As the lines between brand and celebrity continue to blur, music’s role as a pop culture conduit continues to rise. Jack Harlow signed on as brand ambassador of New Balance earlier this year. Bad Bunny has a continuing collaboration with Adidas. And L’Oréal Paris tapped H.E.R. to be the face of its Elvive Curls line.
Now Futuremood, manufacturer of uber-stylish sunglasses that claim to alter moods with their saturated psychedelic optics, is expanding its lens and deepening its connection with the tastemaker community.
Rapper Lil Yachty has come onboard as an investor in the company, which recently sealed an investment from music duo the Chainsmokers. Both relationships go much deeper than a monetary infusion. Lil Yachty and Futuremood have been at work since 2020 on a Yachty-inspired product line slated to drop this fall to coincide with his first new music in more than two years.
“Yachty has some amazing music that’s coming out, and then the shades will come out shortly after that,” says Austin Soldner, Futuremood co-founder and CEO. “We’re going to be teasing parts of the product line and the first drop in the next few months.”
While details about his signature glasses remain under wraps, Yachty shares some of his inspiration with Forbes. “The model we set on for the first release means so much to me because it was inspired by one of my favorite eras of fashion and hip-hop music—the ‘90s. That real Compton, LA style that’s just so sleek,” he says.
“I don’t talk too much about anything I’m working on, but I will say that I finished it,” he says of the new album. “The mixing process was a tedious one. I’ve never done an album like this before. It’s extremely different and there are a lot of moving parts to it.”
The deep creative alliance Futuremood built with the artist underscores its view on the creative partnership. It’s a relationship that’s as much about ethos and aesthetic as it is marketing and promotion. Case in point, while iterating on design elements Soldner and the team spent time with Yachty both at his home in Atlanta and in the studio.
“We went through different elements to get an idea of what shades would feel right to represent him in this time and this space, and we did a number of different design sessions and meet-ups to talk about innovations we could add,” Soldner says.
That spirit is resonating with the artistic community. The Chainsmokers’ limited-edition, violet-hued glasses line, designed to capture the moods the Grammy-winning duo experienced while creating their new album So Far So Good, marked their first brand partnership in more than four years.
“With Yachty’s shades, every vibe that he’s been feeling… everything we can do to pull that through and give that to the people who wear the glasses so they can feel almost what it’s like to be rocking with Yachty in that moment—that’s what we’re doing,” Soldner says. “One thing that was super important was that none of this could feel like merch. Nothing could feel like it was connected to the music in that type of a way.”
Lil Yachty, who counts Glosslab and Lox Club, a dating app for the Jewish Community, among his other investments, was drawn to the shades’ style even more than their ability to enhance auras. After he hit up Futuremood for a pair to try out—the red AuraBoost have been his favorite—he was off to the races sharing them with friends and even making a TikTok video featuring the glasses.
“As an artist, I am always looking for ways to unleash my creativity,” he says. “What really drew me to the company was the presentation and packaging of the sunglasses, and the quality. As simple as that may seem, it just blew me away. When I spoke to the guys I could tell how passionate they were, and that was really important. I wanted to be a part of it.”
In addition to Yachty, recent Futuremood investors include USC
“When we think of the people we want to work with, it’s people who we think are the future,” Soldoner says.
“The future of music, the future of fashion, the people who have defining creative voices. Yachty in my opinion is one of the most underrated artists of our time and I think there’s so much creative coming from him on a daily basis. These are the type of people I’m inspired by.”