"People will see you before they know what you sound like, and those things have to be similar in some way"
Music and Fashion are somehow connected? It might be something you’ve never thought about, but, well, it actually is – and the bond is way deeper than one may imagine. This connection happened way before MTV was even a thing, let along a revolution. The truth is that sound and image have to walk together, people will see you before they know what you sound like, and those things have to be similar in some way. Having a strong image is a way to help musicians or bands to stand out and to pass some specific message, one that should compliment the music offered.
You can see it for yourself. Think about some legendary music artists and see how they have a distinctive and pretty much unique image associated to them (Ariana Grande’s ponytail for example – that’s the picture that forms inside your head when you think about them) and it will be easier to understand the importance of having it and how it helps to make them recognisable by everybody. But it doesn’t work just in favor of the artists, because we, as music listeners, are naturally inclined to dress a certain way as we’re trying to adapt to the scene we’re into – this great desire to blend with others who share the same taste and interests as we do is naturally written in our DNA, so we are constantly trying to find our people and fitting in with them, and what better way to do it than sharing the style and the airpods?
The relationship between fashion and popular music is much larger and one of abundant and mutual creativity. Influences that comes both ways have resulted in some of the most dynamic apparel visualizations ever created in popular culture, so it’s safe to say that some of the biggest fashion trends came from the music scenario. Some creations were made for the stage and music videos, creating memorable and ever lasting pictures in pop culture, others become actual long-lasting fashion trends, which settle in to become referential.
When understandig this deep connection, we have to start by acknowledging the three collaborations to exist. The first one is when fashion designers and entertainment celebrities use fashion to fit some specific project. The second collaboration occurs when youth subcultures articulate themselves through fashion – like the punk movement – and the third one is when the fashion industry itself interprets a musicled theme. The outcome of many associations of the performer and the designer or stylist is usually a confirmation of the extant youth subcultural fashion they represent. At this point, new perspectives, new methods, and new resonances of fashion are made when fashion and music are linked to subcultural expression.
Music has walked along with fashion and style since its very beginning. However, today’s musicians have much more impact on being and creating what’s trendy and cool. While continuously cosigning labels in their songs, having more and more brand deals, and even creating their own clothing lines, these new artists greatly influence fashion in a way that has never been done before.
But that’s not something being done without any thought. As music is becoming more mainstream, many more opportunities for creating impact becomes available. Starting in the early 2010’s and coming all the way to nowdays, famous artists like Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West all have heavy influence on today’s trending styles. In today’s dinamic, it’s actually a rare thing to see a famous musician without a brand deal or some kind of endorsement. Pharell Williams, designer and musician, have worked with more than one big, famous brand like Chanel, Bape and Adidas. Another great example is Kanye West, one of the most famous rappers who also happens to own Yeezy, a brand that has done only as much as impacting the whole streetwear scene as we know it today, so, you know, nothing big. And stepping out of rap music, we have many more artists with a big fashion impact. Rihanna changed the lingerie world and the whole idea of a fashion show with Fenty, Billie Eilish is creating her own idea of style and making her young, but very solid fan base go along with her and wear her baggy oversized outfits – this 20 year old girl even has people all over the world wearing her neon-colored beanies and shirts with her name on it.
We are currently dealing with the most influential brands at the moment, so I think it’s only fair to say those example are living proof of how music deeply influences creativity and fashion. There’s no greater way to say it when we know that Virgil Abloh started off as a D.J. at small nightclubs and events before really getting into the fashion world. It took him a few years of doing music and collaborating with Kanye West’s album and art before he founded OFFWHITE in 2012. But even before that, he had his name signed in collaborations with brands like Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Balenciaga, he dressed and styles musicians like A$AP Rocky and Rihanna, and of course his long way partner Kanye West. Abloh’s fashion creations could easily be described as ironic, but no one can ever deny how his personal passion for music was somewhat reponsible for ledding him into fashion, proving once and for all that we can do many things, have many talents and create an everlasting impact on the world when we use this talent and passion the right way – and combining two things as great as fashion and music is a pretty good example.
Music is a big fashion ally, because it offers fashion any things more than just a theme or a movement. Sometime, a performer has a fashion awareness that directly influences fashion as a whole, and as today’s musicians continue to have a pretty close relationship with fashion, these two things will not be walking apart anytime soon. As long as we are still seeing constant cosigns, brand deals, and merchandise, it is clear that music will continue to impact fashion trends and inspire different styles as we know them today. Even though the new decade brought a lot of new trends, fashion actually started to rely on the past for the past few seasons, bringing back clothing and style from past decades, while every emergent subculture reinterpreted old trends with a modern twist.
Fashion and music have their ways to walk and work alone and often independently create similar themes, yet is the specific dynamic interaction between them that motivates new reactions that might not have occurred if they were not together. The phenomenon of sub-cultural fashion holds image and popular music in balance and equal significance, creating important fashion moments that comes from these restless forms. Formalized fashion ideas are usually based in some sort of emphatic trepidation, which natural impulses are to objectify popular music and subcultures. This is why developments away from formalized fashion customs can only be made when the agenda is no longer centered on the commerce, but in the irreverence and irrationality of making and creatiang real fashion images that goes deeper than selling something.
Music and fashion have a lot more in common than one may think, and they are both ever-changing things. The two will keep on walking towards the future, sometimes sibe by side and sometimes bot being that close – but never too far.