Pharrell Williams collaborating with Woolworths

Pharrell Williams will be performing in South Africa in September. (Image courtesy of Woolworths).

Pharrell Williams will be performing in South Africa in September. (Image courtesy of Woolworths).

Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir announced on Thursday that the retailer is collaborating on the “Are you With Us?” campaign with US musician, producer and philanthropist Pharrell Williams across a series of sustainability-focused projects. 

Celebrities, media and influencers who gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff on Thursday afternoon were already aware of the collaboration after Williams beat the brand to the punch by tweeting several hours before the official announcement.

The campaign has four layers: pure entertainment, showcasing young talent, fundraising for education, and driving sustainable fashion. 

The global superstar will be putting on a private concert for 5 000 Woolworths customers. Woolworths W Rewards, Credit and MySchool cardholders could win a ticket to an exclusive, one-night-only performance in September. 

Moir expressed his desire for Williams to spend some time at some of the country’s schools who are recipients of the funds generated when customers swipe their MySchool cards.
It ties in with the “Sing with Us” initiative, where school singing groups will be given the opportunity to perform live alongside Williams during his one-night-only concert. Entrants will be shortlisted and chosen personally by the musician. 

Williams and MySchool will also be calling on customers to help the brand raise R100-million for schools in need across the country through swiping their MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cards.  

Bionic Yarn: The slim tailor 3D jacket, made from yarns contained recycled ocean waste.

The brand will also be collaborating with Bionic Yarn, a company with creates fabric out of recycled plastic waste, to create a range of limited edition, sustainable T-shirts. According to the press statement, design students are invited to create and submit designs for these T-shirts from which Williams will select his favourite designs, which will then be produced and sold at Woolworths stores. Winners will each receive R25 000 in prize money.

Williams last toured the country with his band N.E.R.D as part of the Hansa Pilsener Legends in the Making Tour 2 in February 2011. He has recently been in the headlines for being found by a jury to (along with Robin Thicke) have copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 Got to Give It Up in their 2013 hit song Blurred Lines. The Gaye family who filed the suit were awarded $7.4-million.

The Guardian reports that on June 1, Williams, will be honoured as a fashion icon for his numerous contributions to the world of fashion. “Williams will be awarded with the Fashion Icon Award at the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards by the prestigious arbiters of what is considered to be fashionable, the Council of Fashion Designers of America.” 

For more information on the campaign, follow the hashtag #pharrellwithwoolies or visit woolworths.co.za/areyouwithus

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