After selecting a group of Italian music celebrities to appear in his fall 2018 men’s look book, Puglisi has most recently collaborated with the Dark Polo Gang on its latest tour, outfitting the group with gladiator- inspired skirts featuring hardware and crystal embellishments paired with equally flamboyant leather bomber jackets. Before Puglisi, Dolce & Gabbana selected Italian trapper Tedua to walk the spring 2018 men’s show while that same season Ghali and Sfera Ebbasta appeared on the catwalks of Damir Doma and Marcelo Burlon, respectively.
It’s always been helpful for brands to keep up with emerging artists, but it’s more important today given how they sprout from social media and graduate to popular culture in the span of a few months.
But does it pay?
“The number of followers is [the same as] money. The return on investment is not only sales-related but also linked to marketing assets. A lot of these partnerships are seen as brand-building activities and [gaining] social media followers represent a value for the labels,” noted Alessandro Maria Ferreri, chief executive officer and owner of The Style Gate consulting firm.

“The synergies between fashion and rap artists stem from the latter being representatives of the ‘street culture,’ directly connected with their fans,” underscored Ferreri. “At the beginning they were courted mainly by streetwear and sneaker brands, as those were categories easily linked to the rap scene.”

“The younger generations are really aspirational despite their [lower] spending power. They see these artists’ paths as examples to follow, potentially leading them to become luxury customers, too,” Ferreri said.

Similarly, Ferreri underscored that trap music in Italy and Europe hides a peculiar and engaging cultural mind-set, rooted in “social redemption,” he said. Fashion choices “telegraph the message that instead of protesting and embracing debauchery you have a chance to step up by working hard,” Ferreri added.