The annals of fashion and streetwear are lined with some impressive names, from the Coco Chanels and Yves Saint-Laurent of years past, to the James Jebbias and Virgil Ablohs of today. That being said, few individuals have had the same impact on the way people dress as Pharrell Williams. From the early-2000s until today, Pharrell has had a tangible effect not only on the clothes that we wear, but on how we wear them. What makes Pharrell so unique is the fact that he has impacted not only streetwear —something not uncommon for producers and rappers— but also fashion, and, one could argue, design in general.

While Pharrell had been pumping out beats throughout the nineties with Chad Hugo under The Neptunes, he didn’t reach the point of noticeably gracing red carpets until the early 2000s, when he produced “Hot in Herre” (2003), “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (2004), “U Don’t Have To Call” (2002), “Frontin’” (2002) and “Rock Your Body” (2003), to name but a few tracks. Some of Pharrell’s sartorial choices in the early 2000s fit with what fellow rappers and producers were wearing—baggy jeans and tees—his affinity for trucker hats, shearling jackets and skateboard tees made him somewhat of an outlier among his peers.

The seminal moment in Pharrell’s style evolution came thanks to his affinity for bombastic jewelry, and through one of the world’s most well-connected and well-respected jewellers. It’s 2000-2001, and Pharrell is sitting with Jacob Arabo, known to most as Jacob the Jeweller. “Jacob used to tell me there’s this guy from Japan that I have to meet,” Pharrell recalled on his Apple Music show OTHERtone in 2016, “[because] he’s bringing in photos of me and having [Jacob] remake all the pieces I was wearing… but in multiple colours.”

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