It’s Grammys Weekend, and FN is looking at how stars of the stage influence the footwear industry.
Musicians have always been arbiters of style, helping to define the trends of the day and push boundaries with their creative impulses.
But today, it seems that more and more top talents are helping to shape fashion in other ways — from the inside.
Traditionally, brands have hired musicians for short-term gigs to appear in advertising campaigns or serve as a spokesperson at events. Those unions are lucrative on both sides — brands benefit from an artists’ star power, and the musician can get a nice payout for perhaps an afternoon of work.
More long-term partnerships have often taken the form of a licensing deal — putting the artist’s name on fashion products. Think: Jessica Simpson, Fergie or (the godfather of shoe deals) Carlos Santana.
But lately, the relationship between brands and top talent has been changing, most notably with superstars like Rihanna, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. Each has (wisely) sought to build a fashion franchise that they can take ownership of, both financially and creatively. Rihanna has her Fenty label, West has the Yeezy line and Williams is a co-founder of the Billionaire Boys Club.
Over the years, many musicians have dipped their toes into the shoe business, with varying results. Creating a successful venture relies on an untold number of factors — finding a reliable partner, developing quality product and committing to the label. Indeed, that last one is crucial. The most clear sign that a celebrity fashion brand will fail is when the celebrity is never actually seen wearing their own products.
But today’s stars seem to be learning from the lessons of the past. Katy Perry, for instance, often steps out in styles from her namesake footwear line, and she uses her social media platform to promote the latest looks.
The same is true for sneaker influencers like Future and The Weeknd, who have enthusiastically touted their brand collaborations online and on stage. Their shoe careers are off to a strong start.
To see the 25 music stars who are owning the footwear biz right now, click through this gallery.
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