John Varvatos Enterprises has partnered with Island Records and Spin to create a rock band talent competition, a move to extend the brand’s alliance with the music world.
This story first appeared in the April 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The battle of the bands, called “Free the Noise,” will be hosted on SpinEarth.tv, a Spin Media Web site featuring global music news. The winning band will receive a development deal with Island Records and be featured in the next international advertising campaign for John Varvatos Star USA, the brand’s bridge label.
The designer has featured numerous rock musicians in campaigns for the John Varvatos Collection label, including Franz Ferdinand, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, Velvet Revolver and Perry Farrell. But the winning band will be the first musicians to appear in Star USA ads, which only depicted models previously. The campaign will be the label’s most ambitious to date and its first one reaching beyond U.S. media.
The company has revved up its global presence in the past year, moving its runway show to Milan and opening a showroom there, as well as forming more partnerships in the Far East, especially South Korea. The talent search is another effort to raise brand awareness abroad.
Starting today and running through the end of July, unsigned bands are invited to upload a video of a recent performance of original music to SpinEarth.tv. Spin Earth’s more than 350 correspondents will be encouraging bands to enter.
In August, the finalists will be chosen and flown to New York to perform at John Varvatos’ 315 Bowery space, the former home of CBGB, one night during New York Fashion Week. John Varvatos and a panel of rock star judges will select the winning band.
“Music is the heart and soul of this brand,” said Varvatos. “Hosting this contest on the Internet allows bands from all four corners of the globe to participate.”
The designer has other music-related activities coming up. He will launch his monthly radio program on Sirius Satellite Radio, called “Born in Detroit,” in mid-May. And John Varvatos is hosting the New York Dolls’ latest album launch at 315 Bowery on May 5. The event will help to fund the new-artist performances that have been taking place in the Bowery store for the last seven months, since the store opened.
In addition, in recent weeks the designer renovated his SoHo store while Bloomingdale’s 59th Street opened an expanded space for John Varvatos Collection as well as a Star USA shop modeled on Varvatos’ Bowery store.