Typically, when an actor or musician gets into the fashion business, it’s when they’ve already achieved critical, or at least financial, acclaim. But Justin Tranter — a lead singer in an underground “garage glam” band — is hoping his jewelry designs will help him garner the fame he has yet to achieve.
The platinum-coiffed Tranter, whose blue eyes are regularly lined in kohl, is the lead singer of Brooklyn’s Semi Precious Weapons. The group has gained some footing in the last few years playing gigs in New York, London, Paris and Montreal, and counts Kate Moss and Moby as fans. But Tranter, who describes the band’s music as AC/DC meets David Bowie, had to finance his musical musings.
So with his mother, a Chicago jewelry designer, as an inspiration and mentor, Tranter took a stab at creating jewelry. He launched Fetty of Brooklyn, a line of 14-karat gold, silver and diamond jewelry that sells for $600 to $800 at Barneys New York Co-op, as well as Precious Weapons, a $15 to $30 costume jewelry collection using motifs like guns and axes inspired by his band that retails at Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic and on the band’s Web site, semipreciousweapons.com.
“Being a singer and songwriter, my goal is to inspire people and make them feel awesome,” said Tranter, who was once the jewelry buyer for Calypso. “[Having a jewelry company] allowed me to reinvent the indie band model.”
Tranter has been eager to make connections, but it’s all with the band in mind. After a chance meeting with a MAC executive, the beauty company signed on to sponsor the band. Through the funding of the jewelry, the band was able to work with producer Tony Visconti, who has worked with the likes of Morrissey and David Bowie.
The brand’s inaugural album, called “We Love You,” will have a wide release on Tuesday and the band has also produced a video for its single, “Magnetic Baby.” In the video, there are piles of people painted in gold. But it couldn’t be just any golden hue.
“Ten-karat gold is my favorite color,” said Tranter. “I just love it. So the makeup team added more silver to it, to make it look like 10 karat.”
This month, Tranter begins filming an episode of “Made” on MTV where he will mentor a young girl on how to pursue her dreams of becoming a rock star.
But cross-promoting is never far behind the music. Each CD will come with a gun charm necklace, while 2,500 bonus CDs will come with an oversize gun charm necklace with a USB port that will have music and the band’s video. Barneys will sell a sterling silver version of the USB necklace starting Oct. 21.
“It’s charming, funny and whimsical, but it’s definitely edgy,” said Carrie Chapman, senior buyer of Barneys New York women’s Co-op accessories. “Each detail is well thought out and the fact that he’s a rock star is appealing to customers. Everyone loves a story.”
Tranter has also launched another costume jewelry line called Fame. The brass and crystal collection comprises highly polished brass cuffs and medallions, each having crystals that spell out words like “gorgeous” or “forever” in Braille. This line, which bowed in July, will be sold at Nina at Fred Segal, Alter in Brooklyn and Karmaloop.com at $40 to $100.
“My main goal is to change the way pop culture looks,” said Tranter. “I want to accomplish all the things Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez accomplished, but in my own…way.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast