The collaboration; it’s brought us the good (BadGirlRiRi x PUMA), the trend-setting (Seditionaries x The Sex Pistols), and the “I’m not paying £100 for that ‘Purpose’ tour merch tee” (Justin Bieber x Jerry Lorenzo).
Music and fashion has had a mutually beneficial, innovative and stimulating relationship for decades. Designers want musicians to wear their designs, and musicians want free clothes. Cheeky.
I’m just wondering the reasoning behind why big name brands bring in the big name musicians for collab collections? There are collaborations that make sense, you can easily and obviously see the benefits each side of the collab will gain – whether it’s dollar, publicity or what the two parties stand for is similar. Many can easily slot into one of these categories, but what about those that don’t?
H&M joined the collaborative bandwagon about 15 years ago when they released a collection with Karl Lagerfield – and they’ve kept the theme running with further partnered collections with huge designers since then. They had Roberto Calvalli in 2007, Comme des Garçons in 2008, Versace in 2011/2012, and Balmain in 2015. The list is as impressive as it is consistently fab. All of these collections were hugely successful at the time of their release. With these collaborations, the two parties were working towards narrowing the often cavernous gap between high street and high end. And that’s something us sorry people are very thankful for.
But what place do musicians have in the fashion world? And just how much say should they have in the designing process? Would you trust a singer who’s outfits are more often than not picked out by their experienced stylist? We all know that most famous people couldn’t dress pre-fame, just look at the entire cast of Geordie Shore.
These collabs are meant to make the exclusive accessible for everybody. Bring the unattainable to a reality – dress like your fave artist. Keep a piece of them with you. You know the saying, if you can’t join them, dress like them and pretend you’re Beyoncé whilst dancing round your room in a skirt she may or may not have had some input in designing (circa H&M x Beyoncé collab 2003).
Pop stars are often put on a pedestal and their fashion idolised by the masses, but do these stars dress so well that they have a say in influencing professional designers, big brands and eventually the masses?
Soon, we’ve got the H&M and Zara Larsson collaboration coming to stores and online. And for H&M’s target audience – they’re probably absolutely nailing it. But all I know about Zara Larsson is that she has that annoyingly catchy song I wish I didn’t like. And that is kinda the same for the collection.
Like, I don’t think I’d ever wear a hot pink cap with ‘lush life’ written across the forehead. I don’t think I’d even have worn it during the noughties when caps and slogans were all the rage. But I feel like I kinda want to wear it.
Zara said there was a “strong theme of empowerment and feminism”, with streetwear come gymwear come stagewear pieces in her collection. Although, I just wish this “strong theme of empowerment and feminist” message was more than just a slogan “cats against catcalling” scrawled next to a print of a pussycat on a denim jacket.
Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s Head of Design, told Billboard: “For us, the most important thing is that we collaborate with personalities that hold a unique style and have a high knowledge about fashion. Music and fashion have always inspired one another. I think this will be ongoing phenomena.” And she ain’t wrong. I just maybe think instead of collaborating with people who genuinely do have that fashion knowledge, or who have something important they wanna say, they collaborate with who their target audience will be most inclined to buy from.
But I suppose that’s just business, baby.
Words by Eliza Frost