Music and fashion have always been closely intertwined, with many cultural movements of the 20th century starting with music. Indeed, fashion and high fashion have become a significant aspect of the music industry, and music videos have played a crucial role in this relationship as a medium for artists to express their visual identities, especially since the launch of MTV in 1981. Flim is not only a tool for creative people, but also an important catalogue of images, an archive of the music videos from the 1960s to the 2020s. So here is an overview of some of the music videos we have and how they relate to the fashion industry and society in general. A way to explore our database and to see how AI allows you to dive into the connection between music and fashion.
1940s TO 1970s: AN HISTORY OF MUSIC, FASHION AND SOCIETY
The links between music and fashion run throughout the 20th century, but especially after the Second World War. The claim to belong to a group and its music, its codes, its beliefs, its clothes, its attitude, etc. developed, giving rise to as many cultural movements as there are musical styles and thus looks.
From the 1940s onwards, teen-oriented popular music had become common. Fans began to adopt the style of their idols, like the 'Bobby-Soxers' and Frank Sinatra, teen pop and Elvis Presley, etc.: the teen fashion industry was born.
In the 1960s, music videos were not yet widespread, but the Scopitone, a visual jukebox, had some success in France. Its use spread to other countries and similar machines such as the Cinebox in Italy and Color-sonic in the USA were developed.
At the same time, many subcultures emerged: the Mods in the 1950s, Beatlemania in the following decade, then the hippies... They all had one thing in common, music and clothing were unifying elements and the expressions of their beliefs and lifestyles.
1970s and 1980s were the years of visual experiences and effects, performances and costumes, like the outrageous and androgynous costumes, make-up and hairstyles of Glam Rock or the glittering and flamboyant ones of Disco.
Among the icons of these years: David Bowie, the Glam Rock icon known for his many collaborations with high fashion designers such as Yamamoto, Freddie Mercury and his eccentric, flamboyant and high-glam style brought to life by the dramatic musical biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody, Michael Jackson, the king of pop who immortalized the Thriller jacket and the Fedora.
All of them are representative of a growing cultural fact: bands and musicians claimed a bolder style and collaborations with designers intensified.
1980s TO 2020s: THE BIRTH OF MTV AND THE RISE OF MUSIC VIDEOS
In the 1980s, the music and music video industry flourished greatly. The launch of MTV in 1981 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of music videos as we know them. From the mid-1980s to the 2000s, music videos explored all genres and played a central role in the marketing of popular music and thus also in the fashion industry.
Some were conceived as short films like the famous music videos by Mylène Farmer or David Fincher for the stylish neo-noir video Freedom! '90 by George Michael featuring the world's most famous supermodels: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz.
On the side of subcultures, many styles emerged with their own visual codes: Rap, Hip-Hop, Punk Rock, Goth, Grunge, New Wave, Death Rock, etc. The clothing style of these movements became as much a question of identity as of marketing.
Rap and Hip-Hop, for example, which had become the predominant way for artists and young people to express their feelings and social injustices in the 1990s, brought loose clothing into fashion, while Hip-Hop, R&B or pop styles in the following decade were characterised by short and tight clothing (for feminin gender at least). We have made a collection about the Noughties (a style very much back in fashion today!): take a look at it will bring back good memories.
At the same time, collaborations between fashion designers and musicians continued and became more and more important in shows or music videos.
In the 2010s and 2020s, the music industry continued to flourish even though the internet, platforms and social networks have changed the way we listen to music and watch videos. In response, the music video industry was investing more than ever in sophisticated, artistic videos: Beyoncé, Lil Nas X, Kanye West, Rihanna, Harry Styles, Cardi B...
Clothes and collaborations with fashion designers played a very important role in these music videos as marketing and artistic products. Today's celebrities have even become fashion icons and trendsetters, creating their own fashion line and entering into numerous collaborations (Lil Nas X & Jean Paul Gaultier, Kanye West & Adidas…)
Apeshit video by The Carters and its many stunning looks or visual album Black is King by Beyoncé designed to celebrate the beauty and richness of African cultures and diaspora are perfect examples of it. Released in 2020, Black is King was critically acclaimed and reaffirmed the power of music videos.
Most recently, Björk's two music videos from her tenth studio album Fossora have been critically acclaimed for their incredible phantasmagorical and organic world that mirrors her experimental sounds and the concept behind this album: the return to nature. In ovule, Icelandic singer-musician wears a dress designed by Gucci's Creative Director Alessandro Michele with whom she collaborated in 2017. Gucci produced a short film of it, describing the craftsmanship behind the 'Ovule' dress.
YOUR TURN TO PLAY WITH AI
We hope you enjoyed this overview of music videos and fashion through our screenshot database. These examples are just a glimpse of the many subcultures that highlight this connection. At Flim, we strive to keep our database updated by regularly featuring new music videos in our 'New Stills of the Month' articles. So keep an eye out for them and continue to explore the dynamic relationship between music and fashion!
Now let's play with AI. Because beyond fashion in music videos, our AI-powered search engine allows you to explore the influence of various cultural movements on visual creation as a whole. By entering words as music styles, bands, or musicians, our AI will find the most relevant images and showcase how music has shaped and continues to shape the fashion industry and visual arts in general as both social and aesthetic phenomena.
It's a well-known fact that musical and fashion styles are closely intertwined, to the point where certain clothing styles are named after the musical genre that originated them. Flim's AI-powered search engine is particularly useful for this type of research, allowing you to create moodboards by searching for specific keywords. For example, searching for "rock'n'roll" will yield images of rock'n'roll shows or rock'n'roll attitudes, while searching for "rock'n'roll looks” or “rock'n'roll fashion" will return images of specific outfits.
We now invite you to dive into the depths of the Flim database and explore the relationship between music and fashion for yourself. Have fun!