“Music videos are the new runway,” says Jeff Carvalho, co-founder of streetwear website Highsnobiety.
According to Carvalho, the influence of the pop promo on the catwalk is nothing new, from Run-DMC’s chunky chains to Nirvana’s grungy plaid shirts. But in 2020, a shift has taken place.
Music videos have also filled a void. “[They] have replicated the sense of escapism associated with fashion week,” says Katherine Bailey, a retail analyst at Edited. “[They’ve] repurposed key elements, including the theatre and production, celebrity status and aspirational clothing.” Another factor is a growing appetite for new things to watch as people stay at home more.
Indeed, for fashion designers the medium has a broad appeal. Nicola Formichetti, who has worked closely with Lady Gaga on many of her music videos, including Bad Romance and the recent Rain on Me, says: “With a music video, there is a narrative in place, which gives the fashion a life. It is much more effective and interesting to showcase the fashion through a story to me. Almost like watching a short film rather than watching a catwalk.”