This outfit sticks in my mind because I wore it for the launch of my first book. It seemed to vibrate all the things that I wanted to vibrate; I still felt like myself, but also like the elevated author character that I was having to play. It’s a trouser suit by Roksanda with wide culotte trousers. It has a silk scarf that goes through the suit and trails out the bottom, which felt very sophisticated and “from another time”.
This look is very me – quirky details follow me through the more elevated moments of my everyday wardrobe. I like clothes that feel fresh and surprising. It has taken a long time for me to really dress as the artist that I am: I’m an indie girl, I like experimental, I like things to be subverted. Details are the fun part.
My best friend stayed over the night before the launch, and she said: “Why do I feel like I’m on my way to your wedding?” Right now, that suit does feel like my wedding dress, because it’s what I wore to mark the biggest, riskiest commitment of my life.
Nowadays, I’ve got more of a signature style on the red carpet, as well as more of a sense of the trends that I feel good in and where I like to shop. The characters I have played are often called out for their style, especially Vod [from Fresh Meat]. She became a bit of a cultural style icon, which was incredible, but people don’t expect me to turn up looking like her now – I don’t have a shaved head, for a start. What a character wears and how it affects their mood and their movements has always been very important to me. A character’s clothes, if they’re truthful, can make audiences feel something.
The same can be said when it comes to makeup. I have spoken before about the need for the beauty industry to become more inclusive and wearable – some brands have come a long way, but there is always more progress to be made. It’s wonderful that newer brands such as Fenty are making clear statements about being for all skin tones.
Character Breakdown by Zawe Ashton is published by Chatto & Windus (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.95, go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846.