PHARRELL’S LATEST GIG: Pharrell Williams seems to be every brand’s favorite collaborator these days. Woolworths, the South African department store chain, is the latest to snap up the award-winning multiplatform artist, naming him style director of a forthcoming sustainable-fashion collaboration. A Woolworths spokesperson said that the partnership was a strategic one, “grounded in a strong set of shared values.”
At a press conference Thursday at the Four Seasons Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg, Ian Moir, chief executive officer of Woolworths Holdings, Ltd., said he was hoping that “Pharrell will help us make sustainability cool for the next generation of South Africans,” adding that the musician 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.”
The collaboration includes a sustainable T-shirt design competition, which is a tie-up with Bionic Yarn, a company that creates fabric out of recycled plastic waste. Design students are invited to submit designs and Williams will select his favorite T-shirts, which will then be produced and sold in Woolworths stores across South Africa. Winners will also receive a cash prize amounting to around $2,000.
Williams will be heading to South Africa in September for a concert tour, and school groups will compete for a chance to sing with him on stage. The event will be exclusive to members of WRewards, Woolworths’ in-house customer loyalty program.
Williams praised Woolworths as a company providing “a global blueprint for how good businesses should do good business.”
The new collaboration, he added, was to call on everyone “to work together to uplift education in South Africa. For food farming that goes easy on the planet. And to create fashion that is just not cool, but also sustainable.”
The Woolworths collaboration forms part of Williams’ “Harmonizing Humanity” effort launched earlier this year at Davos.