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Bill Kaulitz on style role models,
unnecessary gender boundaries and dealing with cyberbullying

It always has to be a bit extreme!” – Bill Kaulitz on how important it is to stand by yourself

No more excitement. Even if they are worn by boys or men. But back then, when the success story of Tokio Hotel, began and they mixed up the almost prudish German pop culture with their look and their music, there was no such thing except for a few exceptions. What that meant for Bill Kaulitz, what power he drew from it, and what power fashion still has for him today, read this and more in the exclusive Vogue interview.

Men are allowed to do that and women are allowed to – this thought was never there for me,” says musician Bill Kaulitz as we meet the lead singer of Tokio Hotel, shortly before the current “Melancholic Paradise” tour in Berlin. We’re here today to share Bill‘s old stage costumes and talk about fashion and style. The 29-year-old is always at the point, answers quickly and quickly and is to have fun for everyone. In the resulting video, he talks about his always expressive style of clothing, why strict gender separations are finally abolished and how important role models such as Nena or David Bowie were to him. He also explains that he almost never reads comments and shares his refreshing treatment of criticism: “They do not like that, then it must be right!

How has your interest in fashion developed?

I started sewing and making things myself when I was a little kid – at that time I did not have any money, but I never wanted to wear what the other kids wore. I always wanted to attract attention, I always needed that feeling of freedom and to be able to be visual. My mom always sewed and made things for me. It was so cute – now, looking back, I’m so glad I had a mom that was so cool. I always drew and sketched. Since I’m six, I’m also a huge David Bowie fan, so fashion has always been important to me.

Can you still remember the first piece your mother sewed?

One of the first pieces was a T-shirt with my arms cut off. She then sewed me the collar of a denim jacket on top. There I was, I believe, nine, I thought that was really good! I always had it on.

Where did your inspiration come from?

My inspirations back then were movies. “The Journey into the Labyrinth” with David Bowie is my absolute childhood film, which I could say! We had it on video at the time, and at some point the movie hung because I looked at it so often – there was this goblin king, his hair, the collars and jackets he was wearing, all the ruffles and ornaments and leggings and high ones Boots – that was great. And I was a huge Nena fan. This 80s fashion with the headbands, cut T-shirts with safety pins was mine. I watched a lot of films. “The Basketball Diaries”, “Kids”, or “We Children from the Zoo Station”.

How has what you want to express with your clothes changed since you were in public?

Fashion has always underscored what I felt. For example, when I look back at what I used to wear and what I liked, I would not put it on now. But at the time it was always authentic and always what I felt. Most of the time it came completely spontaneously. I have never considered the looks forever before. Back when I was so young, it was so important for me to wear the make-up and hair that way. It was always just a feeling that I expressed, and of course a rebellion against the norm. I have always liked to convince people of the opposite. For example, physical education teachers who said I had to do sports with the girls, they would not teach me – so I had to get a one on the testimony.

It always has to be a bit extreme. We also go on tour to countries where it is dangerous to dress like this. But I think it’s important to travel to exactly those countries because there are people who need exactly that, who care about what it’s like to see something like that, and who care about it. As a little boy, that’s exactly what I needed. I needed a Bowie, I needed a Nena, and I needed the people who came to us to perform, because there were just those dazzling characters.

What role does your clothing play in your masculinity and femininity, or how do you see yourself as a person in this world?

I like breaking rules. That is, I have never had this “men and women are allowed to do that”. I never had that in me, whereas with my brother Tom it was very different – for him it was very important to express his masculinity about his style as well. I found that as a young boy totally unjust, because women have such a wide choice and there is always only this small department for men.

Besides, the women’s things fit me better. I was such a petite, skinny boy. I thought early on that you should always only do different sizes and finally have to abolish these departments. Of course I also play in my stage costumes. I like both, even the extremes: for example, from incredibly high shoes to a very masculine look, a suit, for example, with flat shoes.

I am also dressed in everyday life very different. I have days where I feel extreme, at others more chic or comfortable – I like everything and could never decide on a direction. You immediately slip into such a new role, and when I put on something fancy, the hangover is actually gone – almost as if I had drunk two liters of water.

At a very young age, you began to put on make-up or make your hair, which is now more mainstream.

Today, this make-up theme is much easier. We have arrived at a point where everything is much more fluid. Where we also dare more. I remember when I started, and everyone was totally shocked. I still believe that you have to stand up for your style and insist on your freedom and fight for it. I live in an insanely modern city, L.A., but of course there are a lot of places where that’s not the case. Since people do not dare to put on make-up or styled to go to school.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would guess to always listen to my heart and really trust my instincts. I’ve always done that, but there were times when I let others confuse me. Whenever that happened, something came out that I was not satisfied with.

If you look back at your outfits, what were your favorites and what were some things that you do not like anymore?

In retrospect, there are already moments that were totally wrong, when I think to myself then: “Wow, what did you do there?” But you can see that with many artists. At the beginning, you do not have any money and therefore can not afford expensive clothes – all you have is this idea, and that’s usually very good, because you have to be creative with the things you have.

Shortly thereafter, there is the phase where you make a lot of money, and most of the time you run and buy all the big labels, starting to dress up completely. This is the phase where you are really lost. As you usually look very bad. Everything is branded and you do not know how to handle all the money. At some point you will find your own style or way again by looking back to the idea.

I’ve always enjoyed going to Gucci at 15, and people looked at me, “What does this kid want here ?!” Then I bought half the shop empty. Or Dior back then, those were the only jeans that fit me, I had them in almost all colors!

They are very active on social media. Did that change your way of seeing yourself?

Actually, social media has not changed my way of dressing. It makes it easier to consume and quickly share fashion, and to see what happens. I document that and share that with the people, but that’s just me. I do not read any comments, and I do not know cyber bullying. Also because of course I have always received negative comments so young, so I meanwhile have the thickest coat ever. Rather, on the contrary, when people do not like the things I do, they usually like me the better: “They do not like that, then it must be right!

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