The Chainsmokers on inspiration, performance sets and repping Tommy Hilfiger
The saying that no man's an island couldn't be more apt in the worlds of music and fashion. There are no shortage of designers who turn to virtuosos to inspire their collections, and in turn, many a rock legend have enlisted the aspect of style — and by extension, fashion — to mould their personas.
In the last decade, Burberry's Christopher Bailey and Hedi Slimane (during his time at Saint Laurent) most notably championed the two-way relationship between the industries by featuring up-and-coming musicians at fashion shows and roping them in for brand campaigns. But it's another designer's long-term rapport with music that perhaps flies a little under-the-radar these days.
Tommy Hilfiger has buttressed rising and established talents since the '90s by way of red carpet dressing; he also featured singers David Bowie and Beyoncé in his campaigns and sponsored the concerts of Britney Spears, Lenny Kravitz and The Rolling Stones. Most recently, he inducted Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers into the brand's roster — the EDM-pop duo appointed ambassadors for Tommy Hilfiger men's.
Here, the kings of present-day airwaves chat gigs, the inspiration behind their music, and what it's like to front a brand they grew up admiring.
What inspires you when creating music?
Alex: Music is constantly evolving and even though we're faithful to our sound, we also try and stay on top of that change. We pull a lot of inspiration from our lives, which are always changing, and that makes the process ever-growing. It's very challenging but rewarding.
Drew: We're also influenced by a lot of the stuff that we listen to, especially the music we enjoyed growing up. Inspiration is fleeting though, and when it strikes you, you have to be prepared to seize it the best you can.
Your gigs are renowned for being full-scale productions. What motivates you to do this?
Drew: There is no science behind making a cool record or putting on an awesome show. Everything we do comes from a place of passion and emotion that we want to share with our audience. We also love to challenge ourselves as it keeps things interesting and it's important to us that people never know what to expect next.
Alex: Our gigs are about using innovative methods to bring them to life and make our fans feel how much we appreciate their support. The whole process of putting together our shows gives us the most incredible feeling. We are our own biggest critics at the end of the day.
What did you think when Tommy Hilfiger asked you to be brand ambassadors?
Drew: When Tommy asked us to represent the brand, we couldn't believe it. This is an iconic name that paved the way in collaborating with musicians — how could we turn down the opportunity?
Alex: It's so cool when you're a kid and a fan of someone, and then twenty years later you're suddenly working with them! I've always related to Tommy Hilfiger because the style is really down to earth. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and you take the ones you are given.
What are you most looking forward to?
Drew: We have lots in common with Tommy and we also have crazy respect for him. He does his own thing and he sticks to it, no matter what people say.
Alex: We strive to break conventions, just like he does. What's really crazy is that he does this this every season. Tommy Hilfiger is about enjoying life and having a great time. We have been to a number of the brand's events, and they always go the distance to ensure that it is fun and exciting; we feel the same way about our performances.
How would you define your style?
Alex: I think our style is pretty approachable. We've always been two really down-to-earth guys who just dress in a typical all-American way.
Watch the Tommy Hilfiger x The Chainsmokers campaign:
This Q&A was conducted by the brand Tommy Hilfiger.
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