August 10, 2011

The Musical Hybrid

Collaboration and integration are key trends not only within the fashion industry, but relevant in all businesses and professional fields. One of the latest shifts in the music world, for example, is the development of a multi-media experience, pairing visuals, music, fashion and art, to create an interactive sensory-stimulating experience for the audience. Creating what we call a “musical hybrid,” music has become more than just a song and is used more and more as a compliment to multiple media outlets, resulting in more intensified expressions of particular feelings or emotions.

photo via: Met Museum

Case in point, one of this year’s most popular fashion exhibit, Alexander McQueen’s retrospective “Savage Beauty” hosted by the MET, was not only a display of the designer’s hand crafts, but a multi-sensory experience incorporating video, sound, and technology. John Gosling, McQueen’s longtime music supervisor, assisted in pairing the clothes in the exhibition with the music that Gosling originally played as they went down the runway. Capturing the exact mood McQueen envisioned when displaying his collections, Bjork’s “Frosti” plays alongside dresses in the “Romantic Exoticism” and “Atlantis” plays in the background to the spring/summer 2010 “Plato’s Atlantis” collection. Because music was so integral to McQueen’s work, the musical element of the exhibit gives the audience a fuller experience in understanding the designer’s creative visions.

video via: StyleList

It is no surprise that music has always been influential to fashion designers, and vice versa. In addition to McQueen, many other various designers have shared their love for particular musicians and bands, and their interests are sometimes recognizable through their collections. Appealing to the YouTube generation, rising fashion designer Prabal Gurung has taken it a step further and decided to present his first ever resort wear in an unexpected platform: a music video. Collaborating with Baltimore dance-rap artist Rye Rye, Gurung launched his resort line with his music video aptly entitled "New Thing." The entire video was inspired by the collection, and as Rye Rye was the muse, her presence, music, and personal style brought out the collection in an entirely new, attractive way to Gurung's customers and YouTube fans.

photo via: PSFK

Similarly, conceptually driven Icelandic singer-songwriter, Bjork, also released her new album “Biophilla” not as a traditional CD or iTunes track, but as an iPhone and iPad application. Taking advantage of Apple’s capabilities, each track is downloaded individually to present its own set of experiences. The first track “Crystalline,” for example, includes a game, the music score, a visual graphic experience for the track and extensive sleeve notes. Each song is set apart, not only by it’s musical notes, but by it’s supporting counterparts, to truly allow each track to have it’s own voice. This new album is in many ways, a leading innovation in today’s current music world, allowing traditional content to be experienced in unlikely ways that extend beyond the conventional.

photo via: Behance

Even the sports industry is tapping into the musical world, with Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, and Billabong, the world’s leading outdoor sports lifestyle company, forming a strategic, global brand partnership. Bringing together music and action, the two companies will unite the world’s leading artists with equally renowned athletes. Their list of collaborations include live events, music compliations, sports and music merchandise, digital download offers, preloaded audio/visual hardware, streaming radio and TV, and a dedicated music service. By working together, these two leading businesses can even more powerfully break into today's current youth culture and entertainment industry by providing new, exciting experiences.

photo via: Erica Glyn

Ending on a more personal note, we at MBF Trend Consulting were most inspired to write this post by the recent record launch event of musician, composer, and producer, Erica Glyn. Debuting her latest album "Static," Glyn collaborated with filmmaker and video artist, Laia Cabrera (whom we mentioned in our previous posts). Hosted at Flux Studios, a recording studio in NYC's East Village, the entire record was played first-hand on a high-quality studio sound system to a selected live audience.

video via: YouTube

Laia Cabrera and animator/ installation-maker Isabelle Duverger created a cinematic atmosphere to compliment Glyn's music. The three have been collaborating for many years, incorporating and enhancing each other's work. Together, they have crafted a special skill of bringing a profound musical and visual moment that truly penetrates the audience members, leaving the crowd speechless and mesmorized. Erica Glyn's new album is written, recorded, and produced solely by the artist, with contributions from a collection of well-respected artists. For more info on purchasing the album, please click here.

Overall, we believe that synergy is key in moving forward in all industry sectors, whether it be music, fashion, sports, etc. Through collaborative efforts and ideas exchanged between traditionally non-related parties, innovation is born and new experiences and products are developed. We are excited to see how the music industry will continue to grow as technology and new ideas are always being pushed and explored.


  1. Collaboration:music, style and technology get more intricate
    This impressive article is rich in examples on the current trend of collaboration between mediums and industries. Of course fashion and music have a long history together, but current technology is creating some fascinating new avenues in both collaboration and innovation.

    By the way, there is a collaborative effort amongst fashion bloggers and appreciators of fashion to convince the creators of the Met's "Alexander McQueen : Savage Beauty" exhibit to go on tour, and you can collaborate by adding your name on the increasingly cireculated petition as per this link:

    Somewhere related inpast posts, my blog:

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