The Influence of Music on Fashion Trends

Music and fashion have always had a symbiotic relationship, coexisting as two of the world’s most powerful creative forces. Every decade seems to bring a new trend, with musical artists at the forefront of pushing these looks forward. From the 1960s mod movement to the punk revolution of the 70s to the revival of 90s hip-hop trends, the influence of music and musicians on fashion is undeniable. This article explores the fascinating history of how music has shaped fashion throughout the years.

1. Tune in and Turn Heads: Music as a Fashion Catalyst

From the sweet sounds of the 70s to the flashy beats of today’s pop music, fashion and sound have gone hand in hand since time immemorial. As an evergreen part of the cultural conversation, music can have a huge influence over what we wear – and vice versa.

The connection between the two art forms is timeless. Music expresses the feelings and ideas of the moment – and fashion reimagines them into vogue-worthy visuals. Style icons have always used sound as a way in which to drive their message home. Music gives us cues on how to dress, the words of a song can provide inspiration and sonic trends come along to challenge the fashion status quo.

  • Celebrity Cues – From Meryl Streep’s punk-inspired cold-wave style in The Music of Red Sparrow to rapper A$AP Rocky’s signature streetwear looks – celebrities have always served as style setters.
  • Style Revivals – Every few years we look to music for a renewed take on fashion classics. We laughed out loud when Louis toted around his monogrammed phone case, and we loved Taylor Swift’s re-imagining of the pastel preppy aesthetic.
  • Statement Pieces – While the occasional fashionistas likes an insfo post, there’s nothing that generates more attention than when bold statement pieces are thrown into the mix. Whether it’s a t-shirt from a touring band or a stickered up leather jacket, unique pieces – crafted with a nod to music, always stand out from the herd.

So, the next time you’re out looking for a new statement piece – don’t be content to simply ‘follow the herd’. Tune in and turn heads – make use of the latest music trends and see how they can inspire your personal style.

2. Stylistic Echoes: Music as a Mirror of Pop Culture

Music has the power to reflect and shape contemporary culture. Stylistic echoes are music’s physical manifestation of this phenomenon.

At the heart of contemporary pop music is a mixture of multiple genres. A fusion of styles, sounds, and techniques betray the influence of past trends and artists, creating a living, breathing “musical collage” that is constantly reshaping popular culture.

Take, for example, the artist Kendrick Lamar. In his critically acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick heavily references traditional Jazz and Gospel music, as well as socially conscious soul and hip-hop to create something distinctly contemporary. Likewise, Taylor Swift’s retro-inspired 1989 celebrates 1980s pop music but with her own modern spin.

  • Reggie and The Full Effect – Drawing from a “melting pot” of punk, alternative rock, hip-hop, rap and electronic music, Reggie and The Full Effect achieved massive success for their unique brand of genre-bending music.
  • Rihanna – Her acclaimed album Anti features references to multiple genres of music, with reggae, hip-hop, R&B, and pop all incorporated to form a modern sound.
  • Kanye West – From his early years of rap and hip-hop, to his later sampling of industrial and electronic music, Kanye West’s music has always pushed the boundaries of contemporary music.

To summarize, stylistic echoes are the essential building blocks of contemporary pop music. As musicians look to the past to inspire their future, so too does our current culture look to the past to shape its future. Music, in this way, becomes a critical reflection of the times.

3. A Symphony of Swagger: Subcultural Clothing Cues from Musical Legends

Music and fashion have always gone hand-in-hand, offering listeners the opportunity to wear what their favorite artists and musicians were wearing. From Elvis to Kurt Cobain, musicians and bands have gone down in history as becoming style icons. Each era in music has been marked by a particular style, and today we’ll explore 3 beloved musical legends and the specific subcultural cues they offered.

David Bowie
David Bowie is one of the most influential style icons of all time—his unique and eclectic style was a costume in itself. Bowie was an ardent supporter of the androgynous style, donning a lightning bolt across one eye to draw attention to his genderqueer identity. Early in his career, Bowie’s electrifying stage presence and theatrical glam styling caught the eye of many and spread quickly—shaped by psychedelia and avant-garde, Bowie’s style is still seen on stages around the world to this day.

Elton John
The king of classic rock, Elton John’s flamboyant style truly was the extent of outrageous. From feathers to sequins, rainbow glasses, and platform boots, Elton had no fear of standing out from the crowd. He derived a lot of his costume ideas from fashion designers like Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino. His shimmering and bold stage outfits had a huge impact on the world of fashion and quickly became a major part of the subculture.

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain will always be remembered for his legendary grunge style. He popularized the typically edgy look of grunge with iconic oversized flannels and torn denim—an aesthetic that has since evolved and become mainstream. Rebellion has always been an attribute of the grunge subculture. Kurt channelled his feelings of alienation and isolation into his style choices, wearing beanies, oversized cardigans, and tight striped tees. Although a symbol of the 90s, Cobain’s style still influences fashion trends to this day.

4. In Rhythm with the Times: Music’s Impact on the Latest Fads

From hip-hop and R&B, to EDM and pop, the musical influence embedded in the latest fashion trends is undeniable. Whether it’s a retro-inspired denim outfit or a futuristic gothic look, music has a hand in orchestrating style.

Music has a significant impact on the street style that we observe today. As a particular sound starts to take off on the charts, one sees a parallel with the clothing fans don and the emblematic symbols they choose to express their love of the artist. Music can inspire people to express themselves through fashion by wearing an article with the artist’s name on it, or a piece reminiscent of the time period in which the piece was released.

One does not have to look much further to see the influence of music on culture. As fashion trends pick up momentum, there’s often a concert tour announcing its presence in style. Even models strut down the catwalk to the hit song of the season, making it widely known even to those who may not have given it a listen. Music is accentuated in nearly every aspect of life, from the clothes people wear to the events they attend.

Music also continues to channel the power of nostalgia. Often, styles from different decades find their way onto the runway and the streets as they are rediscovered. At the end of the day, music, much like fashion, is timeless—and it’s up to us to continue to integrate the two, creating and inspiring the cultural phenomena of our time.

5. Music and Dress – A Timeless Duet of Style and Substance

Music and fashion have circled each other through the decades, with each artistic form inspiring the other. Musicians use their style to express their creativity, while fashion can be powered and immortalized by the tunes they accompany. Together, they forge a timeless duet of style and substance.

  • The Power of Music on Dress
    The power of music on dress is undeniable. Whether it’s designers using vibrant pieces to match their latest soundtrack or music strongly impacting trends – music has a transformative effect on dress.
  • Style, Reinvented Over Time
    Trends come and go, but the allure of music-inspired fashion always endures. Music fans don simplistic t-shirts paired with jeans, conveying a statement of self and waves of nostalgia.

From Bandanas and leather jackets of the 80s to oversized pants and graphic tees of today, musicians of every generation inspire fashion as a part of culture. Furthermore, what you wear at a concert can say just as much as your favorite artist.

In the end, music and clothing are united in time. They take us through the journey of our life, always reminding us of the importance of self-expression. Music and dress, a timeless duet of style and substance.

The influence of music on fashion trends has a deeply rooted and wide-reaching impact that cannot be denied. From famous singers to everyday people, music is a unifier of fashion identity, creating a vibrant and truly unique reflection of self-expression that shows no signs of fading any time soon.


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