'' MUSIC IS FASHION, FASHION IS MUSIC ''

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 Greetings [DRIPSET] Family! 

I haven’t posted anything on the blog for the longest time, mainly because I was working on the new capsule collection, ‘’CHAOS THEORY ACT II’’, please do check it out after reading this post (if you haven’t already) Today’s blog is about something I have been thinking about recently, A LOT. I have mentioned it briefly in previous posts but I’ve decided to go into depth in this post. The correlation between fashion and music.

THE RELATIONSHIP

The relationship between music and fashion is one that is obvious and cannot be ignored. The reason is because music and fashion are relatively the same thing. HOW? You probably asking yourself how they are the same if fashion is tangible but music isn’t. Also how music makes a sound but fashion doesn’t. But it’s quite ironic because we wear music all the time therefore we can hear fashion, making it the same thing. Lol I hope I did not confuse some of you guys, but it is what it is. Well basically what I am trying to say is that music has been, for many individuals, a way to de-stress, brighten up a dull day, express their feelings and forth. Whether its gospel, trap, hip-hip or RnB. Fashion too like I once described in my older posts, is used and can be as a way of expressing ones feelings. Dressing up in your favourite outfit or buying a new clothing item when everything is going down south can do wonders. As mediums of expression, fashion and music merge into one; hence have an influence on each other. You can easily get a basic idea of someone’s personality, preferences and character through going through their closet or favourite playlist. Believe me you, in most cases your closet and playlist have A LOT in common.

However from my perspective, music has the upper hand in terms of influence. The sound itself and the creator combined have been arguably a very powerful factor in influencing fashion movements, design, and trends. This comes from observation and from me examining my music taste and fashion sense. Have you ever noticed how each genre of music has a specific decade whereby it’s very dominant therefore imposing a specific type of culture and trend amongst its listeners? Naturally people being people, end up following what everyone else is doing to fit in, hence the genre dominant at that particular time may greatly influence someone who has no idea about that genre.

Think of it this way; a great song alone can solely change your mood and play with your emotions, in a negative or good way. A classic example of how music influences fashion is how people who listen to country dress totally different from hip-hop fans. Most of the time this happens involuntarily, slowly but surely there will be a shift in your fashion sense.  Towards the type of music you fancy most. Now imagine the influence of music on fashion because of the mood and persona it gives you, coupled with the artist being your favourite. With the amount of influence artists have on their fans as celebs, it makes it is for them to dictate what’s hot and what not.

ERAS OF HEAVY MUSIC INLUENCE ON FASHION, THE FOUNDATION

The foundation of the influence of music was solidified decades before most of us were born. After reading this article you will understand how some things in fashioned were set and cast in stone long ago and just keep recurring in rotation. Ideas are almost never necessarily new but are derived from the foundation. The picture below shows a difference in over a decade, see what I mean?

Approximately, 1960-1990 can easily be labelled the foundation of music influence in fashion. It was so distinct and noticeable as millions of fans wore like their idols and fell in love with what I consider the strongest and timeless aesthetic when it comes to fashion. Around the 70s, it was the era of the likes of David Bowie, punk clothing going mainstream because of the Sex Pistols (a rock band). This era was that of edgy fashion personas, the hippie chic look and punk. For argument sake, if your parents were born around that time, or anyone you know, ask them for pictures and you will see how they were dressed compared to now. I always wondered why my dad looked like a rock star in most of his pictures lol.  In the 80s, glam was made popular by the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna. MJ loved wearing heavily accessorized outfits. Like his very shiny gloves etc., which were auctioned after he passed on, RIP.

However the strongest influence came from ‘’ grunge ‘’. Grunge emerged around the 70s but picked up great momentum in the 80s into the 1990s. This term genre was used and developed to describe bands such as the legendary Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. It is composed of murky guitars, a mixture of punk, old school rock n roll and heavy metal. Unlike punk and hippies,  these guys did not call themselves ‘’grungers’’. The grunge look was an edgy look of minimal to none coordination, the popular clothing items were T-shirts with old fashioned logos and fabric that looked like it has been washed so many times and the colour has begun to fade. Ripped and faded jeans, flannel shirt, woollen garment to layer the t-shirts, garments that looked unfinished and so forth. That is the grunge aesthetic, which also favoured bulky shoes that would resemble those used in combat. Grunge took comfort and being casual to a level that has never been seen before. Over-sized sweaters, cardigans that had holes in them, ratty tour shirts and the likes were favourites. This aesthetic made thrifting very popular. Many people started wearing this way because it allowed even for the low income class and it fit the grunge style of music extremely well.

Marc Jacobs was the very first to bring this style to runway in 1993, Spring collection for Perry Ellis. A collection that was evidently way before its time, heavily criticized then but considered one of the greatest collections right now.

Layered vintage of luxury fabrics followed from the likes of Dolce & Gabanna, Anna Sui and other designers. It did not do well on runway because the person/consumer who related most to it, could not afford the repackaged aesthetic at very high prices. For those who really love fashion and are always informed about trends, you probably already see the heavy similarities between the grunge era and the current one. They are almost exactly the same. Kurt Cobain nailed this aesthetic effortlessly and was one of the leaders and influencers behind this style.

THE CURRENT ERA 

Many of the styles currently, are as a result of music of past eras, like I mentioned, the grunge era. Kurt Cobain set trends and wore a lot of things before anyone could even think of it as ‘’possible’’ Ironically that music also has an influence on music currently.

