With the three members of his band Die Fantastischen Vier (The Fantastic Four) he has shaped hip-hop music in Germany for almost 30 years. Now rapper and DJ Michi Beck enters the fashion world: Together with his wife Uli Beck, also a DJ, he has launched the label Beck To Beck.
The name originates from their last names and from the DJ term ”back to back“ which means to alternately deejay songs, but also “to inspire each other and to create one joint vibe.”
The musical couple hooked up with fashion-pro Hendrik Schimmel of Berlin-based agency Concrete Textile who works with brands such as Day Birger et Mikkelsen among others. He is meant to give support in terms of sales, distribution and brand building.
Beck To Beck offers a range of tops retailing between €50 for T-shirts and €120 for hoodies. The label will be available from mid July on at several German multibrand retailers such as Different Fashion, Jades, Ludwig Beck, Maingold and Abseits; beginning of July just in time for the Berlin fairs a pop-up store will also open its doors for two weeks at Alte Schönhauser Straße 15. As for the e-commerce side an own webshop is the goal, but for now the main online selling platform will be via About You.
We had a chat with Michi Beck on why the world needs another musician-turned-fashion-designer, what Beck To Beck is all about and what the fashion industry can learn from the music business.
We saw several musicians starting their clothing lines– at first with huge enthusiasm, but later with fading success. Just think Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake, etc. Why another clothing line by a musician?
It makes total sense for musicians who are interested in fashion to run their own fashion label, because of course their own popularity is the most important marketing tool. But if you make the label for money reasons only, it remains only merchandise. In our case fashion has always been on of my passions–apart from music. When I was 18–even before I got to know my band–I applied at a fashion school, but wasn’t accepted. Furthermore, since many years you can call me the stylist of our band, and in this respect the influence and taste of my wife shall also not be underestimated. We are a family company rather than just another fashion line of pop stars. (smiles)
What is the difference of Beck to Beck compared to other streetwear lines?
It’s never a good idea to compare yourself with others. We focus intensively on the quality of materials and cuts, which makes the term “unisex” more than just a phrase. For sure we do not reinvent the wheel, but after all I have an impact on streetwear in Germany since the beginning of the ’90s and therefore know very well what we are doing.
Do you still draw a line between Beck to Beck and your merch products–and if so, how?
Absolutely! It’s crucial for me that our clothing is not immediately connected to me as a member of Die Fantastischen Vier. People buy band merch rather as a souvenir or distinctive feature. Beck To Beck claims much more to be fashion, in the first place because of the much higher quality of the products, but also because the designs have to work by themselves without being associated to me or my band. Again, this is the joint label of my wife Uli and me.
How do you see the line developing–could it be a full collection for men and women one day?
Yes, maybe one day?! But we have to grow into it first. For now, we stick to basic unisex tops.
What can the fashion industry still learn from the music industry in terms of marketing and brand building?
I think both industries had to learn in the last years that nothing sells anymore without a story behind it. You have to build up a “product” carefully and sustainably, if you really want to get somewhere with it. Of course, in both industries there is also so-called waste or disposable products, but hopefully this is not what we want to talk about here and now. (grins).
Apart from your own line: what fashion brands do you like and why?
I have loads of respect for Nowadays for their simple elegance, I admire our friend Leyla [Piedayesh] of Lala Berlin for her courage, taste and endurance, for Wood Wood’s streetwear expertise... and these are only the first three names that come to my mind. There are so many great labels and I hope that one day we will be in line with all of them...
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