Music and fashion have a harmonious relationship.
A designer will benefit from hosting a musician on its runway, as well as providing an outfit to a musician’s project. When Beyoncé wore a memorable mustard-colored dress in her visual album “Lemonade,” fans needed to know who designed it. Roberto Cavalli’s Twitter account promptly began retweeting the attention.
Who else watched the amazing visual album by @Beyonce tonight?? #LEMONADE 🍋💛
QUEEN Bey slaying in Cavalli. 👏 pic.twitter.com/J13m5OO6Aj
— LA Fashion Week (@LAFW) April 24, 2016
“People have always looked to musicians as fashion influencers,” said Kellan Terry, a data analyst at social intelligence company Brandwatch. “The celebrity’s fan armies really help drive the buzz, but it’s still the music itself that’s underlying these collaborations.”
Fashion’s visual nature has lent itself to gain massive popularity on Instagram’s feed, but now that attention has turned to live video, thanks to Facebook Live, Snapchat and Periscope, fans can hear runway shows as well.
“Instagram has been fashion’s sweetheart because it’s visually driven,” said Terry. “But when you go to a fashion show, it’s a production. It’s about the decor, the lighting, and the music — they’re all important pieces of an overall aesthetic.”
The fashion show as an experience is more important than ever as flighty fans’ attention jumps around to what different brands are posting online. Brands are also putting on a show for more people than ever as social media has lifted the veil on the runway, and live video puts consumers in the moment.
“For luxury brands, creating awareness is very much driven by image – not just visual, but auditory image as well,”said Chris Paradysz, CEO of marketing agency PM Digital. “Music has this ability to stop the momentum and the inertia. And nothing has the ability to change your emotion quite like music does.”
According to Brandwatch’s September 2015 study “Social Insights on the Luxury Fashion Industry,” the most prevalent topic among those who discuss luxury fashion was music ahead of the fashion itself.
“Luxury brands can be authorities in music because they already have an assumed authority, they know what’s cool,” said Terry. “If they choose the right artists to work with, that reinforces the brand.”
Brandwatch’s data found that when designers aligned themselves with a musician, they saw more social reach than those who didn’t. In February, the hashtag for Rihanna’s Fenty show with Puma saw 35,000 mentions. Tommy Hilfiger’s fall 2016 hashtag was in second place, with 14,000 mentions.
“The celebrity power behind this is real,” said Terry. “But with music, it fits into a brand’s overall lifestyle that they’re trying to project. The musician they choose to work with can do wonders for both the brand’s reach and perception.”
Burberry, the luxury brand best known for being unafraid to dive into new technologies, was the first global brand to launch a channel on Apple Music. It also launched Burberry Acoustic in 2010, a collaboration meant to spotlight up and coming British musicians, like George Ezra and Tom Odell. Artists are chosen by Burberry Chief Creative Officer and CEO Christopher Bailey, film exclusive performances for the brand, and appear live during runway shows. Burberry also live streams every show, and recruiting relevant artists for the shows can continue to add value across platforms.
Terry pointed to Instagram increasing its video clips from 15 seconds to a full minute as a sure sign that fashion brands will begin to be more strategic in selecting their musical collaborations.