Style & Experiences

Music: a social revolution in luxury

Elena Cozza

By Elena Cozza08 juillet 2021

Music has always had the power to represent communities and people, while creating trends and evolutions. It has always been intrinsic to pop-culture and a reflection of society. Shaping each other at the peak of a cultural revolution, luxury uses their codes and is the great winner.

London. UK. Jay Z performs live on stage at the 02 Wireless at Hyde Park in London. 3rd July 2008 (Shutterstock)

Over the past decades, the perception on music has shifted. It has become a democratic pleasure and a reflection of social revolutions happening throughout the years. The 80s and 90s saw the rise of hip-hop and R’n’B and boomed during the crack poverty in the US. With Eminem, first white rapper to be considered on the same level as his peers such as 50cent and Snoop Dogg, music united. The controversy that we are now exploring is the shift that music experienced, from being the representation of minorities, to the so-called “drip” magnet, a word referring to being effortlessly stylish.

The inclusive elite

The cultural influence and power held by music, and the fashion world’s influence that has now become an extrinsic value, have both given life to power couples such as the axis Jenner/Kardashian and iconic rapper (i.e., Travis Scott or Kanye West). Artists are no longer considered as social outcasts, they are now educated, informed, and are invited to runways and fashion shows. They have become part of an “inclusive elite”, open to fresh perspectives, that aim at understanding and respecting street culture, cultural background, and poverty-related issues. Being “woke” is now a fundamental prerequisite.

That "get rich or die trying" is the evolution of music.

Anna Zo’, project manager at Music Innovation Hub

The extraordinary shift has shown the great flexibility and dynamism of luxury brands, which have now realized that being inclusive and supporting pop-culture is key to reach a wider target. Luxury has seen fashion houses experience a boom among young micro communities, which were never considered as potential luxury consumers.

Audemars Piguet is a great example of luxury’s dynamism, proving that hip hop culture can certainly appreciate Swiss precision and high-quality watches. Jay Z led the way for the Swiss brand, contributing to its success in 2010, by wearing a Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph at many events. In 2009, he also rapped in Off That: “I’m so tomorrow the Audemars says yesterday”. Lil Wayne in his Marvin’s Room freestyle in 2011, rapped the following lyrics: “I value her time like an Audemars Piguet” and many more such as Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross and Meek Mill, were devoted to the brand. According to AZ Lyrics plateform, Audemars Piguet has been quoted in more than 200 songs. Admiration is crucial in the brand’s value and hip-hop culture revolves around its status.

A$AP Rocky, the Harlem rapper, was chosen by Dior to embody its men's fashion campaign in 2016 and 2017 (Shutterstock)

From A$AP Rocky modelling for Dior, to Kanye West launching his luxury fashion brand Yeezy, or Louis Vuitton’s creative director Virgil Abloh deejaying at Tomorrowland, music is there and is core to the intrinsic value of luxury fashion. Luxury brands have been partnering with the loudest, monogram-addicted, and logo-lover artists of the world. “Hype” is therefore guaranteed.

Rappers have now become fashionistas, monogram and boujee-like outfits are all crucial to the artists’ dress codes. Brands are riding the wave, identifying revenue generated by rappers. That baddie aesthetic has been shaping fashion trends over the past few years. Pumped lips, shrinking tops, vintage Fendi baguettes, and cargo pants are a must.

Luxury as an eternal powerful social status

Music has been shaping a new lifestyle for the youngest generations. The get rich or die tryin’ motto is now more current than ever. Making money, enjoying life, living fast like there is no tomorrow has convinced consumers to spend their money as proof of their social status. If money is to be spent, then rather than saving it like older generations used to, artists now rap about it. Proof is TikTok’s viral soundtrack: “Fendi on my body, but my feet is in Bottega, I'm getting money”. Social media are strongly influencing this new perspective and showing off is a necessity to demonstrate that brands are the status quo and can be appreciated by those who were otherwise not considered “elite”. Anyone can appreciate Loro Piana’s cashmere and Bottega Veneta’s intrecci.

By playing pop songs on my Instagram account, users get to know me and start appreciating my music.

Giulia Vazzoler, Italian pianist

In this regard, Anna Zo’, project manager at Music Innovation Hub, a social enterprise that believes in music as a tool for emancipation, inclusion and integration, states: “That get rich or die trying is the evolution of music, by being born in poverty and poor social conditions, music is a tool for self-affirmation, continuous growth, and fame, it is inevitable and brings the exasperation of representations. The rapid climb towards success born in extreme condition is a social redemption, therefore it generates excessive dynamics, such as ostentation and that fast life lifestyle. Music has the power of inclusion and access; it offers opportunities to all in a democratic way. It can only generate escalation”.

Giulia Vazzoler, Italian pianist with over 100'000 followers on Instagram (DR)

Money, fast life, music, jet set and rebellious behavior generate engagement, therefore revenue and in a world where experiencing is more exciting than owning, niche artists need to find a new way to emerge. Personality, passion, and excitement perfectly describe Giulia Vazzoler, an Italian pianist with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. Vazzoler explains that the key to emerge in the digital world is great quality of content, coherence and most importantly, sharing the truth. There is nothing more engaging than being human and remaining genuine. Sharing difficulties, struggles and happy moments connect us with the user, who starts living through the camera of the artist. As a classical music artist, staying in contact with a wide audience is harder than usual, therefore Giulia Vazzoler has been getting closer to the digital world by approaching the audience with pop songs, revisited through a classical key. Giulia Vazzoler explains: “Catching the interest and being genuine is essential knowing your followers and attracting a wider audience. By playing pop songs on my Instagram account, users get to know me and start appreciating my flexibility. This allows me to revisit them in a classical way and still relate to many users. It creates an exchange in which followers get closer to my world and where I show my talent and flexibility in appreciating every genre. I strongly believe there is no better genre, there is high quality music and low-quality music”. The promise of inclusion is on the move.

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