Monday, 12 January 2015

The collaboration of Hip Hop music and Fashion

Imagine you’re sitting at Alexander Wang’s runway fashion show the lights have just been dimmed down and your waiting for the show to begin. As soon as the model steps foot on the stage the music starts. The harmonious fusion of both music and fashion can be described in that one moment. Both art forms become unified to create a shared vision and purpose that goes beyond their respective borders.

Fashion designer Alexander Wang says music and musicians are one of the most inspiring things for him. ‘I think so much of what has happened in fashion can be and should be attributed to music’ he says. He mentions music styles such as punk, grunge, glam rock and hip hop which have had a profound influence on runway shows and the designing process as a whole. Hip hop as a genre has a very strong presence and there’s a certain reputation and image associated with this music style which exudes confidence and edginess.
When fashion and hip hop collaborate they become in sync with one another and fashion in turn inhabits the cool vibes of hip hop style genre which are reflected in street and sportswear.

Take Alexander Wang’s 2014 spring/summer collection one of his pieces was inspired by 90’s rap music. He turned the 90’s Parental advisory label that was originally put on CD covers into sweatshirts. 
It’s a very bold and daring look that channels the hip hop genre however it’s also nostalgic of a time when hip hop wasn’t as exposed or commercialized and had a very authentic sound to it.  

Alexander Wang’s recent collaboration with H&M highlights the influence hip hop has on urban sportswear. His line plays around with the concept of individuality and confidence in sportswear and toys with the idea of seeing hip hop as more than a music genre but a mentality and mind-set as a way to view yourself and the world.         

Hip hop culture has always had a close association with street wear and urban attire. Run D.M.C. were the first hip hop group to receive a million dollars endorsement deal. Addidas is a brand that merged both hip hop and fashion and made it accessible to consumers that emulated their favourite rappers clothing. ‘We would look through Detroit, through Boston, through Chicago, through LA, through Virginia; every city we went on the Raising Hell Tour, we would look out the back of the tour bus and everybody had the Addidas track suits from head to toe’, Run D.M.C group member McDaniel’s says. Even today Addidas stands as the bridge between Hip hop and fashion it has continued to sign sportswear deals with Hip hop artists such as Kanye West, Missy Elliot, Pharell, Ciara and Snoop Dogg.  

Hip hop has also inspired how women dress and perceive themselves in the world of music. R&B singer Aaliyah had a profound effect on female fashion and
allowed women to be comfortable in their own skin and sexuality by wearing tomboy clothes, baggy jeans, basketball jerseys, and snapbacks and still feel essentially feminine and authentic. Her style has been one of the recurring trends that we see amongst artists today such as Rihanna, Ciara, Azelia Banks, Rita Ora and young artist Tinashe. Aaliyah described her style as ‘street but sweet’ and it was her unique style that landed her an endorsement deal with Tommy Hilfiger in 1988. While 90’s Hip hop rappers wore street wear and identified with that type of clothing hip hop artists are now branching out and joining forces with the elite in high fashion. They are showing that Hip hop style has a vision and a voice beyond street wear and can collaborate with high fashion and can express luxury style from a unique standpoint.        

Jay z is a current example of this. He recently collaborated with Barneys to release a collection titled the ‘New York Holiday’ which will include pieces from luxury elite designers such as Proenza, Schouler, Balenciaga, Balmain, and many more. Some of his pieces from his collection in a $58,000 crocodile leather Rick Owens jackets, a black Lanvin suit with leather details and a $875 Brooklyn nets cap made from leather, python skin and gold. Though we are seeing a shift in Hip hop style not all Hip hop artists have left the street wear attire. Last year Hip hop artist Nas launched his own collection titled HSTRY which is a line entirely comprised of street wear.  
Hip hop style has certainly evolved from 90’s street wear however street and sports- wear has a profound influence on our society and will ever remain to re-invent itself, expand and explore the limitless space of fashion.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Is there more to Fashion than what meets the eye?

Is Fashion really just about the clothes? Can we see anything beyond the runway, the draped and textured garments and the skyrocketing platform shoes?

Well what if I was to say that Fashion does in fact have the ability to voice out societal concerns and address topical issues such as women and civil rights.Clothes have always been used as a way to indicate social class, social position, and occupation and to some extent reveal ones relevance in society.

Take Coco Chanel’s iconic suits for example. She revolutionized how women dressed which in turn changed how women perceived themselves and their role in society. Her suits which were influenced by menswear collections in the 1920's were the perfect balance of feminine style, strength, confidence and power which were the characteristics the post war woman needed to build a career in the male dominated workplace.

Her suits allowed women to envision themselves as equals to their male counterparts in the workplace and challenged the conventional ideals of womanhood. Her interpretation of feminine clothing enabled women to have a voice beyond domestic affairs in the confinements of the home and introduced them to the public sphere where they could be women of influence.

Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring/Summer 2015 Chanel show was no different. The models were seen wearing suits with wide trouser legs, bright chiffon blouses and knee length dresses as they walked down the runway. However this wasn’t your ordinary runway. Karl Lagerfeld used the runway to recreate the concept of a typical street he named it ‘Boulevard Chanel’ where the models walked down the runway to their respective jobs. After the show models returned to the stage holding placards in support of feminist ideals, whilst some models screamed through the megaphones to make their voices heard. 

Although gender equality has a long way to go some fashion designers have been able to use fashion and the runway as a platform to discuss these ideas.

To say the least the runway has presented itself as a space that confronts conventional and social ideas. It constantly challenges us as individuals and causes us to step out of our comfort zone and dares us to walk with purpose and charges us to have a bigger presence in our society.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Students Portfolio Work

Caramel Rock offers a wide range of courses, inspiring and encouraging youngsters to follow their passions and dreams. Our Fashion course gives students the opportunity to develop stills in fashion design and creation. This portfolio illustrates one student’s extensive work in to her design collection, showing us exactly which elements she focused on and the inspiration for her ideas. Students can be as creative as thy like. They get to choose the colours, material and techniques they wish to use to construct their creations.    

The students are able to incorporate, all the aspects they wish to form their original and creative idea. They go through a process of creating many designs and narrowing it down to their favorite design idea, which they can then create within our workshop, with the help of our team, assisting and encouraging any choices the students make.  Various facilities are available for students to use to create, design and help is also provided to construct their products .

Once students have worked out all of the fundamental aspects of their collection they can focus on their designs and hopefully by the end would have created their very own stunning garment.

Final Piece:

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Faith Johnson Guest Dragon at the Peter Jones academy at Newham College other dragons on the panel on the day was Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, Peter Holbrook.