The history of fashion and music around the world has shown time and time again that when the two industries meet, it is a match made in entertainment heaven. Due to the massive potential of this relationship, many Western musicians are merging their brands with the illustrious fashion industries in their respective countries. At the same time, fashion brands are turning to musicians for brand ambassadorships, as well as choices for front row seats at their fashion shows. In Liberia, though, the relationship between the two seems almost non-existent, and it is unclear why since there are countless benefits present for both sides.
In a recent tweet to her Twitter feed, up and coming artist, Colletta Ledlum, AKA, CK, shed light on the apparent lack of fashion editing in musician Pillz’s 2018 video for her single, Diva. In the video, a model/dancer is seen wearing a US confederate flag bikini. The presence of this flag to any hired fashion stylist would’ve been an absolute no-go outfit choice due to the oppressive history of the flag. However, this was not the case, since Pillz, like many artists in Liberia, chose to allow the models to style themselves for her music video.
This choice by many Liberian musicians to forego utilizing the fashion industry in the country is one that is stagnating both industries. Likewise, deciding to self-style music videos, photo shoots, major events, and their everyday street-style is doing the industries a disservice.
Similarly, the merger of fashion and music is not only seen in the West alone, as Nigerian and other popular African musicians are also cashing in on the industries’ potentials. In 2018, pop artist, Wizkid was invited to walk in Italian Brand, Dolce and Gabana’s SS/19 runway show at the 2018 Milan Fashion Week. At the same time, artist Tiwa Savage was invited to several shows at the recently ended 2019 New York Fashion Week, following the release of her fashion-inspired video for her latest single, 49-99. As seen with these two African artists, utilizing the global potential of fashion is important for the globalization of musicians and their brands.
Meanwhile, the burden also rests on fashion brands to connect with music artists in producing quality styling in the entertainment industry. As seen with Western musicians like Cardi B, Rihanna, Lil Kim, and Kanye West, quality styling in music videos, red carpets, and street style can accelerate the brands of the artist, the designer, and the stylist.
Although, two Liberian brands that are utilizing the potentials of this relationship are artist, Faith Vonic and fashion brand, Afric Fashion One. As the brand ambassador of Afric Fashion One, Faith Vonic has trusted her styling into the hands of the brand, who now styles her music videos, photo shoots, and red carpet looks.
On the other hand, not every artist will be lucky enough to be selected as a fashion brand’s ambassador. However, that does not mean Liberian artists should forego merging with the fashion industry. In fact, moving forward, the burden rests on both the fashion and music industries to merge and begin creating quality work to come out of Liberia. This move will improve the artistic quality of the industry, and further avoid fashion mishaps like a confederate flag making a cameo in a music video. If Liberian artists, designers, and stylists want to be taken more seriously, more seriousness need to be applied in their respective executions.