Everyone loves Harry Styles, right? The Cheshire lad, who hung up his bakery apron to appear in Abercrombie and Fitch on The X Factor in 2010, has charmed the world with his infectious modern pop and cheerful outfits. Styles never looks like he’s not having fun, even when he’s riding a Lime bike with James Corden, which is certainly an achievement in itself.
He grew up in the rural village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire, just south of Manchester, with his older sister Gemma and parents Des Styles and Anne Twist, who divorced when he was seven. He has now reached an age where he is thirty years old, a milestone for any pop star. But Styles, who lives in Hampstead, is thriving.
Although his music career is impressive: his third album, Harry’s House, was the best-selling British record of 2022; As It Was was streamed 2.28 billion times; his worldwide Love on Tour grossed an estimated $250 million – it is his fashion sense that has orchestrated perhaps his greatest cultural impact. This might be a good idea considering his coincidental last name.
His gender-fluid style has struck a zeitgeist and drawn the adoration of TikTok knitting from Gen Z to their mothers. And it’s that appeal he’s now turning to, with a focus on business opportunities that go beyond going viral on the red carpet.
Part Abba tribute, part Broadway market with a little North Boy thrown in for good measure: his spangly jumpsuits, feather boas, cleavage-flashy blouses, pearl jewelry, Seventies suits, knits and hoodies are the modern attitude to dressing will strengthen. Anything goes, as long as it fits, as they say on social media.
His haircuts are as scrutinized as David Beckham’s in the 1990s, sparking endless debate about his follicular smoke signals. When he shaved his head, some of his most ardent fans went into mourning.
Styles’ aesthetic has been honed since 2014 by super stylist Harry Lambert (whom he calls Susan, Styles is Sue). His fashion evolution went from the well-charted route from boy band to solo star via a distinctly rock ‘n’ roll edge (the Saint Laurent phase, with a series of cheerful Doherty-esque hats) to his emergence as a champion of more experimental fashion. moves in sync with menswear’s shift from streetwear to skirts for everyone.
Simar Soel, a prescient analyst at The Future Laboratory, says: “While he’s not the first pop star to step out of the binary (cue: Prince or Bowie), his experiments tap into a deeper generational value shift around gender fluidity. – especially for Generation Z.”
Conveniently, his rising star coincided with the luxury juggernaut that was Alessandro Michele’s maximalist Gucci tenure. Styles was the perfect complement to Michele’s exuberance. Their joint appearance as presenters on the pink carpet of the 2019 Met Gala (themed “Camp: Notes on Fashion”) – Styles in what now appears to be a rather demure, sheer black blouse with ruffles – cemented the singer’s position as an ambassador for the brand.
He later appeared on the cover of the December issue of American Vogue (the first solo man to do so) in a ruffled Gucci dress with lace trim, bringing a genderless take on dressing to Middle America.
In 2022, Styles and Michele collaborated on a Gucci collection, HA HA HA, released in November 2022, which was a toddler encounter in 1975. Michele described Styles at the time as “the most eccentric and free man on earth”.
The most important factor, however, is Styles’ impact beyond high fashion, and his appeal is that all-important sense of authenticity; this isn’t just sartorial clickbait; every clothing choice has meaning. A colorful patchwork JW Anderson vest worn by Styles became a viral TikTok lockdown phenomenon with fans knitting their own versions.
Anderson was so impressed with the initiative that he released a cardy knitting pattern for fans to follow. The vest itself was later acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum for its permanent collection.
However, that wasn’t his only foray into the zeitgeist that amplified knitwear moments. Last year he was immortalized in a striped Molly Goddard cardigan by David Hockney, on display at the National Portrait Gallery.
It’s no wonder that Styles has tapped into his commercial fashion potential. In November 2021, he launched his gender-free lifestyle brand Pleasing. Originally with a nail polish collection, the project has grown into a perfume and a brief clothing offering: hoodies, shorts, knitwear and most recently the ‘ribbed’ collection of cardigans and boxers in soft colours.
In addition to the two current pop-up stores in New York and Los Angeles, Pleasing will be available exclusively at Selfridges, which last year hosted a Pleasing pop-up in the Corner store, with fans outside in the outdoor area daily during the four-week installation stood in line. . Melissa McGinnis, head of beauty at Selfridges, found: “Our customers love the Pleasing product and its ethos, one of inclusivity and playfulness. Styles has proven to be an astute brand founder, allowing Pleasing to grow with the loyal community around it.”
Styles’ approach to the brand — much of which he remains behind the scenes — has been smart. Lambert and Molly Hawkins are co-creative directors, and last year he hired Shaun Kearney, Pleasing’s first CEO, who was previously chief design and merchandising officer at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
Speaking to Vogue Business, Kearney said his plan was to build “a powerful lifestyle brand” that “really influences the conversation and really impacts people’s lives.”
Besides Pleasing, Style’s latest foray into fashion mogul territory came via an announcement in January that he had taken a minority stake in British menswear label SS Daley, purveyor of cute knits and forward-thinking tailoring.
The collaboration came about through Lambert, who Steven Stokey-Daley came into contact with after posting a casting call for new design talent on Instagram. It worked, Lambert put Styles in a look from the Liverpudlian designer for his Golden video; that ensemble can be seen in the exhibition Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion at the Design Museum.
Professor Andrew Groves, director of the University of Westminster’s menswear archive, describes the triumvirate of Styles, Lambert and Stokey-Daley as an “interesting dynamic where each of them enables the others to use fashion and clothing as a means of expanding cultural shifting standards. men’s clothing.”
As Styles heads into his next decade, it may be his investments in fashion that will shape his future legacy, as well as that of a million screaming, fervent fans. The nature of teen pop stardom is that you are there to be replaced; It only takes a cursory glance at the past trajectory of beloved boy band members to understand that when the dance routines stop, everyone needs a strong financial brand extension to fall back on.
Life, as Ronan Keating reminded us, is a rollercoaster, and cultural oblivion is never a good look.