Style

The Weeknd’s new line with H&M furthers his creative transformation

H&M announced that it has cut ties with David Beckham and replaced him with artist The Weeknd to be the face of its spring 2017 collection last week. In addition to starring in next season’s campaign, the R&B singer will also be H&M’s new menswear celebrity designer.

Beckham, a famous ex-soccer player, began his partnership with H&M with the launch of Beckham Bodywear in 2012, helping produce both apparel and form-fitting underwear. This fall will be his last collection after years of working on numerous collections.

The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, will begin his partnership with H&M with a one-time menswear collaboration titled Spring Icons by The Weeknd.

H&M has made a good move and probably couldn’t have made a better choice, especially at this time. The Weeknd is at the height of his career, a tastemaker with projects on queue through 2017. He announced earlier this month that he will partner with Puma for an exclusive sneaker line entitled PumaXO. He will also join Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars as headliners for the Victoria’s Secret Paris Fashion Show this December.

Though this may be one of his biggest fashion ventures to date, this is not The Weeknd’s first experience creating clothes. The singer began releasing clothing in 2014 with Official Issue XO, a line he created by him and the rest of the XO crew. Starting from the release of his first mixtape “House of Balloons” in 2011, The Weeknd has made his own style that is cunning, edgy and different from the rest.

It would be awesome if he could incorporate this same vibe into his menswear collection with H&M. But because he is partnering with a company that is known for keeping with the trends, I’m worried that The Weeknd will produce cookie-cutter pieces that we’ve seen several times already.

Since his commercial success, his music has changed drastically. At 26, he’s in the midst of a style evolution that began with the release of “Kiss Land” three years ago. His most recent album sounded closer to Drake’s upbeat and poppy tracks than his original sensual, viciously tempting sound I loved. This version of The Weeknd is long gone, as his latest songs “Starboy” and “False Alarm” both have a pace so fast I can’t keep up. His new songs sound nothing like the sad crooning of my long-time favorites, “Morning” or “XO/The Host.” As much as I miss his old sound, its hard to deny his popularity. Last year, he earned seven Grammy nominations and took the crown for Best R&B Performance and Best Urban Contemporary Album.

Will he be able to maintain his sense of expression through his clothing, or will it be watered down with his partnership with well-known, high-production stores? Musically, The Weeknd is already considered a sellout by some of his older fans, but I hope that he stays strong with his own aesthetic. That’s hard to fathom, especially because recently he cut off his beloved dreads that was integrated so closely with his image. The Weeknd is experimenting in a field he’s only dabbled in independently. Many will be watching — especially me — for the first glimpses of the lookbook. Spring Icons by The Weeknd will be available March 2.

Darriea Clark is a junior magazine journalism major. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. You can reach her at dbclark@syr.edu and follow her on Twitter @babefromthesun.

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