Aliyah Bah Gets Candid About Her It-Girl Style, #Aliyahcore
Ba discusses bringing a new meaning to alternative culture and next-gen style with Black women at the helm.
In Aliyah Bah’s eyes, fashion is more than just pairing specific eclectic garments together or following the newest trend circling the internet. For the Atlanta native, piecing together an outfit for the day begins as a blank canvas, allowing her colorful, bubbly and unapologetic personality to be proudly put on display. Though her Atlanta roots run deep, she considers whatever city she’s in as her own personal runway. Notably known on TikTok as @aliyahsinterlude, Bah began showcasing her sartorially unique style, which blends vintage Y2K aesthetics with anime Harajuku culture, captivating the eyes of Gen Z fashion enthusiasts who look up to her as a modern, self-made icon.
There is something magical about the way Bah is able to align with the current allure the next generation possesses when it comes to Y2K aesthetics, while never playing to standards or expectations. Soon coined #Aliyahcore, Bah’s signature style became a popular trend that propelled her into a viral sensation on social media, amassing a following of a combined three million onlookers.
Bah’s signature style quickly became replicated everywhere, with famous content creators and celebrities like Lizzo and Rico Nasty following suit. With its growing popularity amongst the fashion world, #Aliyahcore poses an opportunity for Bah to challenge the status quo regarding what Black women can wear and who they can be. Proving that there are no limits to what you can achieve when you lead with originality, she encourages powerful Black women to explore alternative facets of clothing and wear whatever they feel, because that’s how fashion should be.
The social media influencer and model chatted with Hypebae about cultivating her appreciation for fashion at a young age, the emotions her outfits exude, being a beacon for other young Black women, and more below.
Tell me about your fashion journey leading up to now. Were you always a fashion girlie even as a child?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve always had an individual sense of style since I was young. I started going to the thrift shop around six, and when I was about 13 or 14, that was when I really started getting into fashion, drifting towards vintage Y2K and 80s garments. So I would say that I’ve always been a fashion girlie at my core.
What aspects of pop culture did you indulge in at a young age that translate to your style now?
I’m West African with my family being from Sierra Leone, so a lot of the media that I saw growing up was West African Media. With old Nollywood movies, there’s so much Y2K inspiration that really influenced my style. On another note, the Nicki Minaj, Harajuku Barbie era was really influential with the colorful outfits. I’m a big Pinterest fan; I could spend hours just researching different styles and subcultures within fashion. Early ’00s Disney Channel was also a place for inspiration. Raven Symone as Raven Baxter was an icon and I loved her style. I always wanted to dress like her and even Hannah Montana; she’s that girl forever.
So many aspiring fashion icons look up to you for your fierce sense of self — not only is your style uniquely you, but it is effortlessly cool. What characterizes ‘cool’ to you?
Being effortlessly cool is people just being themselves. In this generation, it is especially tough for people to wear what they want to wear without the fear of being ridiculed. When in reality, there’s nothing wrong with just waking up and wearing the tackiest outfit ever if it’s the coolest to you. I feel like people always like it when someone pushes the mold and presents a new perspective with garments; some will always hate on it at first — thats a given. If you can be effortlessly yourself, even if it’s the most basic outfit in the world or an outfit full of color, if you’re rocking it the way you want to and feeling confident, then that’s effortlessly cool in my eyes.
If your younger self could see how far you’ve come, what would she say?
No lie. I’m a Leo moon. So, honestly, younger me, I don’t think would be that surprised because I never really knew what I wanted to do after high school. But at the same time, I just knew I would be successful. I didn’t know specifically how I was going to get there but I’m just delusional as hell. For me, I always had the belief that I was going to be successful with whatever I did because I work hard for everything that I have. So, I think she would be proud of me for sure. She would tell me to keep going. Period.
This is going to be a tough question to answer, but what are some of your favorite pieces in your closet?
For sure, my Demonias boots; I have two pairs, pink and white. Oh my god, my earmuffs. Duh, which I’m not wearing today but my pink star earmuffs are always my go-to. I also have to say my arm warmers, I just love wearing my arm warmers even when it’s hot.
What is your advice to those still trying to discover their personal style?
I feel like you first have to let go of your fear of perception because I feel like everyone will always project their insecurities on you. That’s just how human beings are so, once you realize that everyone will have their own perception of you — positive or negative — regardless of what you wear, that gives you a sense of freedom just to wear what you want. Something else I would say is just to try new things and explore different areas of fashion. I always recommend to everyone to go to a thrift store because it’s inexpensive and you can gauge what look you’re going for by just putting the most random fits together to see if that works. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if people will judge you for it.
Fashion offers a wide range of sub-genres; what first comes to mind when you think about alternative culture and style? How does it feel to be one of the people in the forefront?
How does it feel to be a trailblazer for Black women within the fashion industry and seeing young Black girls embrace ‘Aliyahcore’ style?
For some, outfits and fashion are like a canvas, allowing one to convey emotions or make statements. With your personal style, ‘Aliyahcore,’ what statement and feelings do you want to evoke?
You’ve walked in Barcelona Fashion Week for Dominico after Tweeting about the brand biting your aesthetic and saying they could’ve just used you. How was it seeing your aesthetic reach a global audience?
That was such a surreal moment to me because it showed me how manifestation is so real. I didn’t expect it to go as far as it did. When I even quoted that tweet, I was just being silly on Twitter. I didn’t think the designer would see it or anyone else would see it. I’m so glad that they did because I was in Barcelona Fashion Week and it just showed me that even though my style right now is alternative and it could be strictly streetwear, it can also be translated into high fashion. Not too long ago I was using the sidewalks of Atlanta as my runway then to actually walk on one for fashion week was a major manifestation moment.
Since we are on the topic of manifestation, what is your dream fashion collaboration? Let’s put it out into the universe now.
Blumarine and Schiaparelli would be amazing. I could do so much with them. I would love to add my own twist to high fashion as well, so collaborating on some pieces with high fashion brands like Chanel, Dior, or even Versace would be a dream.
- Noel Austin, Kayla Curtis-Evans
- Noel Austin