Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix

Walk, walk, fashion baby: The relationship between fashion and music

8 Mar

Whether it’s models dating musicians, designers creating costumes for band tours, or even singers turned fashion designers, music and fashion are intimately linked. A lyric from one of my favourite bands, Pulp, goes “If fashion is your trade, then when you’re naked I guess you must be unemployed, yeah?” Not only is it witty but I think it also demonstrates how the idea of fashion finds its way into music content. More examples of this two-way influence can be observed throughout the past.

Blue suede shoes

As rock ‘n’ roll popularity increased in the 1950s with acts such as Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, styles also changed to correspond with the rebellious attitude of the period.

Movie characters such as Marlon Brando in The Wild One and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause exemplified the transformation in style. Outfits incorporating black leather, casual t-shirts and jeans became the norm for the younger generation.

Marlon Brando in The Wild One

Fashion journalist Kate Mulvey said, “For the first time, nonconformity was shown by dressing down. Rebelling against prosperous society in the 1950s meant going a step down the socio-economic ladder, and wearing working class clothes to give authenticity to what they were trying to say. Young people didn’t want to identify with the straight laced, responsible attitudes of their fathers and so dressed like a youthful version of the working man.”

Ticket to ride

As the mod subculture hit its peak in the mid 1960s, British pop music was dominating the airwaves and teenagers were spending the majority of their money on records and clothes. Young men were greatly influenced by the hairstyles and outfits of The Beatles and the women were opting for shorter hemlines. The attention to Britain extended to London fashion designer Mary Quant – the creator of the mini-skirt.

Mary Quant (right) with models in her designs

“The excitement of London life was brilliantly conveyed by the new breed of street-wise fashion photographers like David Bailey and Terrence Donovan. They were at the centre of the London scene and were up to date on fashion trends and social changes, which they captured in their distinctive fashion photographs.” – Marc Kitchen-Smith, style author.

Hippies and glam rockers

As 1969 rolled around and the Woodstock music festival took over a farm in New York, the fashions had turned to colourful patterns, vests, peasant tops and full, long skirts. Musicians such as Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix took to the stage in hippie attire. And over the pond, Italian designer Emilio Pucci reinforced the trend of vivid patterns with his own trademark geometric print.

Guitarist Jimi Hendrix

With the development of glam rock in the early 1970s, fashion took a turn for the androgynous as musicians such as Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie took over the spotlight. The glam rock aesthetic mostly involved platform-soled boots, caberet-inspired styles and lots and lots of glitter and makeup.

David Bowie as his alter ego Ziggy Stardust

Clampdown

The late 1970s saw a revival of the leather jacket through the punk movement. Bands such as The Clash and The Ramones popularized trends of metal studs, Doc Martens, black leather jackets and bondage pants. Fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Jean-Paul Gaultier also based their collections on punk culture. Former manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren, also capitalized on the look by opening a shop catering to punk fashions.

London punk band The Clash

“Punks were anti-fashion motivated, and strived to create their own unique outfits, avoiding mainstream trends which were considered bourgeois, over-indulgent and bland. [But] fashion designers created their own punk-inspired collections, which ultimately became mainstream fashions themselves.” – Melissa Richards, fashion historian.

Check yo self before you wreck yo self

Hip-hop hit the mainstream in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, bringing along with it a rise in sportswear, baggy jeans, tracksuits and Timberland boots. Accessories such as heavy gold jewelry and baseball caps also corresponded with what hip-hop musicians were wearing. But I think the biggest influence hip-hop had on fashion was the through the popularity of sneakers.

A collection of kicks

“[Hip-hop musicians] even wore their trainers differently; street styled with laces undone and logoed tongues on show. All of this pushed the sports brands to further develop their styling to incorporate some of street style customizations into new products that featured fatter laces, higher tops and bolder logos.” – Emily Evans, fashion writer.

Dress up in you

As for my musical fashion icon, I’m partial to Alison Mosshart from The Kills and The Dead Weather. Her style may not be extraordinary but it mirrors my own casual outfits on days when I don’t feel like dressing up.

Alison Mosshart

Plus she’s bad-ass in this video with Jack White:

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ bedazzled jacket from the Zero video also still stands out in my mind.

Modern girls and old fashion men

The Strokes also had a big influence on my style. They came onto the scene in 2000, dressed in ratty Converse Chuck Taylors paired with skinny jeans – a combination I would emulate throughout my university years.

The Strokes showing off their footwear

I love how they change it up for their new music video, Under Cover of Darkness. Four of the band members play their latest single in suits while lead singer Julian Casablancas hangs around in a leather jacket getup until he changes for the last third of the video.