Pharrell Williams Makes Rap—and a Difference
“I’ll never forget, I was doing this concert—this is years and years and years ago—called Live Earth, and when I got there, I was struck by all the people who were just so into the cause and what it really meant,” said Pharrell Williams at the launch of G-Star Raw and Bionic (of which Williams is the creative director) denim at the American Museum of Natural History Saturday night. “And I was with it—I thought it was interesting and I thought it was something I could learn from.” The hip-hop mogul and producer, who wore his now favorite Vivienne Westwood hat while addressing the crowd, started looking at his own consumption and experienced a post-concert television takedown of his supposed rock-star lifestyle (“’cause I make rap, I guess,” he speculated) as a personal challenge to create environmental change. Bionic Yarn, his eco-conscious clothing developer, was the result.
Saturday Evening’s event represented a new collaboration between Bionic and G-Star Raw. “We really had to go to the very raw material that makes our jeans,” explained G-Star strategy director Thecla Schaeffer, of the team’s innovative development of denim made from recycled plastic. “For G-Star, denim is almost like a work of art—the weight, the weave, the way the denim fades. We had to be sure that Bionic denim would do the same thing.”
A diverse crowd of supporters—activists, scientists, Joe Jonas (who sat in the back row and provided continuous commentary—”that was intense” and “cool speech”—throughout the press conference), Dorian Grinspan, Tyson Beckford, and Charlotte Ronson—turned out to support the cause, taking in serious ecological talk and an all-vegetarian menu of hors d’oeuvres in turn. “We can commit to radically changing our actions, our way of thinking,” said David LaChapelle, one of the original supporters of the endeavor. “Let’s not give into apathy.”
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