Pharrell ‘happy’ to direct Woolworths’ style

By Nontando Mposo Time of article published Apr 9, 2015

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Johannesburg - Global music superstar Pharrell Williams and South African retailer Woolworths have teamed up to help save the planet - with style.

Independent Media can exclusively reveal that the Grammy award winning musician and eco activist is Woolworths' new style director. Woolworths confirmed the partnership at a press briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, Independent Media's daily titles The Star, Daily News, Argus and Pretoria News will publish an exclusive interview with the “Happy” star.

Ian Moir, CEO of Woolworths said, “Williams is a global icon for social cohesion, advancement through education and environmental awareness. These same values lie at the heart of our business and form the foundation on which this partnership is built.

“We hope Pharrell will help us make sustainability cool for the next generation of South Africans and help us create a better future for our children, our country and our planet,” Moir added.

During an interview with Independent Media in Los Angeles, Williams revealed that he became an eco activist because he began to realise the importance of the environment. “You realise that this is your home. If you can tend your lawn, field or garden, you can tend the Earth because it is the biggest lawn we have.”

The 42-year-old has received high praise for highlighting sustainability and environmental issues threatening the survival of our planet.

“It's this big rock, it's the only thing we have. It's our biosphere, it's where we live… we have to think about it,” said the musician and designer, who was not wearing the vintage Vivienne Westwood hat he made famous but rather a dark green cap.

“To have a corporation like Woolworths understand that and for them to have the kind of matching initiative in South Africa, in the middle of that precious gem and continent ... I have to be a part of that,” he said.

Williams has achieved much in illustrious career and is not only the busiest man in music, his quirky sense of style often makes headlines. The now infamous “Buffalo” hat caused a stir the first time he wore it at the Grammy awards in 2014, winning praise from fashion critics the world over. He is a man who prides himself on not only setting the trends - but owning it.

Williams is the co-founder of brands such as Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear, and has a penchant for colourful palates. His clothes are often adorned with cartoon characters. Williams' hottest fashion collaborations so far, include Adidas Originals, luxury luggage brand Moynat, and a collaboration between his eco-minded company Bionic Yarn and denim heavyweight G-Star Raw.

The Vortex Project, an international collective of artists, designers and architects, produces the Raw for the Oceans denim range for men and women, made out of ocean debris.

Williams is a judge on the eighth season of singing competition The Voice and has a new album out titled G I R L. Busy times indeed, but he wouldn't have it any other way. “I don't want to take any of it for granted. I would rather stay focused on the work.”

Williams, who is also one half of legendary producing duo The Neptunes, with numerous chart-topping hits to his name said he appreciates his success “because I know where it comes from. It comes from the seed which is the work, being curious about what you do and being appreciative to be able to collaborate with people… that is where all of this comes from.”

 Cape Town is one of the cities hosting a “Live Earth” concert, about which Williams says: “Expect energy and intention. There will be music that will be played with intention so you will feel it. You feel the intention.”

* Nontando Mposo was flown to Los Angeles courtesy of Woolworths.

Independent Media

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