How Music has Impacted Fashion over the Decades

by | Feb 2, 2023 | General, History

Today’s musicians have a much greater influence on what is popular.

These new artists have a greater impact on fashion than ever before, unceasingly cosigning labels in their songs, advertising deals, and generating their own fashion lines.

It’s difficult to imagine a world where music and fashion don’t go hand in hand. Music has a huge impact on our lives and says a lot about the times we live in.

Throughout history, music has had a significant impact on fashion. Music, like fashion, has always been used as a form of self-expression, and both are emotional and accessible forms of art that the general public can enjoy and participate in.

Because music became a means of expressing individuality, political beliefs, and ideas rather than just homogenized entertainment; fashion and music became inextricably linked.

Almost every decade of the last century witnessed the way music influenced fashion (and vice versa). The decades that followed demonstrated how music trends truly influenced fashion.

Jazz music may appear squeaky clean and innocent today, but it was extremely scandalous during its early years because it was the first form of music that was almost exclusively played at nightclubs and speakeasies that welcomed people of all races.

Jazz music also had strong feminist undertones, which influenced how women behaved and dressed.

Many female jazz music fans dressed in flapper attire.

These feminists rejected the traditional roles that society had assigned to them in favor of short dresses, no bras, and loose clothing that allowed them to move freely and dance the night away

The 1960s were a swinging time in London, as a more modern version of jazz began to emerge, giving birth to the “modernists” movement.

This 1960s subculture also embraced ska, R&B, and soul music.

The “modernists” embraced the Beatnik generation’s bohemian lifestyle, so it’s no surprise that many chose to emulate that look as part of their lifestyle.

This extremely fashion-conscious clique of club kids eventually became known as Mods.

Many American teenage boys were drafted to fight in the Vietnam War during the 1960s, and as a result, musicians began to write music that reflected those anti-establishment times.

Many musicians and fans began to experiment with psychedelic drugs like LSD and peyote during this time period.

As a result, both music and fashion became trippy, with tie-dye motifs, bold floral prints, crafty accessories, crochet, fringe, and bell bottom jeans among the most popular trends of the time.

Many early punks, like Mods, were fans of the musical genres of ska, reggae, and soul.

However, the Punk music scene quickly became known for aggressive rock music with only very light ska elements thrown in for good measure.

Punk is widely regarded as the first true music subculture, with Glam Rock coming in a close second.

Musicians such as David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and bands such as Kiss began to draw inspiration from science fiction as they increased their showmanship by incorporating sci-fi “backstories” into their performances, unleasing the birth of Glam Rock.

As a result, it’s no surprise that many underground shops started carrying items that fit the Glam Rock aesthetic, even though many people loved the music but didn’t buy into the glam rock fashion movement.

As a result, many people consider glam rock to be one of the first true pop subcultures.

Goth music was one of the most prominent glam rock offshoots. Originally, Goth music began as deathrock, which is just as dark and gloomy as one would expect. Deathrock evolved into synthpop, new wave, and a variety of other genres.

Most sullen music genres became associated with a variety of other habits, such as wearing all black, a love of horror films, pale make-up, dark burgundy lipstick, and simply enjoying the darker side of life.

In the beginnings of Gothic fashion, ‘witch-like’ fashion often mimicked the spookier elements, much like many of Tim Burton’s characters.

Grunge music emerged from the ashes of teenage angst in the 1990s. The edgy, rumpled appearance of those styles of clothing quickly drew those who appreciated the music’s quirky appeal. Marc Jacobs was a pioneer of this look.

The 90s grunge movement is still recognizable as a fashion trend today.

Hip-hop had exploded by the late 1980s and early 1990s and had become one of the most popular forms of music.

Rap battles, breakdancing, and turntablism became a way of life for teenagers on the streets of urban neighborhoods like New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit.

It was only a matter of time before hip-hop’s influence spread beyond urban areas and was embraced by teenagers across America.

People began to imitate rappers’ fashion, and by the time hip-hop became mainstream, it had become synonymous with a specific style of clothing.

Baggy pants with your underwear logo peeking through, Adidas tracksuits, oversized sports jerseys, bucket hats, bright colors, and plenty of gold chain necklaces were among the most popular hip-hop trends.

The underground world of electronica exploded in the 1990s, as warehouses hosted Radical Audio-Visual Experiences, which became known as raves.

This underground Electric Dance Music (EDM) movement never really died, but rave culture experienced a resurgence in the early 2000s, with tiny bikinis, glowing wings, UFO pants, and, of course, leg fuzzies.

In the 2020s, pop music artists such as Dua Lipa, Arianna Grande, Lil Nas, and Harry Styles combine music with gender-bending fashion.