Music Is Elevating the Balmain x H&M Launch

The Balmain x H&M collaboration, set to launch on Nov 5, is one of the most anticipated fashion collaborations H&M has ever produced. This is most likely due to the fact that it will not only bring the coveted, luxe lifestyle of the French Fashion House’s designs to the masses, but also has an amazing marketing campaign that has incorporated many influencers and new music to gain traction.

Led by Creative Director Olivier Rousteing, the #HMBALMAINATION campaign has strategically used music to elevate the new line collaboration to the next level. Starting with it’s launch event in NYC, the brand has been the talk of the town due to it’s unique promotional materials that are infused with music. At the launch event the popular boys’ band, Backstreet Boys, performed mid fashion show to a lot of people’s surprise. This huge fashion and music collaboration gained tuns of PR and buzz for #HMBALMAINATION.

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(Source: Vanity Fair)

In addition to making every girls’ dream come true with the return of the Backstreet Boys, a new #HMBalmainNation music video was released this week staring Kendall Jenner. Not only does the video feature one of the most popular models today, but it also features the official #HMBALMAINATION beat “Walk for Me” produced by Ferdinand and Vaz which the brand is encouraging fans to download from iTunes.

Style over Substance: Skinny Girl Diet’s Battle with Image

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Whether or not you agree with the saying that “image is everything,” you cannot deny the fact that image is a huge topic of discussion in the music industry. With fashion brands taking advantage of collaborations with musicians more than ever before, the importance of having good style is definitely a priority for bands; however, having a great sense of style does not always work in their favor.

Meet Skinny Girl Diet, a three-piece underground band based in London currently making waves with their authentic punk sound and bold, funky fashion sense. Take one listen to their music and you may be transported to that time when  you got down with 90s grunge. So you can probably now understand why after discovering this group I immediately became obsessed.

But what surprised me the most about Skinny Girl Diet was not the juxtaposition between their impeccable style and punk sound, but rather finding out in a ClashMusic.com article that they have had to deal with people labeling them as having better style than substance in their music.

My reaction to this statement was more or less like… Are we really trying to have this conversation in 2015?

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Delilah Holliday, lead singer and guitar player in the band, sums up the issue perfectly:

“I think society is very looks conscious so, you’ve kind of got to succumb to it, and having a good look is part of what people see before they listen to your music,” offers Delilah. “It is sadly a part of music – what you look like – and if you’ve got a certain style people like that because it’s something new I guess.” (ClashMusic.com)

While I do agree that society is very ‘looks conscious’ and that some situations call for one to succumb to this fact, I still find it disturbing that these even girls have to deal with people questioning their talent based on their excellent sense of style. Discrediting the band and their ability as musicians because they do not have the stereotypical “punk” style is so middle school. What we should be doing is applauding this band for fighting stereotypes by having a no f*cks given attitude and speaking truths like this:

“I don’t think there is a punk way to dress either, I think that’s a common misconception, that punk is a look,” decides Ursula. “It’s like, punk started out as just expressing yourself; if you wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe in the 70’s and go to a Sex Pistols concert you could. I feel like so many people have these lists and tick boxes; just wear what you want and if people chastise you for it, then they’re dumb, it’s how it is.” (ClashMusic.com)

Despite the criticism, these ladies have managed to secure partnerships with designers like Dilara Findikoglu for Findikoglu’s SS16 presentation London Fashion Week, which is huge. Bridging their music and fashion together, they have not only managed to create a unique collaboration that is becoming the new norm for fashion presentations (like Tom Ford & Lady Gaga’s latest collab), but also have opened the door for other girl bands to follow in their footsteps.

I applaud Skinny Girl Diet for continuing to not be bothered with these issues. Rock on girls!

Tom Ford Boycotts Runway Show & Releases Music Video Staring Lady Gaga

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Once again, a powerhouse in the fashion community proves the importance of music in the fashion space. Tom Ford has shocked the world by ditching the traditional runway show format at Paris Fashion Week, replacing it with a music video staring Lady Gaga. Born through a collaboration with the incredible Nile Rogers, the music video features a special cover of the 1979 disco classic “I Want Your Love” by the band Chic and serves as the fashion show for the SS 2016 Tom Ford collection.

Tom Ford is no stranger to challenging the traditional show at Fashion Week, but this release still has us thinking about his motivation for creating a music video to present his new line. As Ford described on his website:

“Instead of having a traditional show this season, I wanted to think about how to present a collection in a cinematic way that was designed from its inception to be presented online,” said Ford on his official website. “I have always loved Soul Train, which used to be on TV in the ’70s, as it was as much about the clothes as the music. I asked Nile Rodgers to collaborate on a new version of one of his great hits from that time and worked with Gaga to record the vocals.”

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I personally think it this video is a brilliant idea. Partially because I love disco, and partially because it uses music to create a story about the clothes. The disruption of the digital movement in the entertainment industry is requiring its members to innovate, and by creating this music video Tom Ford has opened a new door for innovative music and fashion collaborations to be accessible to the masses. Utilizing music influencers and icons, this video opens up the high fashion show experience to music lovers who may not be into fashion as well as anyone who has a smart phone or access to YouTube.

I’m curious to see what else Tom Ford has up his sleeve in regards to music collaborations for future projects and if this video will inspire other designers to use music to create innovative ways to promote their fashion lines.

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Yeezy Season 2 proves to be anything but Neutral

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Vanity Fair / Karla Otto

The synergies formed when music and fashion intersect are influencing a new form of creation and consumption. While mixing fashion and music is not a new idea, many well known artists and brands (i.e. Puma x Solange, Rihanna x Dior, etc.) have started to capitalize on creating unique experiences that bridge the two worlds together, including potential candidate for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Kanye West.

His latest project Yeezy Season 2, which he presented last week at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), was anything but neutral.  A great example of how the music industry is disrupting the fashion world, Yeezy Season 2 was inspired by North West’s Play Doh creations and featured a breath of neutral monochromatic looks, urban silhouettes and many shades of human.

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Vanity Fair / Karla Otto

…there’s something about the way clothes fit and feel and the emotion that they give you and the details of them that I’ve been passionate about and addicted to since I was five years old.

The central “human” theme of the line, as identified by Kanye in an interview with Vanity Fair, was bought to life not only in the clothes and new song “Fade” dropped during the presentation, but also in the way the show was shared with the world. Streamed in over 40 theaters across the world, Mr. West created a unique experience that has solidified him as a force to be reckoned with in both the fashion and music industries.

While it has taken a few tries for Kanye to get this right, we can definitely learn a lot from his goal of penetrating the fashion world and diversifying his talents as an artist. We can also expect exciting things from him in the future, starting with his mission of transforming sportswear through the influence of music.

Sportswear is less than 100 years old, so we are in the middle of the expression right now for what this will say for human existence. There’s something that the Romans, they presented, that the Egyptians, they presented. With us, we have a time now that’s a mix between music, the advent of rock ’n’ roll to hip-hop, the 808 drum machine, the concept of tennis shoes or the sweatshirt. Where can that go?

Also, check out this brief clip from the presentation: