ShortList’s style director Adrian Clark looks at why DJ's are now big business in high fashion
Shielded by a wall of burly security men, TAG Heuer’s latest super-star ambassador is escorted from backstage to front-and-centre on a mega-production stage to perform before a crowd of impetuous fans.
Announced that day (28 August) as the face who will introduce the luxury watch brand to the younger, affluent Y-Generation, a sector described by TAG Heuer’s CEO (and president of the watch division of the LVMH watch group) Jean-Claude Biver as the ones "who will curate the direction of the luxury market of the future”, step forward 19-year-old Dutch DJ Martin Garrix.
Ranked number four in DJ mag’s Top 100 list of the world’s hottest disk jockeys, the electronic dance music prodigy’s appointment by a luxury heavyweight such as LVMH (holding company behind powerhouses TAG, Louis Vuitton and Dior to name a few) is more significant than you might think - it is confirmation that DJ’s have not only found their place in the world of and fashion, but they are actively being pursued by it.
In his new role, Garrix will sit alongside Cara Delevigne, Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow DJ David Guetta, in a conscious move by TAG to target a younger audience - Guetta even has new watch (due out in October) dedicated to him by the brand, with a second time-zone function, useful to keep track from wherever you are in the world, be it Miami or Ibiza.
And why not?
The electronic music scene is the perfect platform to speak to younger men, and a truly international one for that matter. With few lyrics used, the ‘tunes’ appeal to any territory without feeling imported (even though they inevitably are). Couple this with the huge reach on Twitter and Facebook of these DJ’s, not to mention the fact the fashion industry is increasingly aware it needs to get a younger audience on side to survive the turn of the next century, and it goes some way into revealing why this new breed of musician has has quickly been thrust into a new sort of marketing.
There's also more to it than you might think. The Y-Generation has often been identified as favouring the throwaway and being less engaged with investing in quality with timeless appeal - core values of the luxury industry - than any other generation. So by getting a big name DJ - a Calvin Harris, now the face of Emporio Armani, or Grammy nominated Swedish DJ Aiicii, who starred in Ralph Lauren’s autumn 2012 Denim & Supply advertising campaign - luxury brands are putting in serious effort to readdress the idea that spending a bit more for quality isn’t just something your granddad thinks.
Not that it's only the luxury side of fashion that sees the benefits of DJ patronage. It's no coincidence Topman’s first ever ‘celeb’ spearheaded collab collection has been forged with DJ, Nick Grimshaw – significant because the only parallel that can be drawn between the collection that launches on 14 October and what Topman’s female counterpart, Topshop has offered, is a range with supermodel Kate Moss and now R&B diva Beyonce.
Of course we're sure it helps if you've got cheekbones you could hang a coat on and washboard abs (see Harris above), but there's no denying that these new poster boys of luxury fashion are not only signalling a change in how we consume high-end fashion, but how we consume music itself.
We're not sure if Bob Dylan's has ever worked up a sweat raving to EDM, but as the man himself put it best, the times they are a changing.