Artists like Future, calls himself ‘’ Future Hendrix ‘’, Travis Scott has called himself a rock star often. With a lot of artists drawing inspiration from artists from the twentieth century, fashion has also borrowed several designs from that era. The likes of oversized clothing, thrifting and T-shirts with a lot of graphics or vintage looking in nature are favourites. Kanye West clothing, YEEZY Seasons, is a perfect example.

Currently musicians have been taking tour merch very serious, releasing several designs alongside their tour tickets for sale. For example the YEEZUS tour merch.

During the grunge era this was also common, see how that era serves as a foundation?  Because of social media, it’s easier for us as fans to keep up with our favourite artist. This makes it easier for people to imitate their favourite artist’s exact sense of fashion. Instagram alone has pages dedicated to celebrity fits alone to let fans know what exactly their favourite was wearing. I personally view the current status of music influence on fashion as a continuation of the grunge fashion culture with a mixture of the other earlier eras of music and fashion. Don’t get me wrong though, there are also tons of people who may not be fond of this type of fashion because their favourite artist promotes and presents a totally different fashion sense. Would you expect a Young Thug fan to dress like a Taylor Swift fan? I doubt. I feel like currently, music and musicians have influenced fashion by making layering (popular a few years back), juxtaposing patterns and textures a norm. There has been a significant growth too of DIY clothing, and not limiting oneself to specific designs. Music is influencing people to create self-expression through style. Another example is how currently most people are gaining confidence to scribble and write stuff on the sole of  a fresh pair of kicks or even buying a plain white shoe or denim jacket and painting on designs onto them. Jaden Smith has a similar aesthetic and most teens love him and try by all means to imitate his dressing, that’s the influence.

Virgil Abloh is living proof of how fashion and music are related. The OFF-WHITE founder has several musicians as his close friends. Therefore a lot of artists began wearing OFF-WHITE and in no time it was a streetwear brand competing with the biggest luxury companies. Virgil Abloh even went on to being hired by Louis Vuitton to be their menswear designer.

IF MUSIC INFLUENCES FASHION, DOES IT INFLUENCE HIGH FASHION & RUNWAY TOO ?

Yes, to a greater extent. Some musicians are so influential their fans will literally do anything or wear anything they do. Rihanna (and also Kylie Jenner) criticized one of snapchats updates via Twitter and it lost over 1 billion dollars in share value. Now imagine if Rihanna praises a certain brand or design constantly? Tha’s the influence.

High fashion brands know that very popular musicians could work wonders for the brand hence create contracts of endorsement and agreements whereby the artist is seen wearing that particular brand in public often and also promoting it. For example Jaden Smith with LV, Reebok with Future and Lil Baby, the list goes on. Rappers have a tendency of boasting about the luxury clothing they buy on tracks, that alone is enough to create a trend.  Everyone will want to have an item from that brand because almost every rapper brags about having it in their songs.

The designer who I feel embraced the influence of music in fashion and used it to his advantage is Virgil Abloh. From the article I wrote about Virgil on KickBackz NewYork I mentioned how he has been around musicians since as early as 2002. He designed the album art and tour merch for Jay-Z and Kanye West’s legendary ‘’ Watch The Throne ‘’ album. OFF-WHITE’s marketing strategy is based on the relationship of the brand with musicians. Virgil Abloh sends out free unreleased pieces, new collections and etc. to a lot of musicians hence the brand has developed a bond with the music world, making them extra special by hand signing them himself.

One of the most popular shoe collaborations up to date, ‘’The Ten’’ OFF-WHITE x Nike could be seen on a large number of celebrities social media pages, whilst they perform and even on regular paparazzi shots. Not just rap music only, Virgil Abloh also stretched out his catchment area by reaching out to ‘’ super artists ‘’ such as Beyonce. Now imagine how many people look out to these musicians as idols. This is arguably one of the reasons OFF-WHITE has been at an all-time high in terms of popularity amongst the masses and also why streetwear has broken into the mainstream and better yet, the runway. 

It just doesn’t end at fans buying the clothing because it’s their favourite artist. OFF-WHITE is streetwear, and the love of streetwear through music influence has become very significant. This is evident as high fashion brands such as Gucci has in co-operated it into their design. That’s influence. Louis Vuitton appointing Virgil, a streetwear designer, as the Menswear creative director shows how the influence of music in fashion is more of a butterfly effect, small causes and large effects. It can be argued that Virgil was appointed at LV because of how popular streetwear has become and with Virgil being at the forefront of this era, perfect timing for LV to use him to create exactly what the masses want.

The Balenciaga Triple-S goes down as one of the most sought after shoes of this era. Why? A shoe that has a grunge aesthetic, looking old and worn out. Made to deliberately look chunky as if it’s an oversized shoe but why was it on everyone’s wish list?  Because almost every musician flaunted their pair, that alone was a major influence on fashion consumers. Balenciaga being a popular luxury brand alongside with the influence from musicians sealed the deal.

I could go on and on but I am sure by now you have understood how music and fashion are highly correlated, with music having an upper hand. On part 2 of this topic I will go into depth of some of the pioneers of trends, who were musicians.

THANKS FOR READING! AND DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR NEW COLLECTION IN THE GALLERY SECTION. DM US ON INSTAGRAM OR EMAIL This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. TO PLACE AN ORDER.

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