Whether it was the vivid colors coupled with vibrant patterns of the ‘80s acid house scene or the arrival of functional steez by way of oversized JNCO pants and fanny packs popular at any given ‘90s rave, fashion has always played a significant role in electronic music culture. Since the birth of dance music, style has always been an extension of the creativity of performing artists and fans alike.
As we near the end of 2019, we can’t help but reflect on just how good this year has been to us in terms of solid collaborations between some of our favorite DJs and fashion houses. This year has also cast a spotlight on DJs doubling as designers of their own imprints – and we’re completely here for it.
Exhibit A: DJ-producer Honey Dijon can now add “designer” to the resume through an ongoing collaboration with luxury fashion imprint, Comme Des Garçons. Meanwhile, Peggy Gou partnered with New Guards Group to create Kirin, a brand that highlights her Korean roots, personal fashion sense, and inspo from her world travels. Then there’s Idris Elba, a true Renaissance man, inspired by his passion for DJ culture, launched his new unisex streetwear brand, 2HR SET.
And that’s just scratching the surface. Here are 10 DJs nailing the fashion game, one wardrobe must-have at a time.
This year, Zhu teamed up with his creative director, Emmy Slattery, to design a one-of-a-kind festival jacket for the Las Vegas edition of Electric Daisy Carnival. The jacket is comprised of festival wristbands sent in by fans from across the globe where they’ve seen Zhu perform. Each fan submitted their wristband and included a special note to him describing their experience or thought on how his music made an impression on them. The wristband jacket was also on display during his pop-up shop at Alien Jerky in California prior to his Saturday performance at EDC, and in addition to viewing the jacket, fans could purchase exclusive Alien-themed Zhu merch.
The Martinez Brothers
The Martinez Brothers have long been advocates of both the Big Apple and fashion: for two years, they composed and arranged the music for Givenchy’s Fall/Winter runway shows. They even collaborated with New Era on an exclusive cap! So it’s no shocker that the Bronx-born duo are currently the faces of DKNY’s 30th anniversary campaign, alongside pop singer Halsey. They played DKNY’s party during New York Fashion Week this past September, and currently you can spot their sultry billboards all over NYC. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that both bros effortlessly kill it with their personal style.
You can’t talk fashion without the thought of certain distinctive artists, with multi-platinum French producer DJ Snake being at the forefront of trailblazing style. The Pardon My French imprint initially launched with the release of a limited run of merch sold at the shows of DJ Snake, Tchami, Mercer, and Malaa. Overall, the brand captures the minimalist aesthetic of DJ Snake while also featuring styles in either bold patterns or bright hues. This September, Pardon My French teamed up with Japanese sportswear brand Mizuno for an exclusive capsule. Their first collaborative effort features a full tracksuit – which makes complete sense, because Snake can usually be spotted donning one. The patterns of the Pardon My French x Mizuno tracksuit pays homage to colorful African batiks.
Amber Giles, aka Mija, has never played by the rules when it comes to production – and her inimitable fashion line functions similarly. Even her own personal style doesn’t fit into a defined box: as a mixed media artist and fashion designer, Giles launched her Made by Mija in 2016 out of a desire to make clothing she would actually wear and not simply sell as average, underwhelming concert tees. Her collection sees a wide variety of streetwear pieces ranging from a monochromatic lineup of hoodies and tees, plus a bralette and anime-inspired stickers and much more.
Many burgeoning style icons cut their teeth in the fashion space by working in retail. However, the story is a bit different for Steve Aoki: he tapped into fashion by making promo tees for his band back in the ‘90s. Fast forward to today, and the award-winning DJ has taken that same DIY ethos and turned it into the Dim Mak Collection. The premium label made its U.S. debut in Saks Fifth Avenue in 2017 and has partnered with other influential clothing and accessory brands, such as the current limited edition collab with Joyrich. In November, Aoki introduced the Dim Mak x Tatras, a collaboration with Tatras, the Japanese luxury outerwear brand that explores Aoki’s interest in space travel, biotech and other future-forward themes. A pop-up shop for the collection will be in Chicago through December 17.
Techno maven Sian has teamed up with legendary skateboarder Aaron “Jaws” Hamoki for a limited run of Sian x Jaws tees. The two were introduced at a Sian show in L.A., where they bonded over Sian being an ex-skater and pored over his knowledge of Jaws from his renowned Lyon 25 feats and adventures with the Tony Hawk team.
Subsequently, Jaws and Sian began discussing the correlations between skate culture and electronic music. Interestingly, both Sian and Jaws are self-taught and thus have the synergy to create a merch line that’s as audacious and rebellious as they are. “Using bold, short form words that resonated with them personally,” states the tee’s description, “this is an exploration of positivity in these troubled times.” This t-shirt collaboration follows up the duo’s previous work designing decks with Octopus skateboards.
The awesomeness of Saint Laurent’s Spring 2020 show was set in the midst of the Eiffel Tower and featured a rain-drenched runway and final walk by world-famous supermodel, Naomi Campbell. As if the epic large-scale production wasn’t alluring enough, the soundtrack was equally as grand. For it, the label once again enlisted fellow Frenchman SebastiAn as the show’s music producer. (SebastiAn has produced all the music for Saint Laurent fashion shows for the last four years.) This month, ahead of the release of his sophomore album, Thirst, SebastiAn released the music video for “Sober,” which was produced by Saint Laurent and directed by the brand’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello.
For the release of his most recent solo album, Mayday, German techno titan Alex Ridha — better known as Boys Noize — partnered with designer/creative director Virgil Abloh for an exclusive Off-White x Mayday capsule. This marked the debut of Off-White creating a collection for an artist and album, and the collab proved to be a win-win and the beginning of future Off-White partnerships with artists. Following the sold-out success of the line, Abloh joined forces with Ridha in producing the Orvnge EP, Abloh’s first-ever official music credit.
Both Off-White designer Virgil Abloh and veteran South African DJ-producer Black Coffee have become household names thanks to their innovation and signature stylings in the world of fashion and music. Fun fact: Back in the summer of 2018, Black Coffee announced his plans of opening an art school based in Johannesburg, South Africa, which would be designed by Abloh. Their relationship no doubt aided in the launch of this spring’s capsule collection designed by Off-White in honor of Black Coffee and his influence on Abloh’s musical calling.
Whether behind the decks or debuting a new collection, Sita Abellan is a forerunner of all that’s exciting in both dance music and fashion. In addition to lending her design hand for capsules for labels of the likes of Faith Connexion, Misbhv, HTC, and Freak City, she’s also initiated several of her own fashion drops including Techno Capitalism and Observed. This year she launched Lilith, a bespoke jewelry line that’s been worn by Jorja Smith, Kim Kardashian, Billie Eilish, Kesha and other A-list celebs.