. As influencers squander the relatability they once cashed in on and an ever-spawning sea of “nepo babies” enjoy the spoils of generational wealth, Fox’s newfound fame hasn’t caused her to lose touch.

The actress, author and now singer has built her brand on bluntness, whether it’s showing off her messy apartment on TikTok, critiquing the catastrophes of capitalism and climate change or sharing her distaste for the patriarchy.

Many of Fox’s viral quotes have been immortalized in the annals of the video sharing app, with a clip from BBC Radio 4’s “Women’s Hour” becoming a popular TikTok audio in recent months.

“Men hate my outfits,” Fox told host Emma Barnett in November. “They’re so mad that I’m not ‘hot’ like how I was in ‘Uncut Gems.’ I hear that all the time, but I don’t care because the girls love it. The girls and the gays love it, and that’s really who I’m dressing for.”

The snippet has generated thousands of TikTok videos, with BBC’s original clip amassing more than 6 million views. Fox credits its popularity to a larger feminist awakening.

“I think women are just tired of pleasing,” she explained. “We’re so empowered now that we’re questioning all of the brainwashing that was done to us, and we’re kind of snapping out of it a little bit.”

“OMG Fashun” premieres Monday with back-to-back half-hour episodes at 9:30 p.m. ET, followed by its streaming debut on Peacock May 13.

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