It’s no secret that many music icons also make waves in the world of fashion. From the rock and roll singer who everyone wanted to look like, to the hip hop stars who made streetwear cool, over the years many of the world’s great musicians have become almost as well-known for their fashion sense, as they have for their music.
Here, we present some of greatest music icons of the last 100 years – providing an insight into each icon’s unique signature style and highlighting some pieces that reflect this in our new SS17 collections.
Ray Charles managed to overcome racial prejudice, the tragic loss of his mother and brother at a young age, and losing his sight at the age of seven to become one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians. Ray pioneered the genre of soul music and brought it to the masses in the 1950s, earning himself the nickname ‘The High Priest of Soul’.
It’s hard for us to comprehend today just how provocative Elvis Presley was when he first hit the airwaves, with his snake-like hips and African American musical influences. Nonetheless, he went on to become the best-selling solo artist in the history of music, thanks to his lively mix of rockabilly, pop and blues, and to this day remains the undisputed ‘King of Rock and Roll’.
Most musicians don’t receive Presidential Medals of Freedom – but then Bob Dylan isn’t most musicians. Since the 1960s, his songs have served as anthems for the civil rights, anti-war and counterculture movements, defying traditional boundaries and conventions to create a sound that is completely unique.
Bob Dylan’s look harks back to laidback ‘60s cool – think crumpled shirts and kooky stripes. Bring the style into the 21st century by teaming a soft, striped cotton t-shirt with a Tan Leather Jacket.
No artist reinvented themselves as much as David Bowie did. Over five decades of stardom, he consistently experimented with genres and personas – and, in the process, earned himself a reputation as one of the music industry’s greatest innovators. His tragic passing last year, just two days after the release of his final album, sparked mourning across the globe.
Skip the Ziggy Stardust look and instead channel Bowie’s ‘80s phase, during which time he rocked the bright colours and bold silhouettes of the era. A heavy check long-sleeved shirt and rugged leather jacket should do the trick.
Paul Weller has enjoyed musical success since the 1970s, both as a solo artist and as part of iconic bands, such as The Jam and The Style Council. While his music has spanned many genres – including mod revival, blue-eyed soul and punk rock – his lyrics retain a distinctively British flavour that has led to him becoming one of the country’s most important music icons and the recipient of multiple Brit Awards.
Paul Weller is nicknamed ‘The Modfather’ for a reason, so pay homage to his favourite subculture by pairing an Fred Perry knit with an iconic pair of Desert Boots.
Run-D.M.C. were amongst the first group to make rap music mainstream and, in many ways, pioneered the new school of hip hop that emerged in the USA in the 1980s. They were the first hip hop group to earn a gold album, platinum record and, ultimately, multiplatinum certification; the first to be nominated for a Grammy Award; and the first to appear on MTV, and on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
With their black sportswear, trademark fedoras and love of Adidas, Run-D.M.C. made streetwear hip. Bag the look yourself by pairing a classic Adidas Originals bomber sweatshirt with a black trucker cap.
Although Mark Ronson first started making a name for himself as a DJ, while still a student in New York during the 1990s, he didn’t hit the big time until the 2000s, when his second album achieved both critical and chart success. In addition to his own music, he’s also been behind some of the 21st century’s most popular records to date, producing both Adele’s 19 and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.
Ronson’s sharp style has won him a reputation as one of Britain’s best dressed men, so it’s easy to see why it’s a look many are eager to emulate. We’d recommend pairing this casual M3600 polo shirt with a premium bomber jacket.
Alex Turner rose to fame as the reluctant frontman of the Arctic Monkeys, a rock band comprised of teenagers barely out of school. Initially too shy to share his songs with the group, Alex’s intricate lyrics and rapid delivery style went on to play a key role in catapulting the band to success with Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – the fastest selling debut album in British chart history.
He’s a modern day biker boy, so grab yourself a bomber jacket and classic Basketweave short sleeve shirt to create a look that puts a 21st century twist on classic rock and roll.
From a childhood in London spent bunking school in favour of the local library, to years of homelessness busking on the streets of Paris, Benjamin Clementine has not followed an orthodox route to success. Nonetheless, his self-taught musical skills and powerful lyrics have served him well, winning him a name on the Parisian art scene, and, ultimately, a Mercury Prize and comparisons with Nina Simone.
Clementine might be back in Blighty, but he still manages to maintain an air of Parisian chic. Get the look by teaming a sharp longline jacket with an understated knit.
Kendrick Lamar only rose to prominence in 2010, but since then he’s topped charts on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to being an award-winning solo artist, he’s also a member of West Coast hip hop super group Black Hippy – and he’s collaborated with some of America’s most famous rappers, including Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes.
Lamar’s look offers a relatively understated approach to street style, eschewing the flashy excess of yesteryear in favour of toned down colour schemes and comfortable fabrics. Get the look with a plain long-sleeved sweatshirt and blue bomber jacket.