Karol G is a renowned pop singer who has made the world dance to her tunes. Now we are all witnessing her becoming an influential figure in the global fashion world. In the recent advertisement campaign for Loewe’s latest “Paula’s Ibiza” collection, she was seen in a white slip dress, emerging from the sea. As she emerged, she gazed into the horizon as waves reflected in her sunglasses setting off her red flamed hair. The scene was shot on Colombia’s Caribbean coast which has a mythical quality, somehow revealing the songwriter’s persona. Loewe’s creative director, Jonathan Anderson wanted the shot to be in the singer’s home country, hoping to capture “the entire Karol G vibe.” This is the vibe that spread across like wildfire and impacted the fashion industry as well.

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Image Source: harpersbazaar.com

Karol G’s fourth studio album “MañanaSerá Bonito” (Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful) debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and became the first Spanish-language album by a woman to do so. She also won an MTV Video Music Award for her collaboration with Shakira on their track “TQG” last month. Today, the pensive songwriter is the female musician with the most Spanish songs on the Billboard Hot 100. For her various achievements and serious impact on the music world, she is hailed as the new queen of reggaeton- a dance music that is dominating the current airwaves. While navigating her way through the music industry, Karol has simultaneously managed to carve an image of somewhat a fashion icon.

Loewe’s ad: an influential step for Carol G in fashion

Loewe is the first luxury brand to cast Carol G in its ad campaign as a model. The chief marketing and communications officer, Charlie Smith said, “Karol G is one of the biggest stars in contemporary Latin music and her bold, eye-catching style is a major part of her persona.” “She has a huge global following thanks to the way she brings her own twist to reggaeton and has brought the style of music to new audiences around the world,” she continued. The brand’s decision to hire the pop star as its campaign model seems to have paid off as it created a wave on social media platforms. According to Launchmetrics, a data analytics firm, the response to Karol’s post on Instagram has gathered $1.2 million in media impact value (MIV) and over three million likes for the brand.

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Image Source: elle.mx

The campaign was revealed back in April and could not come at a better time for the LVMH-owned brand. Karol G might not be overly known in the space of global fashion yet, her professional singing career went into overdrive, which is completely fueled by an enhancing devoted fanbase.

The making of Carol G as a fashion muse

Karol expressed her surprise along with the delight to get a first break at fashion from such a big brand like Loewe, and a big-scale and creative mind like the designer Anderson. “I’ve never been ‘best friends with fashion,’ so to speak,” she said. “Fashion can be awkward. My style just goes with the flow.” The pairing of the two has surely not been so obvious at the beginning. The brand has been rejuvenated by Anderson’s craft-infused, and surrealist approach that pushed the annual sales to a striking distance of €2 billion ($2.1 billion). However, it still managed to be on the list of Spain’s one of the most iconic and heritage brands. This helped the brand trade to the elite status and an opulent aesthetic, and since 1846, it has been maintaining that status. In this case, Karol’s image is more accessible and exuberant.

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Image Source: businessoffashion.com

“Before that, I felt like no one saw me as a fashion-related figure because I never got clothing from brands, and when we approached them, it didn’t work out,” recalled the singer. She explained how she had to buy whatever she wanted or fancied at retailers instead of having brands offering her the latest of the seasons. This was a publicity perk that other musicians of her caliber already enjoyed but she couldn’t. “It took me a long time to experience that,” she said.

But no matter how much Carol saw herself as an outsider, her power as a fashion influencer has been a win for savvy insiders. Karol G ranks 70th in follower count on Instagram with her massive 66 million followers. However, she comes 6th when it comes to engagement rates on the platform. In early October, her 60-day engagement rate on Instagram was higher than the biggest K-pop band in the world, BTS. “A good or impressive engagement rate is anything close to or above 5 percent,” said Julian Martinez, creative director at SocialBook. “A high engagement rate means you are doing something right with your audience and captivating their emotions one way or another,” Martinez added. “There are many factors and variables present (so) it’s hard to isolate the exact cause. However, whatever (Karol G) is doing with her posts and content, she’s doing a great job.”

Carol’s success for the Loewe campaign:

Celebrity marketing can help create brand awareness, but at the same time, it also drives sales directly to the specific that fans can resonate with the idol’s style or era. For example, when at last year’s Coachella, Karol came on stage to sing a medley of classics by Latin music artists wearing a Roberto Cavalli costume, fans paid tribute to the singer’s “blue era” by wearing blue colored wigs. “That was a surprise,” she later said.

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Image Source: shssharkattack.com

Brands do not usually release figures to prove that hiring a campaign model bought a good return on their investments and Loewe is no different from the rest. However, the brand’s enthusiasm for Karol’s campaign almost a half-year after its release is definitely telling. “The collaboration was extremely successful,” said Loewe’s Smith. She also cited that her campaign post yielded 45 million impressions on social media, signaling the commercial success the sunglasses she wore brought in for the brand. On the other hand, as predicted, this campaign brought Karol the attention of other brands. “Working with Loewe opened the door to everything else happening now. After that, we got invitations from many other designers, fashion magazines, and runway shows,” she said.

Own sense of self and fashion:

“You know, I never thought that being faithful to who I was — not following what’s in or out of fashion and not having to change myself to get there — would bring me such a platform,” said Karol, explaining most of her recent encounters with the fashion world helped her find her true self. Her style has definitely gone through a massive change and updates in the past seven years she is active in the music industry and moreover, in the public eye. Streetwear wardrobe staples like trainers, joggers, and caps, surely make an occasional appearance. However, now these are coordinated with lingerie-inspired loungewear, embellished tops, and sultry frocks.

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Image Source: magzter.com

Although Rick Owens and Vetements are among the various labels that pique her interest these days, Karol does not bound herself to any specific brands just yet. “I want to keep experimenting,” the singer said. However, this does not also mean that the singer is not conscious about painting her image with a certain consistency. She had already made colored hair a trademark of Carol G alternating between jewel and pastel tones often. She also keeps returning to quite a few style themes too when it comes to fashion. This makes sure that the singer is wearing the brand and not the other way around.

Putting herself out there to let the fashion world take notice:

 When asked, the singer has described her emerging signature style and look as a “mermaid (who’s) a tomboy at heart.” It is the duality that looms large in the outfits she chooses to wear, especially for “Tusa.” The video captured her wearing an ethereal-looking floor-length gown next to mythical creatures, looking like a Pegasus. Then her performance at the Latin Grammys captured her commanding to the stage wearing bejeweled off-road motorcycle racing trousers. But no matter how many changing tides are there in the fashion industry, Karol thinks that some items are iconic and immortal. She feels like this, particularly for hoop earrings, which she says she will never abandon because it symbolizes her roots in the urban street culture of Columbia. “I won’t stop doing something that truly represents me,” she said. “I’m very careful about that.”

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Image Source: nytimes.com

This might be the fact she is still in awe and can say shock at her own success, but Karol seems prone to sounding more humble than sycophantic. So it makes sense that she is “hugely grateful” to Anderson for the Loewe campaign. Associating with high-scale and big luxury fashion brands like Loewe can set her apart from other rising female reggaeton stars in the eyes of the international fashion industry. So when did the industry take notice of her? Well, by 2022 the singer had already secured her third continuous year as the most-streamed Latin American female worldwide on Spotify and she has been huge in the region. Yet she did not get recognized by the big names in the fashion industry, partly due to them being focused on male musicians. But it was because of the rise of Spanish-language music more broadly that brought her unique sense of style to the public eye more prominently.

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