Communication Through Fashion at the Video Music Awards

Fashion to Communicate Brand

As a stirring curiosity brews about the MTV Video Music Awards 2016’s celebrity outfits, I will reflect on last year’s frocks and strategical shocks and ask how celebrities’ decisions to wear the sometimes outrageous outfits they do serve the dual purpose of communicating theirs and the designer’s brand.

Fashion has always served multiple purposes when it comes to major events such as awards nights or celebrity parties: Fashion and music are like strawberries and cream – it is perfectly nice to have one without the other, but the two together can push your senses to a completely mouth-wateringly new level. One escalates the other.
Outfits are worn for all sorts of different reasons – for some artists it’s the more garish, the better; for others it’s got to be a seductive, classy number, while others may want to appear more outlandish. It is more than simply about how much skin goes on show – celebrities often have other objectives in mind when going for the shock factor. At celebrity events the get-up means everything because it all feeds into brand marketing and what is communicated to the audience. For some it doesn’t always matter what sort of attention is received – even some negative attention means that people are noticing – and and will remember you next time they release a single or album.
Outfits ultimately have a strategic aim when it comes to what’s flashing on the red carpet.

Consider the Objective
Artists and designers collaborate on the kind of outfit that will deliver a key message linked to their brand. It could be related to a new single or album release, about attracting a new audience or linked to the music genre they represent.
Selena Gomez in her Calvin Klein frock last year said more than simply wearing a designer at a special event. Far from the young, mainstream singer she started out as, her frock alone seemed to elevate her to a more high-profile, elegant artist. Chyna Blak’s all-in-one outfit in 2015 made a bold statement that certainly made a statement and for her achieved her underlying objective.

Reaching New Audiences
Fashion and music have always been intrinsically linked, with fashion building on an artists’s musical expression, and music adding a sensory element to fashion in a big way. Artists wear certain threads that are common among particular sub-groups as a way of reaching out to them, of making themselves known to those groups and relate to them through fashion.
Likewise, the fashion designer also benefits from accessing new markets through the high impact a celebrity makes when strutting in their design. This way, a designer can also publicise their brand and gain connections with other artists.

A Statement of Status
Artists use fashion to communicate their status, their power and to glorify their moment on the red carpet. It can make them stand out, win some publicity and get people talking – it can be simple as that.
With some of the ensembles that celebrities often put together, such as for Stella Maxwell in her Moschino, graffiti-entrenched dress, it represents their power as an artist, while also showing the high-profile brands she is in connection with.

Individualistic and Confident
There are times when an artist wants to set themselves apart from everyone else – to show people that they are their own person. Whether they have had some negative media or they simply want to show they are their own person, it can often create an innate sense of secret respect from fellow artists for them.

Setting a Trend
Without even intending to, an artist is almost instantaneously setting a trend or style for fashionista and fans to follow through what they wear. This has an enormous impact on not only the artist, but the designer and their brand, too. It’s not always about the artist and their music – often, there is the opportunity for the fashion brand putting itself out there using an artist as a channel through which to launch itself. This way, everyone wins – both the artist’s and the designer’s brand.