To mark 25 years of being all about the music, Hot Topic has turned to Joan Jett for a shot of rock ’n’ roll.
After years of being an influential downtown rocker, she is sharing her style through the Joan Jett for Tripp NYC fashion collection for Hot Topic, which bows today. This is a first for Jett, who has been approached by other companies and designers over the years. She finally decided to go with her friends Daang and Ray Goodman at Tripp NYC. In a phone interview, she said, “I’ve talked about doing something like this over the years but nothing ever came to fruition. Daang and Ray really get my styles and I didn’t have to do the nuts and bolts of the design,” Jett said. “They take my essence and translate my vibe and we go from there.”
The Southern California-based Hot Topic operates 658 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as its own e-commerce site.
Jett said, “I’ve known about Hot Topic for years and years because on the road there are very few places in certain areas of the country where you can find kind of rock ’n’ roll clothes. And Tripp is kind of famous in New York for catering to that rock ’n’ roll downtown, edgy kind of vibe.”
Winding down this year with a few special gigs, Jett knows of what she speaks. In 1980, she started Blackheart Records with her songwriting partner and producer Kenny Laguna, and has been touring on and off ever since. Jett started up her own label after being rejected by 23 major and minor record companies who didn’t think an electric-guitar-playing woman would cut it with fans. So Jett and Laguna started cutting records themselves and sold them from his Cadillac at shows, during her “Put Another Dime in the Jukebox” days.
Jett’s line for Hot Topic retails from $32.50 for a black asymmetrical tank with pleather and lace-up details to $64.50 for a black twill belted motorcycle jacket with lace-up sleeves. The label is meant to appeal to women and men, according to Jett, who was hard-pressed to describe her own look. “It’s tough to put words to your own self. It sounds kind of cliché to say but minimalist, rock ’n’ roll, edgy and dark, but they all apply to my style — androgynous because I don’t have a bunch of curves,” she said. “I know a lot of boys who wear girls’ clothes especially in rock bands. Guys like to wear girls clothes because sometimes they’re more stylish and better looking [than] guys’ clothes.”
When Jett was honored at last month’s Little Kids Rock benefit, the Hot Topic Foundation donated $250,000 in her name and scores of T-shirts for guests. “They said about 5,000 kids [in underserved areas] will get music classes from the benefit,” Jett said.
Jett has a few other side projects in the works. She, Laguna and Carianne Brinkman, who heads up all of Blackheart’s business ventures, are producing the movie “Undateable John,” which will feature Margaret Cho, Daryl Hannah, Estella Warren, Tom Arnold, Russell Simmons, Meredith Baxter and Shannen Doherty among others. Due out next year, the film is about a couple that falls in love after meeting through Alcoholics Anonymous. The cast was encouraged to improvise.
Jett also has a role in the new Stephen King movie “Big Driver” that made its debut on Lifetime a few weeks ago, as well as in the new HBO documentary “Foo Fighters Sonic Highways.” The musician will also have a role in Denis Leary’s new project “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.”
As for her staying power, Jett said, “The road does get tiring and certainly it has changed over the years with the various security measures getting more extreme, which I’m perfectly fine with. But it makes for a much longer day. The gigs are easy — it’s really the traveling that kicks everybody’s butt. It’s very intense but what are we going to do? We enjoy what we do and it’s worth it to make those connections — with the people, I don’t mean with the planes.”