You may have heard: a little music festival by the name of South by Southwest is happening in Austin, Texas, this week.
Over the past couple of decades, the annual gathering has brought together a motley crew of stylish musicians—spanning the eras of grunge to rap to whatever it is we’re calling that thing where a skinny guy playing a tambourine wears a trilby and suspenders with a white T-shirt—so we thought we’d take a look back at the festival’s illustrious history of onstage fashion.
It’s hard to host a party. You want everyone to enjoy themselves, which means keeping track of dozens of little details, but it also means having fun yourself. And if your guests happen to be a crowd of cred-obsessed, possibly shrooming college kids, you also don’t want to come off like a square.
The answer, courtesy of Donald Glover, is to wear a tie. He hosted MTVu’s Woodie Awards at SXSW this past week, in an outfit remarkably similar to an i-banker at happy hour. Granted, the tie’s a little longer than we'd like (that’s what he gets for loosening it on the fly), but otherwise it’s just about perfect: sleeves rolled up to just below the elbow and repp stripe just playful enough to feel young.
It’s still a suit, but he’s done everything possible to dress it down. And if you scan the crowd, there’s no mistaking who’s in charge of the show.
We aren’t entirely up on the new crop of acts emerging out of SXSW, but we know what we like. One thing we like: when rappers wear tie pins.
This is L.A.’s own Shawn Chrystopher, an unsigned, Fiasco-esque rapper who made an impression with an unusually well-dressed performance in Austin. If he keeps up this look, he’s well on his way to being the Thom Browne of hip-hop.
South by Southwest isn’t exactly known for its style. In fact, the Flickr pool suggests a pretty strict uniform of cheap jeans, band tees and flannel. So we thought we’d shine a light on one of the better examples: one Tim Bluhm, of the California psych-pop outfit Mother Hips.
Given the occasion, we’d be hard-pressed to do much better. For one, this is one of the better examples of the work shirt we’ve seen all year. It’s not fancy—and no, it’s not chambray either—but it’s not supposed to be. It’s just a pitch-perfect example of an item that’s on the cusp of trendhood…not that he knows that.