Industry Icons to Music Majors
When it comes to runway shows, especially infamous Fashion Week, the focus seems to settle on the “who’s who” and what they are wearing, rather than the collection that gathered to view in the first place. This has been longstanding, but in recent decades we’ve seen a shift from the business moguls, models, editors and socialites occupying the exclusive front row to singers, rappers, and DJs.
So, when did musicians become viable for the hottest seats in fashion?
Music and fashion. The two seemingly separate industries are continuously intertwined, resulting in the biggest artists of today becoming significant influencers of trends and culture. Rihanna, one of the biggest artists in the world, performed a set at Coachella in a pair of studded shorts from, a then up and coming brand, The Ragged Priest. Within hours, they were sold out and studded jean shorts were seen everywhere. Simply because of who she is, Rihanna was able to not only boost exposure for a brand in an immense way, but drive a trend that soon everyone began to sport.
The exchange of creativity between the two fields has produced some of the greatest pieces throughout fashion history, whether that’s through subculture articulation, designer and entertainer collaborations or interpretation of a musical theme by the fashion industry. The A.P.C Kanye capsule collection is a classic example of entertainer-designer collaboration.
The French brand collaborated with Kanye to produce every-day wardrobe staples that packed a punch. Although Kanye went on to do other collaborations, it was this one that encouraged people to take him seriously as a fashion designer. On multiple occasions these joining forces have shaken the course of fashion, changing the opinions and facts of what we once thought fashion was. Some of the greatest collaborations to date, introduced using not only fashion and music, but art as a whole. An iconic example is the collaboration between art director Jean-Paul Goude and Grace Jones, when in the 80's Goude interpreted Jones’ body as an object of fashion leading to revolutionary music videos and adverts. And, we can’t forget the outbreak of the “high top” hair trend of black youth, as a result of copycatting Grace Jones’ iconic haircut.
People are consumed with everything that artists, celebrities and bloggers are doing, eating, wearing, and dating. You name it, people want to know it – I myself am no exception. Celebrity dating is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. It’s likely to do with the fact that for a lot of people the ostentatious and extravagant lifestyle celebrities lead is something that many are attracted to and aspire to achieve. In some ways, following and aiming to dress like them, is one tiny step towards living the life they have.
Since we live in a society where people are so invested in the way that influencers live, it’s no wonder designers want them front and centre debuts of their new collections. If someone like A$AP Rocky is seen sporting a garment, it’s branded a “fire” piece, and everyone starts copying. His song 'RAF', in regards to Raf Simmons, with A$AP mob and an assortment of other artist's is the epitome of fashion-influenced-music, which in turn, influences fashion. The A$AP Rocky’s pure love of the brand inspired a whole song dedicated to telling people “please don’t touch my RAF". The song put an official stamp on the brand, telling everyone that it was an even bigger staple in streetwear fashion than it actually was. Designers need these relationships with music artists and celebrities; if someone of high social status, like Beyoncé, Rihanna, or YoungThug is seen sitting front row and posting on social media, it makes it instantly popping.
As the world evolves, the fashion world evolves with it. Front row fillers go to musicians instead of editors, because social media has performed a massive take over. More and more outlets are transitioning into digital media. As the world dives deeper into social media the importance of staying relevant continues to grow.
Platforms like Instagram and Twitter have come to hold a dominant place in society, and the artists and influencers that are the most tapped into social media are running the show. Social media has quickly become a major part of every business marketing scheme, and for good reason. It’s sad to say that people are way more likely to listen to what their favourite artists think about a designer, rather than a qualified fashion editor. Designers need buzz... and artists have the goods.
Obviously, publicity is extremely valuable to a designer, but with magazines and the public only caring about who’s attending, what they’re wearing, and street-style, don’t you think it’s sad that the weeks dedicated to debuting collections are concerned less with the actual collections?
Perhaps, we need to do an overhaul on the PR strategy. If the PR for the designers changes, and focus returns to the collections on display, then slowly but surely the status quo of fashion will return to focus on the designs, not those who sit and watch their reveals.
All in all, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that musicians have a firm hand on the FROW, but designers and their designs, deserve a return to the spotlight.
By Anesha Ramikie @aramikie
Images Not Owned by ASBO Magazine