A Brief History of Pharrell’s Impact On The Sneaker Game

A Brief History of Pharrell’s Impact On The Sneaker Game

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This week it was announced that Pharrell Williams will become the next Men’s Creative Director for Louis Vuitton. This adds yet another accomplishment to an already legendary career in fashion. To understand why this news is so monumental, it's essential to look back at how far Pharrell has come from his early days in the music industry writing tracks like Rump Shaker by Wreckx-n-Effect when he was just 19 years old.

Pharrell’s abilities as a musician quickly opened up doors for him in the fashion industry and made him one of the most well-connected celebrities on the planet thanks to his production work for Britney Spears, Noreaga (aka N.O.R.E. of Drink Champs), Jay Z, and countless others. In 2003, he formed a creative collective with Nigo of A Bathing Ape called Billionaire Boys Club and his famous Ice Cream brand skate shoes around the same time. The two brands quickly became popular amongst hip-hop artists and tastemakers alike. This was a major stepping stone in Pharrell’s career—it solidified his name within the fashion industry and thanks to his musical relationships, landed his brands in an obscene amount of music videos at a time when they had a heavy influence on pop culture.


Photo via GQ.


A style that started with skate tees, baggy denim, and puffy-tongue sneakers, evolved into Skateboard P becoming one of the most influential people in sneakers and streetwear. The best example is the famous N.E.R.D. trucker hat that became one of the most iconic pieces from the early-to-mid 2000s. Even though the partnership with Reebok was shortlived, and Pharrell has since moved away from the Ice Cream brand to pursue Billionaire Boys Club, G-Star, and adidas, his influence on the sneaker game came full circle when Reebok and the relaunched BBC Ice Cream brand teamed up for a number of releases in 2020.


Photo via Pharrell


Pharrell’s partnership with adidas began in 2014, and shortly thereafter, took on a life of its own when he posted a photo of himself sitting in a full color wheel of adidas Originals Superstars. Since then, he has released an extensive range of footwear and apparel that is easily recognizable. From neon-colored Hu NMDs to unique takes on the classic Stan Smith silhouette, his influence can be seen in many different models. He’s also worked on collaborations with fashion houses like Chanel, who he brought together with adidas to release a triple-branded Pharell Williams x Chanel x adidas Originals Hu NMD in 2017 that was one of the earliest successful luxury sneaker collabs.


Photo via adidas


More recently, Pharrell has been involved in efforts to increase sustainability within the fashion industry. In August 2020, he launched a partnership with G-Star to produce a range of organic cotton jeans made from recycled plastic bottles collected from beaches and coastal areas. This is part of his ongoing commitment to making fashion more responsible and environmentally conscious.

Pharrell's influence on the industry goes beyond just design. He has also been an outspoken advocate for diversity in fashion and used his platform to speak out about issues of race and social justice.


Photo via Sneaker News


In addition to fashion, Pharrell’s music career has afforded him the opportunity to also work in the film industry. He has worked on many projects, including the Despicable Me series and Hidden Figures. Pharrell also provided music for The Lion King live-action remake and he was an executive producer on the animated film, Home. His influence in this area has been notable, as well as his ability to bring some of his own unique flair to every project he works on.

Pharrell’s influence in the fashion, music and film industries has been undeniable over the years. His work has inspired a new wave of creativity with its unique blend of style and substance. Not to mention, he’s made a name for himself by sticking to his own unique style and dedication to making fashion more responsible and conscientious. Additionally, he’s used his influence and platform to make a positive impact on the world by speaking out about issues such as racism and social justice. It may be cliché, but Pharrell is proof that with dedication, hard work, and passion – dreams really do come true.

In 2020, Pharrell was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Icon Award for his tremendous contribution to the fashion industry. Last year he won a Latin GRAMMY Award for his work on Rosalía’s Motomami album. His list of awards and accomplishments could take up this entire story, but recently he’s been leveling up his efforts to make more environmentally conscious statements through his work in fashion and footwear.

As a long-time advocate of sustainability, Pharrell has made it his mission to make fashion more sustainable for the planet. In partnership with G-Star RAW, he created the world’s first denim line made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. His

Louis Vuitton’s Chairman and CEO, Pietro Beccari, said “I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008 for Louis Vuitton, as our new Men’s Creative Director. His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.”


Photo via Louis Vuitton


In a world filled with negativity, Pharrell somehow always manages to bring a sense of fun and positivity to each and every one of his creative endeavors. Clearly, filling the void that Virgil Abloh left as the Men’s Creative Director for Louis Vuitton would be impossible, but Pharrell will bring his own style to the role, and inevitably do what he does, make amazing things happen. As for the new partnership, not only will it result in some Throne-worthy sneaker releases, it will also make sneakerheads more appreciative of the collabs that Pharell has released on his way to this point.


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