Fashion and music have long been collaborating; without one, the other lacks inspiration and promotion.
Throughout time, both of the industries have held this inevitably to each other – it’s rare that they ever remain entirely separate. However, to successfully merge both together is something which is unique and special. However, hip-hop collective A$AP Mob are – and have been for a long time – doing this effortlessly, blending art, fashion and design alike with their musical world.
Head honcho A$AP Rocky is a modern polymath has become synonymous with the fashion industry since bursting onto the music scene with his debut mixtape. The self-christened Fashion Killa is the current face of Dior Homme and, back in February, collaborated with Guess an exclusive – and rapturously received – capsule collection titled ‘GUE$$’, taking its inspiration from ’90s vintage. ““Fashion is almost like a religion, for me at least,” he once noted. “I don’t give a fuck about what everybody else thinks. I’m like, I get it, I identify with it. And that’s just it. It’s just one of those things that I’m into. I can’t help that I know it. It’s like subconsciously.” Touché.
What Rocky and the mob do so well is blend the gap between fashion and music, resulting a collective which celebrate both together simultaneously in a way unlike any other band or artist has done before them. Take, for example, their latest single, ‘Feels So Good’ which plays out like a runway show in its startlingly minimal video. Having being filmed on a hand-held camera, the visual is reminiscent of the late Yeezy Season 3 collection, which no needs introduction in its status as music-fashion love-in.
Moreover, preluding track – aptly titled ‘Raf’ – sees the clan paying homage to past Dior Creative Director and indisputable fashion royalty Raf Simons. The accompanying music video operates as a visual lookbook of clothing designed by the man himself, modelled by members of the group as the tune plays out. Throughout the song, members namecheck designers such as J.W. Anderson, Rick Owens, Maison Margiela and Gucci, as well as boasting about their own respective collections of high-end gear (“Do you know how I’m spendin’? / My closet it worth ‘bout a milli”).
What is most exciting about the use of fashion throughout A$AP Mob’s lyrics and videos is that it is representing a positive image of the industry, as well as helping a realm that is more forward-thinking – one in which music is not only accompanying shows and campaigns, but part of the label and house. With Rocky becoming the face of Dior Homme, it is easy to see how the collective are making their stamp on the fashion history; the rapper is the first person of colour to front the label besides Rihanna, who was the face of the women’s label.
Other members of the group have also moved onto independent steps into the fashion world. ASAP Ferg creating a collaboration with Young and Fearless, exclusively for Pacsun back in 2014 (“I was the designer who knew how to rap, but now, I’m just a rapper who knows how to design”). Frank Ocean, too, while not an official member, appeared in the aforementioned ‘RAF’ and is a known collaborator – his status as a fashion darling needs no introduction.
The collective is making tandem movements within both industries – and they’re winning. Together, A$AP Mob are inspiring labels and houses, which in unison is pushing creativity and an open mind from both sides.The celebration of fashion within music is something that is unique; it makes for something more inclusive, more diverse and more daring. We say keep it up.
Words by Daisy Scott