Ever heard the saying ‘you are what you listen to’?
Yes, you are! Music has an impact on our personality, our countenance, and our choice of clothing are all influenced by the kind of music we listen to, be it rap, RnB, hip pop, jazz, reggae, blues, rock, pop, electronica, classical, you name it.
Although there are still various ongoing research by scientists to better understand how our psyche is impacted on by music, there are published works showing how the human body is influenced by music.
Fashion and music are one entity, they go hand in hand in the sense that fashion rubs off on the music the same way music rubs off on fashion. Music fans try to recreate looks seen on their favorite musicians which then creates trends in the fashion industry.
In the sixty’s, the music genres that flourished were the pop, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, calypso, cha-cha-cha, RnB and Bossa Nova but of all these the most popular were the funk, RnB and Soul music.
Top hit artists of the sixty’s include The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, The Temptations, The Beatles, Isley Brothers, The Supremes, Nina Simone, The Bee Gees, The Foundations, Alton Ellis, Rolling Stones, and so on.
The clothing for this era were turtlenecks, high neck sleeveless gowns, sheer top evening dresses, knee high skirts, hair bows, fitted bodice, pleats, lower heels, round toe shoes, monostrap gowns, polka dots, straight legged pant suits, high boots and midi skirts.
The seventies was categorised by the disco genre. Top hits from this decade include the Bee Gees, Van McCoy, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, The Carpenters, Marvin Gaye, Eric Clapton, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, The Village People, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Kool and The Gang, Donna Summer, and the list is endless.
This era was dominated with glitzy dresses with free flowing skirts, knickers, jumpsuits made out of lycra and spandex, satin hot pants and sequence tops, polyester shirts, platform shoes, disco pants and afros.
Majorly, cloths were made from spandex, polyester and lycra to allow for tight fitting, snap button closures, metal or plastic zippers, wild geometric patterns, dramatic colors, sequence encrusted garments, shiny light reflective fabrics like satin and silk.
The 1980’s saw the emergence of country music, contemporary RnB, pop, alternative rock, electronica and salsa and the decrease of disco music. By then record labels became more aware of the importance of recording music electronically. It is no surprise that the bold color craze of the 1970s spilled over into the 80’s.
There were more emphasis on fashion accessories, women wore large scarves, leather trench coats, fur coats, kitten heeled scandals, strappy scandals, pumps, lace gloves, tulle skirts, big and spiral hair styles, sunglasses, fingerless gloves, neon colors, long flared skirts, mini skirts, shoulder pads. One musician that greatly influenced fashion trend at this time was Madonna.
Moving on to the 1990’s we saw the growth of Hip Hop and Rap music that was previously introduced in 1970 and 1980. Although Urban music, contemporary, RnB, and Reggae were popular, this decade was Hip Hop and Rap dominated. Electronic music that was introduced in the 80’s was now in demand in the 90’s. Towards the end of this decade, remixing became mainstream. Top hits of this decade include tracks from top musicians like Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Jay Z, Tupac Shakur, Nas, Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Ice T, Bone Thugs N Harmony, The Fugees, OutKast, Queen Latifah, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Lauryn Hill, LL Cool J, Puff Daddy now P Diddy and the list goes on.
There was craze for acid wash denims, high waist jeans, tartan skirts, baggy pants, oversized sweaters, pleated pants, halter tops, crop tops, maxi skirts, tube skirts, jelly shoes and belted trench coats. Shiny fabrics from 1980’s became more prominent in this decade and with the emergence of matte lipsticks, women wore dark red lipsticks and neutral eye shadow colors,
The 2000s unlike other decades did not experience the emergence of a new genre of music. Instead, there was fusion of different types of music.
Technology played a major role in this decade with the rise of the Internet, music sharing and buying platforms like iTunes, YouTube and there was the introduction of music software like Auto-Tune to correct high pitch in performance or recording sessions. In defiance of hip hop dominance, pop music was also in demand, electronic music was highly popular that period and Reggae became a distinct genre in this decade. There were top hits from artists like Mariah Carey, Nelly, Usher, Destiny’s Child, Christian Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Janet Jackson, Sisqo, Shaggy, Ja Rule, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent, Ashanti, Kelly Clarkson, Fergie, B2K, Ne-yo, Nelly, Chris Brown, James Blunt, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Akon, Nelly Furtado, Flow Rida, Coldplay, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Owl City and so on.
Just like the music industry in this decade, fashion at this time was mixture of the 90s, 80s, 70s and 60s. There were handkerchief tops, mesh tops, satin skirts, leather skirts, box pleat skirts, oversized hoop earings, oversized glasses, tube tops, hot pants, pashmina scarves, boot cut jeans, low rise jeans and belly shirts.
In the 2010s DJ’s have made a reamarkable impact on the music industry by mixing genres that were seen as unmixable like mixing traditional pop with euro pop, German house pop. This was made successful by DJs like Calvin Harris, David Guetta and the likes.Top musicians of this decade include Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Katie Perry, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Pharell Williams, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Miley Cyrus, Kendrick Lemar, Drake, Sia, Ed Sharon, Kanye West and more musicians are expected in the next five years before final conclusions on the influence of music on fashion for this decade is made.
But so far, neon colors of the 80s, tunics, baseball jackets, motorcycle jackets, one size fits all empire line dresses, figure hugging white organza dresses, midi skirts, maxi skirts, peplum, heels, rain boots, flat sandals, stilettos, gladiator sandals, flat knee high riding boots, ballerina flats, chucks, monochrome dressing, pencil skirts, boyfriend jeans, snapback hats, yoga pants and leggings, solid colored hairstyles, longer hair, ombre hair, French braid, afro textured hair, pixie, crop or bob hair cut are dominating the fashion scene for this decade.
With all this said, it is apparent that music has had an eccentric leverage over fashion thus far and vice versa. My expectations of the fashion industry in the near future is a much bigger evolution than we have already seen and greater impute from other industries other than music will be felt in the fashion industry.