pharrell talks pink beach, the imagined tranquil space behind his colorful new collection
Skateboard P’s new collaborative effort with adidas Originals showcases his signature style at Pink Beach, 'a metaphor for that special place inside.' Take a trip with us!
Between his incredibly successful Billionaire Boys Club clothing line and his Chanel campaigns with Cara Delevingne, Pharrell's DIY style has put him at the forefront of men's fashion for over 15 years. His signature fusing of runway and streetwear (think epic Vivienne Westwood headgear with a smattering of ripped denim) even helped him win 2015's CFDA Fashion Icon Award. As part of his long-time collaboration with adidas Originals, his latest apparel and footwear collection sees floral-heavy tanks, slip-on sneakers, brightly colored shorts and jackets embroidered with illustrations by the man himself come together in an imaginary world called Pink Beach, "a place within everyone that's tranquil and acts a state of nothingness."
The accompanying campaign -- shot by acclaimed fashion photographer Viviane Sassen -- and video brings the Pink Beach to life, with a little help from models Nykhor Paul and Grace Bol, amongst others. To celebrate the new collection, i-D caught up with Pharrell to get his thoughts on style, innovation, and collaboration.
Growing up, what was your first memory of adidas?
When I was a boy, it was Run DMC. Also seeing the sneakers around on guys in the neighborhood, that was my earliest impression.
Where did the Pink Beach inspiration come from?
We had all these ideas and the Pink Beach was what we came up with if we had to give a description of what it all represents, a physical destination. It was a concept to make it all make sense, a place within everyone that's tranquil and acts a state of nothingness.
Is that something that's super important to your life, finding peace and tranquil spaces?
It was at the time I was getting ready to work on the collection. It was all the stuff I was thinking about and it ended up sounding like a destination. For me, Pink Beach is a metaphor for that special place inside.
You've incorporated your illustrations in a lot of the clothes. Why was that important to the collection or important to you?
Well, I have been doing graffiti on my jackets for years, writing and drawing on them, so we used the idea of Pink Beach and what that represents for the illustrations.
When you look for a brand to collaborate with, what are the attributes that you look for?
Change that I feel like I can make. There's no point working with a brand if there's nothing that I can do. I'm only good at change, I'm not really good at doing the same thing.
How do you continue to innovate and change?
I'm just happy to be able to create and have outlets and opportunities. I think have an awareness of my responsibility and know I've got to cherish it and to do things that are positive.
Is there a particular piece that you enjoyed working on?
All of it was so fun. Just the fact that we got a chance to like materialize our ideas was so cool.
Whose style are you really inspired by?
I like everyday people because their style is so perfunctory, you know? Everything has a real cause and a real function.
I guess when you see people in real life, they're wearing their clothes because they have some sort of mobility and assist in their daily life rather than a famous person who is dressed that way because someone gave them free shit?
Yeah, I love it. I love everyday people who have amazing style.
Is there a city in the world that you think has kind of the best dressed people?
No. Is there a letter that you prefer?
In the alphabet? I'm quite partial to L...
But you use them all.
Text Lynette Nylander