PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATEUS PORTO
In the fray of Paris Fashion Week, we found a few spare minutes to chat with up-and-comer Izzy Spears. Coming off the heels of supporting Yves Tumor on their recent European tour dates — and having released his debut single “FIST” only a few weeks prior — Spears’s inertia was palpable.
Though presently based in Los Angeles, Spears lived in his hometown of Atlanta for much of his life. Through his teens and early twenties, Spears worked primarily in fashion, casting and on-set production, while occasionally making music under various names. During these early years, his moniker “Izzy” was coined, an allusion to the gawky-looking mascot for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The addition of “Spears” to his stage name came later, an homage to queen Britney.
Spears’s recent burst of momentum started in 2019 when he connected backstage at a fashion show with Shayne Oliver, the founder and creative director of both the fashion label Hood by Air and cross-disciplinary collective Anonymous Club. Later freestyling together in Oliver’s studio, the pair played off each other’s energy to produce the singles “Bleedinout” and “Hollywood Meltdown” (on these 2021 tracks Oliver is credited as LEECH). As these releases gained attention, Izzy prepared to launch his solo career.
SPIKED JOCKSTRAP BY TOI ANO.
In 2021, Spears began production on his debut EP Monstar. The largely autobiographical project, which KRO records put out in November, blends rap, punk, horrorcore, and grunge. The sound, lyrics, and accompanying visuals together build an image of Spears that’s raw and uncensored, expanding on the geist of the early singles Spears made with Oliver. Each of Monstar’s six tracks centers around experiences from the last several years of Spears’s life, with an emphasis on chaos. In the music video for “FIST,” Spears showers in a hotel room and proceeds to tweak through crowded city streets — a metaphor, according to Spears, for uncaging himself from emotional burden and exploring a wilder sense of self.
There’s a strong aesthetic sensibility to Spears’s project. And though he’s adamant he’s “no fashion doll,” Spears is at home experimenting with looks on and off the stage. Like his tour-mate Yves Tumor, Izzy is queering unexpected combinations of subcultural signifiers, remixing different masc symbols from heavy chains to studded belts, grunge button-downs to baseball jerseys, while also sometimes injecting elements of androgyny. Spears is hungry to expand his aesthetic vision in different directions, already at work on his next EP as well as a short film. It’s clear Spears is fixed on creating an Izzy World, extending his creativity as far as it can reach.
BODYSUIT BY JW ANDERSON.
Izzy Spears photographed in Brooklyn. September, 2022.