How does music impact fashion?

By lmt-editorJanuary 18, 2024
Est. Reading: 6 minutes

Music and fashion are intertwined forces, shaping our cultural landscape with a harmony that combines rhythm and style. 

It's hard to imagine a world where these two elements do not influence each other. 

Music not only deeply affects our lives but also serves as a powerful reflection of the times we live in. 

This article explores the intricate dance between music and fashion, exploring how they inspire one another and shape our collective expression. 

From the way rhythms mould fashion silhouettes to how different musical genres influence aesthetic choices, we will uncover the dynamic interplay of these two art forms.

Image of group of woman in disco style outfit holding a disco ball

The rhythmic roots of fashion

Looking back through time, we find that music and fashion have always had a strong connection, leaving a lasting impression on our cultural landscape. Take the 1960s, when rock and roll took centre stage. This period changed clothing trends, introducing denim jeans and leather jackets and a rebellious attitude reflected in fashion choices. It wasn't just about the music; it was about how it influenced people's appearance.

As we journey through different decades, we see how each musical era left its mark on fashion. The lively disco beats of the 1970s translated into flashy outfits, sequins, and vibrant colours. The music didn't just stay in the soundwaves; it spilt over into the way people dressed.

Skip ahead to the 1990s, and the grunge movement emerged in music and fashion. The gritty, unpolished sound of grunge found expression in the fashion scene with flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and an anti-establishment vibe. This era highlighted how the spirit of a musical movement could shape the tunes and the clothes people chose to wear.

Image of rapper posing in chair

Genre and garb

The connection between music genres and fashion styles is a fascinating and intricate relationship that has significantly shaped our cultural expressions. Take, for example, the dynamic world of hip-hop, where fashion becomes a canvas for self-expression. Baggy clothes, branded sneakers, and bold accessories have become emblematic of this genre, reflecting its vibrancy and urban flair. The hip-hop style isn't merely about clothing; it's a visual language that communicates a sense of identity and attitude.

Classical music is on the other end of the spectrum, a genre steeped in tradition and refinement. Here, the attire aligns with a more formal and sophisticated aesthetic. Classical musicians often don elegant and meticulously tailored clothing, echoing the timeless elegance of the music they perform. The connection between classical music and its formal garb creates a visual harmony that complements the auditory richness of the melodies.

The relationship between music genres and fashion extends beyond mere clothing choices; it encapsulates a symbiotic interplay where a musical genre's mood, attitude, and cultural roots find expression through attire. Whether it's the urban swagger of hip-hop or the refined elegance of classical music, the symbiotic synergy between genre and garb adds a layer of visual storytelling to the melodic narratives of our cultural landscape.

Madonna playing ukulele while singing

Influential musicians in fashion

The fusion of music and fashion creates a potent cultural brew where musicians often transcend their sonic realms to become veritable icons of style. Their individual fashion choices don't just complement their music; they become influential statements, shaping the sartorial landscape of their respective eras.

Consider the flamboyant Freddie Mercury, whose charismatic stage presence extended beyond Queen's musical prowess. His distinctive style, marked by bold colours and theatrical flair, not only defined the rock scene of the time but left an enduring impact on fashion, inspiring both designers and fans alike.

Similarly, Madonna, with her provocative outfits and boundary-pushing aesthetics, became a trailblazer in the world of fashion. Her ability to seamlessly integrate fashion and music elevated her to an iconic status, influencing trends and challenging conventional norms.

David Bowie, a true chameleon of both sound and style, showcased androgynous charm that transcended traditional gender norms. His avant-garde fashion choices were as integral to his persona as his genre-defying music, imprinting a lasting mark on the fashion landscape.

In more recent times, we find contemporary trailblazers like Lady Gaga, known for her avant-garde and experimental fashion statements. Her bold, often theatrical, choices have set trends and solidified her status as a fashion icon, mirroring the boundary-pushing nature of her music.

Billie Eilish, with her oversized, streetwear-influenced outfits, represents a newer wave of influence. Her unique style not only aligns with her music but also reflects her distinctive persona, resonating strongly with a generation that values individuality and authenticity.

Image of smiling african man and woman in retro style outfit

Fashion in lyrics and videos

Music doesn't just impact fashion through an artist's style; it extends to the core of lyrics and music videos. These elements serve as influential mediums that not only reflect but actively contribute to specific fashion trends, brands, and styles. This reinforces the interconnected relationship between these two artistic realms.

Examining song lyrics reveals that artists often use words to describe fashion scenes vividly. Whether mentioning popular fashion brands, acknowledging particular styles, or narrating the spirit of an era, lyrics become a verbal runway where fashion trends are vividly portrayed.

In tandem, music videos, as visual companions to songs, play a vital role in merging music and fashion. Beyond the auditory experience, they visually represent the artist's creative vision. From clothing choices to choreographed movements, music videos act as canvases where fashion trends are displayed and elevated, leaving a lasting impression on the collective visual landscape.

This dynamic interplay between music, lyrics, and videos establishes a multi-dimensional connection between these art forms' auditory and visual components. It underscores how fashion is not a passive recipient of influence from music but an active participant, shaping and enhancing the narrative woven by musical compositions. 

Essentially, the synergy between music, lyrics, and videos solidifies the lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between the realms of melody and style.

Image of women models in fashion show

Runway rhythms

The interconnected influence between fashion and music is a dynamic exchange where both spheres mutually shape each other's essence. It is not merely a one-way street; fashion, in turn, profoundly impacts the world of music.

Designers frequently find inspiration in musical themes, translating these influences into their collections. The runway becomes a canvas where notes and chords transform into fabrics, textures, and innovative designs. This harmonious fusion gives rise to unique and captivating fashion narratives that mirror the rhythmic diversity found in musical compositions.

The synergy between fashion and music is perhaps most pronounced during fashion shows. Here, curated playlists serve as the sonic backdrop, carefully chosen to complement and elevate the runway experience. The music's tempo, melody, and mood align seamlessly with the pace and demeanour of the models' walk, creating a synergistic audio-visual spectacle.

This curated musical accompaniment transforms the fashion show into a complete sensory experience, where every step resonates with the rhythm of the selected tunes.
In this reciprocal connection between fashion and music, the runway becomes a stage where both kinds of art come together, creating a colourful and creative mix.

Image of young woman in a stylish business suit

Cultural and social statements

Music and fashion have significant roles in showing our culture and how society expresses itself. They reflect changes in culture, politics, and the beliefs of new generations and actively contribute to these changes. They act like mirrors, showing us what's happening around us and, at the same time, influencing those happenings.

Consider the punk movement, which serves as a compelling example of how music and fashion jointly become agents of social change. Beyond the torn jeans and leather jackets, punk was a vocal rebellion against conformity and societal norms. It became a distinctive voice challenging the established order, with both musical compositions and fashion choices serving as potent instruments of dissent.

So, in a sense, music and fashion act like mirrors reflecting how our society changes. They tell the story of what's going on, challenge our way of thinking, and help shape what we collectively believe in.


The connection between music and fashion is like a fascinating dance, where both serve as ways to express ourselves and influence each other. 

It's a continuous journey, always changing and evolving. As we see how music and fashion develop over time, it becomes clear that this combination of melody and style tells a timeless story about our culture. 

It's not just about following trends; it's about creating a lasting picture of who we are. 

The relationship between music and fashion is a dynamic expression of human creativity, showcasing a unique blend of melody and attire that not only mirrors but actively shapes our cultural story. 

And as this journey continues, we can expect new chapters to unfold, adding fresh perspectives to the ongoing tale of our ever-changing times.

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