Music and fashion — a union better than Bonnie and Clyde’s, a splash classier but one that ignites just as much fun among onlookers. The relationship between both worlds has become so intertwined lately that it’s hard to believe that one could survive, let alone thrive, without the other. So naturally, the fusion of clubs and catwalks over the years has culminated in some seriously coveted collaborations.
Just think for minute back to the defining moment of 2013 in both music and fashion — when Daft Punk drip-fed leaks of a forthcoming album and did it wearing Saint Laurent. In a culture once reserved for street fashion, suddenly high fashion labels have tapped in and upped the ante. Just as Daft Punk changed the way we think about modern electronic music, the collaboration also changed the way we look at high fashion. It’s not just for yuppies anymore.
But the link between fashion and music has always existed. Jay Z designed clothes for hip-hop heads and Madonna and her cones pretty much dominated the fashionable pop music scene for nearly a decade.
“The link between music and fashion has existed for a long time and I think the relationship is so close because both music and fashion are all about creativity,” says Mykal Lin (林哲儀) who is perhaps Taiwan’s best and most eccentrically dressed DJ.
“Actually we see so many fashion designers that are inspired by the music they love. And sometimes an artist, band, or DJ will collaborate with a fashion brand they love too because it helps them reach out to more people who might potentially like their music,” he says
Speaking for DJ culture, Mykal says that the integration of fashion into music was inevitable because aesthetics in both worlds are paramount. He added that the union has allowed for both designers and DJs to diversify promotions by joining them together, ultimately leading to larger audiences interested in both. For those already in the game, this has only made both worlds more stimulating and dynamic.
But Mykal has had his head in the game longer than any other DJ in Taiwan — more than 10 years — and often reaches out to our trendy neighbor to the north for influence and inspiration in both music and fashion. Japan has long been considered Asia’s fashion capital, and while it’s not quite like North America with festivals every other week, Japan’s music scene is titanic compared to what we know here in Taiwan. Mykal says this has to do mostly with population, but also a weakening economy has a lot to do Taiwan’s slower growth.
Still, he’s working hard to change that, and often invites Japanese DJs to play his parties in the hope of influencing the scene here, or at least so people can experience a taste of what it could eventually be like.
“I have listened to Japanese electronic and dance music for over 20 years and go to Japan often,” Mykal says. “So I know the club scene is good and there are a lot of good DJs who are even much better than the so-called Top 100 DJs.”
Tonight, Mykal hosts DJ Daruma from Dexpistols at Pipe and together they are launching the Japanese DJ’s newest label from Tokyo called Crepeman. Mykal explains that Daruma has been involved in the burgeoning street fashion scene in Japan for over 15 years. For 10 years, Daruma ran the brand Roc Star, but left in 2010 to form Crepeman.
“With Crepeman, his goal is to bring his love for hip-hop (Public Enemy is one of his all-time favorites) and the origins of street fashion culture into one Crepeman design,” Mykal says.
In fact, Crepeman has garnered such appeal that American-based fashion web magazine Hypebeast recently did an 8-minute video special on DJ Daruma, chronicling his progression from hip-hop to house starting at the age of 15 — all while sporting a Mohawk — and why he needed fashion to keep him interested in it all. It can be seen on the magazine’s Web site or on YouTube.
■ DJ Daruma plays tonight at Pipe from 11pm to 4am at Pipe, 1 Siyuan St, Taipei City (台北市思源街1號). Admission is NT$400 at the door (includes a drink).