Few things are more closely entwined than music and fashion. Dating back generations, fashion trends have been heavily influenced by the vibes, sounds, and styles of the era’s most popular music genres. From the Care Bears and jelly sandals of the 1980s to the Dr. Martens and Mars Attacks t-shirts of the 1990s, music has always had a powerful impact on the styles that define each generation. In this article, we examine the ever-morphing relationship between music and fashion to uncover the true influence of each on the other.
1. Music as a Driver of Fashion
Fashion has long been synonymous with musicians. Many of the greatest trendsetters over the last century and a half emerged from the world of music. Elvis Presley sent millions into a frenzy and inspired countless kids to ape his famous style. The Fab Four caused a swell of followers eager to try their unmistakable look. There is no denying the great influence of music when it comes to steering the flow of fashion.
The link between fashion and music is a symbiosis, with each informing the other. Music has the power to define fashion in different eras. When Madonna graced the stage, she brought a completely new look to the masses. Female Pop stars dazzled us all with the power of their style. Male rock stars don’t lag far behind. Adele continued to innovate her look even after she rose to stardom.
Music has been known as the embodiment of fashion—pretty much any fashion item you can think of has a link to the world of music. Leather jackets, jeans, and sneakers are all staples of the modern wardrobe partially due to their association with musicians. Among the genres, hip-hop holds a special place in the history of fashion. From fast sneaker trends to designer labels and caps, the impact of hip-hop on fashion has been profound.
It’s clear that fashion is inextricably linked to music. The looks of iconic artists and the music they create help dictate how millions of people around the world dress and look — a testament to the power of music. Music has and will continue to be a powerful driver of fashion for many years to come.
2. The Interplay Between Music and Clothing
At first glance, it may appear that music and clothing have little to do with one another, however, a closer look reveals a strong and complex interplay between the two. Whether it be a style of dress accompanying a specific type of music, or clothing worn by a certain artist or subculture, music and clothing have been intertwined in many cultures for centuries.
To begin, fashion designers have long been inspired by musical styles when creating new trends. For instance, punk-style clothing, which became popular in the mid-1970s, was heavily influenced by the punk rock music of the same era. Furthermore, the rave scene of late 80s and 90s was accompanied by a style of dress that included neon colors, fluorescents, and flashy accessories. These trends, each closely associated with a specific style of music, helped introduce a unique fashion for each era.
On the other hand, the clothing worn by a certain artist or subculture can also affect the way their music is viewed. Take heavy metal music for example. The style of dress worn by bands in this genre often consists of torn jeans, leather jackets, and spiked accessories – creating a distinct look synonymous with the music. This strong visual representation can make a powerful statement, helping to create an identity that reflects the spirit of the musical movement.
In conclusion, it’s clear that the relationship between music and clothing can be seen in many cultures, across many eras. Through the fusion of fashion with various types of music, singers and subcultures are capable of creating unique identities that truly speak to their respective scenes. By no means is clothing required for creating music, but the two have always had a strong interplay that’s been difficult to ignore.
3. Musical Styles – From the Streets to the Catwalk
Music has always played an important role in style and fashion. The melodies, beats, and grooves from the streets are often modified and adapted by designers, influencing and shaping the look and feel of the catwalk. And so, it is essential for any aspiring fashion designer to understand and appreciate the variety of musical styles that make their way into the fashion world.
Modern day musical styles have created a fusion of fashion and music that is unique and powerful. Styles like hip-hop, electronic, and soul have all been used to reinterpret garments in unexpected ways. By integrating elements from these genres into its current designs, a fashion designer can start to create a look that is intricate and adventurous.
Different musical styles help to distinguish fashion looks from one another, often creating a strong visual statement. From rock and roll to contemporary rap music, designers can often compose pieces that are simultaneously stylish and edgy. For example, skinny jeans coupled with vintage biker boots can be a rebellious street look that is inspired by punk. Or, a mix of leather and denim put together with a pair of freshly-pressed sneakers can be a cool hip-hop inspired outfit.
As we can see, whether it’s the streets or the catwalk, music has the power to shape our fashion choices. By understanding the dynamics of different musical styles, fashion designers can create unique looks that stand out and inspire. Here are a few tips for mixing music and style:
- Research different musical genres and their signature elements.
- Experiment with mixing and matching various fashion pieces.
- Feel the rhythm and let fabrics and ‘vibes’ speak to you.
4. How Technology Has Changed Music-Fashion Relationships
The relationship between music and fashion goes back hundreds of years, but technology has drastically changed the dynamic between the two. Here are four ways technology has transformed the relationship between music and fashion:
- Influencers: Technology has made it easy for influencers to gain a huge online presence. As a result, they can reach thousands or millions of people and easily showcase different pieces of clothing. Music festivals and other musical events have become major marketing opportunities for fashion brands looking to expand their reach.
- Branding: The traditional notion of branding has been spun on its head by technology. Music and fashion can now be used together to create and promote cross-branding opportunities, making marketing more efficient and more effective.
- Interconnected Ecosystems: Technology has enabled all aspects of music and fashion to be interconnected—from allowing users to create customized looks by mixing and matching pieces, to appealing to diverse demographics. Technology has made fashion more accessible and customizable than ever before.
- Social Sharing: Social media has given fashion and music a massive platform to interact, communicate, and share. By enabling users to easily post their favorite music and fashion moments to networks such as Instagram or Twitter, fashion and music can quickly reach a much wider audience.
Technology has exploded the boundaries of music and fashion, and allowed them to come together in a way never seen before. It’s allowed music to influence fashion, fashion to influence music, and the two to combine to create new opportunities and experiences.
5. Audience Participation: Music Infusing Our Wardrobes
In a world of vibrant hues and blends of style, it’s no surprise that music has made its way into our wardrobes. Music has a unique power to define, unify, and express – and that translates to our fashion statement in a major way. It’s becoming more and more common to spot music-inspired tendencies in our everyday looks.
Let’s take a look at a few of the popular music-infused pieces:
- Leather Jackets – During the 70s, leather jackets were all the rage for rockers and punk enthusiasts alike. Now a classic staple, they usually feature iconic album covers, meaningful slogans, and even hand-painted designs.
- Band Tees – Drawing inspiration from the original tour dates and album art of iconic hits, these are a signature apparel for many.
- Abstract Prints – Characterized by bright colors, distorted images, and surreal vibes, these frequently reflect the EDM and electronic world of music.
- Graphic Accessories – Graphic caps, bags, and jewelry cultivate an air of modernity, tapping into urban-jazz, hip-hop, and indie styles.
In today’s eclectic scene, music-enthusiasts of any genre welcome the opportunity to express themselves through unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. With streetwear brands designing exclusive looks for special releases and collaborations, there’s no limit to the styles available. Music is here to stay, and it’s making its way to our closets too.
It’s clear that music is more than just notes and melodies. It has the power to bring people together, evoke strong emotion, and explain stories that words can’t express. In the same way, music has a direct and powerful influence on shaping fashion trends around the world. Move over Coco, we see a bright new day of creativity brought on by the beat of new music!