Recently, Fashion Is Your Business interviewed Garrett Borns, who performs under the moniker BØRNS. (If you haven’t heard of him, check out his hit “Electric Love.”) He’s not only making waves in the music world but the fashion world. Although he jokes that “grandma-wear” is in, the musician is quite fashionable. With a look and sound that calls to mind ’70’s rock, especially Marc Bolan of T. Rex, he’s getting the attention of both American and Italian designers with similar influences. As this Vogue article notes,
Back in September, he took the stage with Petite Meller for a live performance during Rebecca Minkoff’s Spring ’16 show—but it wasn’t long before a certain European luxury house caught wind of the rising talent. Børns’s stylist, Kat Typaldos, pulled a few Gucci pieces for her client, among them the tomato red tie-neck blouse (seen in the opening look of Alessandro Michele’s Fall ’15 men’s show), which he sported to perform “Electric Love” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last October. Michele and his team soon came calling with an invite to Gucci’s latest menswear show, and Børns was whisked off to Milan.
This partnership should serve as no surprise and fashion and music have a long-standing connection through out history.
Designers have always seen some musicians as muses and only musicians can get away with wearing haute couture as stagewear or, recently, outfits in music videos. Two great contemporary examples that come to mind are Jean Paul Gaultier designing the outfits for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour, including the infamous bullet bra, and Lady Gaga’s love of Alexander McQueen that included wearing his absurdly high heel shoes in the “Bad Romance” video. The connection isn’t always direct. Up-and-coming artists will often wear lesser-known and more local styles that interest designers who then interpret it for the runway. This happened a lot in the 1990’s when designers were influenced by rappers and the grunge scene. It’s no surprise that partnerships have become more formal and mutually beneficial as time went on as musicians recognized their influence.
Influence is a good word to use, because right now when the word is used in the fashion industry we tend to think of important people on social media, sometimes even exclusively. It wasn’t so long ago though, pre-internet days and even during the internet’s early days, that these influencers didn’t have this cache or even exist. Instead the only people who were able reach nation and world-wide audiences were actors, musicians and other entertainers.
This is not to disparage social media influencers. Savvy and successful influencers can have a tremendous effect on sales, however people are also looking for authenticity. Perhaps, it is because the brands get some of the musician’s charisma through transitive property. It might be also that some collaborations get to be viewed as creative decisions instead of just being deals.
You can’t just run out and grab a big-name artist to represent your brand and you probably shouldn’t either. (Though, if someone like Garrett just drops into your store and likes what they see, consider yourself lucky.) Collaborations should make sense for both brands and artists. Consider working with a lesser-known or emerging artist that you like or has liked your stuff and shared it on social media. Lending your brand’s clothes for a music video might end up with both parties becoming mutually beneficial ongoing partnership.
Artist Credit: Unknown
Image Credit: mayeesherr