Ana Resende explores the ever-growing relationship between music and fashion.

It’s safe to say that music and fashion are the most influential forms of art in our society. Fashion has allowed us, as a society, to express daily and present struggles; similarly, music has also been a weapon for that. Take the Cambodia-based – ‘every thread matters’ – influencers, Tonlé. They’re successfully running a zero waste, environmentally friendly fashion brand to make a difference. Likewise, Maggie Lindemann held up her middle finger to the world (quite literally!) in her song ‘Pretty Girl’ when she ditched all feminine norms and values. Only two examples out of the billions there are out there today; music and fashion will speak about pretty much anything. Religion, feminism, poverty, bullying, environmental awareness… You name it, I guarantee you it has been done!


Music and fashion are such personal aspects of an individual. It’s something everyone acquires. You, me, him, her, them, we all have a taste in fashion and music. There is no denying that! Everyone has a style; we all have a specific look we go for, whether we’re trying to or not. And the same goes for music: some of us are into classical, others into punk; some are into jazz, some are into musical theatre; there’s a whole world of musical genres and sub-genres out there, and we all fall into a category. And sometimes, our tastes in fashion and music coordinate with each other.

So, it’s easy to recognize that music and fashion have, without a doubt, been serving the same purposes. The question is, how do the two work together? Easy answer. The two industries have gone from being two utterly different businesses, to merging and becoming interdependent. Music sells fashion, and fashion sells music. Let’s take Lady Gaga for example: the woman swings fashion statements left, right and centre in her music videos. Her wardrobe choices scream runway fashion looks! She sells trends through her music. In a society where we see celebrities as role models, designers use that to their advantage. If you’re trying to sell punk designs, your target population will be punk lovers. So of course, you’re going to get a punk singer to model your clothes; they have the fan base that you need! Fashion and music walk hand in hand.


Let’s not forget how musicians launching their own fashion lines have considerably evolved the relationship between music and fashion. It’s a simple logic: a fan will dress like their idol, and what we see in the streets is what inspires the runway.

When it comes to a fashion show, music may not be the main focus, but it really does make a collection stand out in a whole other way. A runway show is telling a story through fashion. It only opens with the clothes, then come the models, make-up, hair, lighting, props, and most notably, the music. It really does set the tone; it’s what drives the plot along. In fact, not only that, it also impacts how the viewers obtain that story. Whether you want to make the audience laugh or cry, it’s the music that decides.


On another point, every collection is different, but the way they’re presented will be relatively the same. Many runways have pretty much the same standard routine, so they need a point of difference. That’s where music comes in. It’s highly unlikely you’ll attend any two shows with the same soundtrack. Each collection speaks for itself, and the music will complement the theme of the clothing to create perfect harmony.

You may expect to walk into a fashion show and hear chart music playing in the background while the models show off the new collection, but the truth is that many designers are now opting for the choice of live music. To break out of the same old mould, designers are finding more and more ways to be innovative and bring fun to their fashion shows. Designer Tarun Tahiliani was one of many who brought in live entertainment during one of his fashion shows; he says that live singers that “fit in with the design sensibility and contribute to the atmosphere” can really bring a show together.

However, do live singers always contribute to an innovative show? Some of us would argue that live entertainment can take away the essence of the show – the actual clothes. What we’re really there to see is the collection, not to hear live music. The clothes and the music should complement one another, not take away from each other. It’s very easy for the clothes and models to get lost in the whole razzledazzle of live music.

It’s interesting to see how two completely different industries have come together in recent years to collaborate and benefit one another. With the rise and success of new technology, chances are we’ll see more and more of a collaboration between music and fashion.

Images via Pixabay

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