Fashion and music are intrinsically linked; from the catwalk soundtrack to the dual signifiers of teenage tribes they share a similar history of self-expression that sees the two naturally intertwined.
However on a ground level, when it comes to fashion’s most basic element – the practical ‘trying on of clothes’ in store – the pairing of music and fabric is often remiss. Yes, there is always music playing in the High St and boutique stores, but it offers little to no direct connection to the actual garments a person is trying on. The carefully constructed campaigns, soundtracks and endorsement deals executed by brands go out the window once a potential buyer steps in front of a mirror and draws that curtain.
However, technology is rapidly catching up and offering a wealth of potential in this area. Whether it’s the augmented reality mirror technique - as utilised by the WWF in its recent shock campaign – put to a more practical use, or the distant promise of clothing that has the ability to think for itself, future fabrics are going to have a life of their own.
One company bringing the concept of musically enabled clothes to an immediate reality, and offering something of a lifeline to brands, is Brazilian agency Gomus.
The company was seen promoting its Echo Player at the Rio Fashion Business conference in Rio de Janeiro back in August, a new sonic branding service which offers brands the ability to tailor music to specific product.
The Echo player is a digital music service - with a very obvious nod to Spotify - specifically designed to offer sonic branding functionality to brands.
Part of the service is a new initiative entitled ‘One To One Experience’ a platform that enables RFID tags embedded in clothing to trigger specific music when they come into contact with a changing room, thereby enabling brands to select their soundtrack from a database of constantly evolving music. This means that brands can implement their own sonic ID when someone tries on a piece of clothing, or even create combinations based on a particular outfit.
The new concept is set to roll out across Brazilian clothing retailers in 2011 and it will be interesting to see how both the fashion industry and the music business will profit from its introduction.
Effectively this could mean that the next single release form an artist could be heard when a music fan tries on a certain pair of jeans. Twinned with an in changing room mobile download of the track, this could see fashion and music forging a whole new series of alignments to increase both store footfall and brand/band awareness.