By Tracy McCormick
Nothing speaks for an individual better than their fashion and musical choices, Fashion designer and rock progeny Astrella has set out to prove this theory when her iconic and stylish line of MUSICAL T’s™ “drop” in Bloomingdale’s New York and Santa Monica flagship stores May 2015.
The news is huge for Astrella and the future of her patent pending MUSICAL T’s™ line. Featuring luxury high quality, 100% organic fabric garments targeted to music lovers everywhere, the brand has gained plenty of momentum since its introduction in, 2014 for combining iconic album artwork re-imagined for fashion. Each Astrella tee includes her patent protected technology platform, allowing the consumer to swipe his/her smart device over the digital gate (NFC or QR code pending on retailer), allowing consumers to immediately download the album associated with the garments design. I.E. buy The Who’s A Quick One MUSICAL T’s™ and instantly stream the full album and/or have the mp3 files emailed to your computer.
Astrella’s savvy inspiration for her MUSICAL T’s™ line evolved organically from her own background in the music industry and today’s fashion trends – while pursuing her own passion to help bring life back to music sales. By her unique combination of art, fashion, music and technology to create this ingenious and hip clothing experience, Astrella enables consumers to access the albums they’re wearing on any network device and engage with the online community without skipping a beat.
After the success with one time strategic partner, designer John Varvatos, in 2011, producing and releasing Icon fashion tees based on two of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee DONOVAN’s (her father) album covers, Astrella’s husband and partner Jason P. Rothberg came up with the idea of a technology platform capable of securely bridging digital content with physical products. The idea piqued the interest of Bloomingdales President David Fisher, and three years later, with all the necessary technology in place, Astrella and her MUSICAL T’s™, was born.
To help kick off the new spring collection and Bloomingdale’s announcement, actor/musician Drake Bell will perform on March 21st as part of the kick-off of Saxony Group Fashion Week™ El Paseo 2015. On the 23rd of March the MUSICAL T’s™ will be spotlighted on the runway in advance of their Bloomingdale’s debut. In addition there will be performances by Astrella’s friends and some of the official models for the MUSICAL T’s™ line, including Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, Wallflowers) who has assembled an all-star band, and world-renowned DJ / GRAMMY nominated music producer, Carmen Rizzo will add a fitting spin to the brand’s runway show.
Other artists signed to the Astrella roster include, Classic Rock: Cyndi Lauper, Elton John, Queen, The Who, The Spencer Davis Group. Pop: Michael Hutchence, Neon Trees. Punk: The Vandals. Rockabilly: Brian Setzer, Drake Bell. Rap: MC LYTE, Soundtracks: Queen “Flash Gordon”, Elmer BernStein “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Gospel: Ray Charles. Jazz: Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk. Blues: John Lee Hooker, Lightning Hopkins. Reggae & World Music: Ravi Shankar, Slightly Stoopid and even film maker David Lynch, with more labels and artists signing up weekly.
For more information visit www.astrellainc.com.
By Tracy Dietlin
During a recent interview with Astrella and Jason Rothberg and Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters), they all expressed their excitement about being part of Saxony Group Fashion Week™ El Paseo. Astrella has currently been selling her MUSICAL T’s™ line locally at Crimson the boutique at the Riviera in Palm Springs. She shared that the owner is friends with Susan Stein and had mentioned Astrella’s line to her.
I asked how it came about that Rami’s All-Star band would be performing at Astrella’s MUSICAL T’s™ fashion show.
“When I heard Astrella was going to be involved with this show and was looking for entertainment I said yes,” stated Jaffee.
“Rami immediately came to mind since he knew about this project,” shared Astrella.
Jaffee said that he started the All-Star band a couple years ago when a friend asked them to play at an art gallery event featuring a Rolling Stones exhibit instead of getting the usual DJ.
“At that time I had Blondie’s drummer, Neil Young’s bass player and the guitar player for Blind Melon. We had a blast and word got around and people started asking us if we wanted to play. Then people were asking ‘how come you don’t have a web presence or FB page’ and I said ‘here’s my number just call me,’” he laughed.
“The Foo Fighters keep me really busy,” he went on to share, “and we’re all working in bands so we aren’t all always available so we’ll call upon others like the drummer from Pearl Jam to sit in or whoever is available. We play mostly classic rock covers from the Rolling Stones to Tom Petty to The Byrds. It’s kind of a party band and we have a lot of fun with it.”
I asked if they would be playing songs that correlate to the t-shirts being modeled. Jaffee responded, “Oh my gosh, that is a great idea!”
“We’re just dialing that all in now actually,” said Astrella.
“I presented Susan (Stein) with a set list from a corporate show we did about a month ago and she said ‘oh my, I love all of these’ so I think it’s going to be good,” shared Jaffee. “It hasn’t really been done a lot with a live band playing instead of a DJ at these big fashion shows.”
“Burberry has done it in the past in Paris and Milan,” stated Astrella.
“If it really starts to catch on then we might just have to go to Paris and rock them out too,” commented Jaffee. “Just like Astrella is breaking new ground with getting people to buy and download music with her MUSICAL T’s™, we’re going to break new ground playing as a live band at fashion shows.”
“Embracing the crossover with fashion and music just makes sense,” stated Astrella. “Music and fashion are different and yet quite the same actually. Fashion has always been connected to music on every level, for instance Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall.”
The list of rock stars that have married top fashion models is along one: Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter, Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, David Bowie and Iman, and recently Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo.
As for the music business, Astrella has watched it change drastically over the years having a front seat view to the industry both from being legendary musician Donovan’s daughter and being a musician herself.
“It’s all about keeping music alive, keeping music sales alive, and the music business is in a really weird limbo right now with all the streaming that’s happening and people thinking they should get it for free. It’s gone in a really weird direction and we just want to bring it back to basics where people are buying music and loving and respecting their artists and honoring them.”
The collaboration of Astrella’s MUSICAL T’s™ fashion show with Rami Jaffee’s All-Star Band performing, guarantees to be a high energy rockin’ fashion show.
Monday, March 23 from 6-8pm at Saxony Group Fashion Week™ El Paseo.