How the women of dance music have taken over high fashion
Where music and fashion collide
Search “Sita Abellan” in Instagram’s search bar, and her page explodes onto the screen, a brilliant display of neon colors and flashes of skin. No detail is too small to overlook for her extravagant, often out-of-this-world outfits. Here, she pairs sheer, bright green Gucci tights with an oversized white t-shirt and metallic purple slingback heels. In a close up selfie from another day, her signature razor sharp navy blue hair is pulled back by a trail of pink plastic butterfly clips that outline her forehead. They match perfectly with her pastel pink oversized sunglasses and a bright purple neon puffer coat that swallows her body.
While Abellan is known for her talents behind the decks as a techno selector, playing at Ushuaïa and DC10 in Ibiza, New York's House of Yes and Trade in Miami, her first love has always been fashion. Growing up in a small town in the south of Spain, Abellan describes herself as a "weirdo", ruffling the feathers of her more traditional hometown by dressing boldly and unapologetically. Persisting through the stares and judgment of her small town would eventually pay off and lead her to a professional modeling career with a breakout role in Rihanna's 'Bitch Better Have My Money' music video. From there, it was only onwards and upwards for Sita to not only become a muse for fashion designers, but also to come into her own as a creative, both in music as a DJ and as a one-of-a-kind fashion icon.
"If you are true and real to yourself and you are doing things that come from yourself, everything is possible," she says, looking back on her career(s) thus far. "I was able to come up with a very defined role for myself [in both fashion, then music]. Fashion follows music [often]. The changes and trends in the world of music have a big influence on where fashion goes."
It's an astute observation: during the presentation of the upcoming SS2020 collections at Paris Fashion Week, a multitude of major fashion houses debuted collections nodding to various aspects of rave and electronic culture. Versace paid homage to the late Prodigy frontman Keith Flint with models donning spiked hair and a host of leather, denim and leopard print outfits. Raf Simons tipped his hat to rave culture and especially to Belgium's R&S Records with an outfit featuring the pioneering label's logo emblazoned on an oversized white t-shirt.
While names familiar to the electronic world have routinely tiptoed on the outer edges of high fashion - mainly soundtracking and DJing at runway events - it seems only now that the high guards of iconic houses are beginning to warmly welcome artists in, not only as muses, but also as designers in their own right.
Chicago native Honey Dijon is perhaps house music's most perfect offering to take on high fashion. Known for her dual wielding of sharp technical mastery and also for her impossibly expansive breadth of musical expertise gained from her New York upbringing, the parallels between her expert music curation and her taste for elegant and high fashion simplicity seem unmistakable.
"Art, music and fashion was always intertwined for me. I don't separate creative expression," she states. "Gender non-conforming and non-binary clubbers are the ones who always [take] risks with clothing to express themselves in colorful and impactful ways."
Already well established as a favored choice DJ for high fashion houses like Dior and Burberry, Honey Dijon has now ascended to her own role as a designer with the announcement that came earlier this year of her upcoming collaboration line with Japanese label, Comme des Garçon. The co-built brand will be appropriately called Honey Fucking Dijon and will debut with a collection of t-shirts and bags designed specifically for DJs.
"As a trans woman of colour I’d never imagined that this would be possible," Honey wrote in her post around the announcement, which also included a thank you to President of Comme des Garçon International, Adrian Joffe. “Thank you for allowing me to represent my culture, community and love of house music. I am truly honoured."
Honey certainly isn't alone in her design pursuits.
Sita launched her own jewelry line called Lillith in 2018, recently celebrating her latest unisex collection at Paris Fashion Week, where well-known friends like J. Balvin and Boys Noize stopped by, each dripping in their own necklace, bracelet or chain adorned with the line's signature stamp, a golden snake.
South Korean superstar Peggy Gou has found time across her busy touring schedule to develop and release her own high-end streetwear line called Kirin. After becoming a favored muse of designer (and rising DJ) Virgil Abloh, she met members of the Italian accelerator New Guards Group at a fateful Off-White dinner. New Guards Group has worked with similar luxury streetwear brands like Off-White and Palm Angels, and will be taking on Kirin's production and distribution. The first collection from Kirin (a nod to Peggy's favorite animal, a giraffe, in Korean) features bright colors and prints that recall to Korean mythology.
Kirin will be a lifelong dream realized for Peggy, who studied fashion in London before moving to Berlin to pursue music. “In the beginning, coming from a background in fashion, I always worried about people not taking me seriously. I used to play with only a white t-shirt and denim,” she said, emphasizing only with a wave of her hands. "Eventually, I realized that I like clothes and I like looking good. Whether or not people take me seriously... this is what I’ve got. It’s my gift. It’s a bonus of [who I am]."
Music and fashion are two creative pursuits that inarguably, go hand in hand. (Honey cites two of her favorite artists, Prince and David Bowie, who were loved equally for their music and unapologetic image.) But it's the timing of this harmonious fashion-meets-dance-music coming together that feels the most unlikely. In an era when the scrutiny on the "right" and "wrongs" of what an image of a DJ should be - particularly of those who are women - seems at an all time high, how have they managed to turn it to their advantage?
"Times have changed," Sita observes. "As women, we are able now to have our voice heard and speak up for ourselves. In a way, my image is a result of my love for techno, and that’s why bridging these two worlds together came so naturally for me."
"Both fashion and electronic music have a forward-thinking vision - almost futuristic - being ahead of their time," she continues. "They're both revolutionary [and groundbreaking], in a sense. They both have their own set of rules that stand against more traditional and conservative values."
Today, Sita can be found strutting the streets of Paris Fashion Week in Off-White and Dior, runway walking for Rihanna's Fenty and sitting comfortably in coveted front row seats for Moschino and Jeremy Scott. Plus, after celebrating the debut of her jewelry brand Lillith at Paris Fashion Week, there's guaranteed more to come.
Meanwhile, as Peggy flies around the world for weekend after weekend of gigs, she also can be spotted modeling for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Nike and Ray-Ban and posing in stunning outfits for various magazine covers and of course, her own Instagram too. Kirin will officially become available in September in stores and online, worldwide.
Honey Fucking Dijon (the brand) will be available at the end of this summer. What does she hope her line will bring to people?
"Chicness and pleasure."
It's as simple as that.
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Honey Dijon links up with Comme des Garçon for fashion brand
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