Chris Detert of American Rebel PR Talks Fashion and Music Meeting
Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:49:01
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Chris Detert is something of a modern renaissance man.
As the CEO of American Rebel PR in Los Angeles, he's the visionary behind a full-service fashion, events, and marketing public relations firm with a distinct rock 'n' roll edge. It's that edge that makes Detert a premier publicist and a unique presence in the entertainment business.
Finding a cross-section between two of his passions, Detert describes how fashion and music are basically "in a relationship" in this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com. He also reveals a few of the many musicians he admires—describing his passion for rock music along with the inspiration that comes from being able to work closely with famed rock stars, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on their clothing lines.
Detert emphasizes the importance of understanding an array of music genres in the entertainment industry and describes that it is in American Rebel's DNA. Detert also discusses the crucial point of knowing today’s hottest fashion trends that are yet cohesive with the current trends of today’s music—from rock, pop, and straight to hit pop.
Why do you think fashion and music are intertwined?
I think that it really comes down to the fact that they are both such a huge part of people's self-expression and personal identity. As long as popular music has been relevant, people have been drawn to what musicians wear and oftentimes, artists have set the trends that the rest of us emulate. Also, there is an undeniable link between fashion, music, and sexuality. Both music and fashion play an integral role in what brings people together and makes them attracted to each other.
Is it important for American Rebel PR to balance an understanding of both rock ‘n’ roll culture and pop culture at large?
Without question. Our company's DNA is very rock 'n' roll at American Rebel PR, especially since I was once a rock singer myself and rock music is my greatest passion. Though for us to be a diverse agency that has more than just rock-themed clients, it is crucial that we understand that there is a need for us to be well versed in both rock 'n' roll culture and pop culture.
Did you discover certain looks or styles via music?
Absolutely! Musicians have always helped mold my personal style. I remember back in 7th and 8th grade, I was really into hip-hop, so I was wearing sports jerseys and baggy jeans because I wanted to emulate the hip-hop artists of the time. That was a very brief phase for me and I became a "rock guy" shortly thereafter, but that just goes to show you how your taste in music can really shape your fashion sense. I really fell in love with rock music when the Grunge scene took over in the early 1990s and I very clearly remember wearing lots of plaid shirts, Chuck Taylors and Doc Martens. I also started wearing one of my favorite items, a black leather jacket, because it seemed to be the de facto uniform of any stylish lead singer in a rock band.
Which musicians have a distinct sense of style that personally inspires you?
I'd definitely have to say Scott Weiland has always been the epitome of cool to me, so I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to create his clothing line, The Scott Weiland Collection, with him. I also had the opportunity to work with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on his clothing line, Ve'cel, a few years ago, and I think he has a great sense of style. Brandon Boyd of Incubus is another musician who is effortlessly cool. One of my style icons that you might not heard of is Jimmy Gnecco of the band, Ours. I also look back at old shots of Kurt Cobain and wish that I could pull off that Grandpa sweater look!
What music artists would you love to work with the most?
I have been really fortunate in the fact that I can call many of my favorite artists my friends, so I feel like I've had a wealth of experience in working with and spending time with my favorite musicians. I still have yet to work with Eddie Vedder, which I've always wanted to do. Both Dave Matthews and Brandon Boyd are also on my short list of artists that I’d love to work with.
In terms of presentation, what piece of clothing on a celebrity or rock star will catch the most attention from a viewer?
I think that t-shirts are probably some of the most memorable items that musicians and celebrities wear. It seems to be the easiest thing for people to identify, especially if it’s a graphic t-shirt. Think of iconic t-shirts like John Lennon's "New York City" t-shirt or other popular shirts like CBGB tees. Their place in popular culture is indelible. Early in my career, when I was the VP of marketing for the fashion brand, Von Dutch, we built that brand by of placing t-shirts and trucker hats on the biggest stars in Hollywood. I do want to note that there are other fashion items that are equally iconic like Michael Jackson's "Beat It" jacket, Run DMC's Adidas sneakers and gold chains, and Kurt Cobain's striped sweaters and Chuck Taylors.
How has American Rebel evolved with the changing landscapes of both fashion and music?
We pride ourselves on consistently having our collective finger on the pulse of what is happening in both music and fashion, so we have continually evolved with the rapidly changing trends in both. Our clients look to us to help them know what is going on in popular culture, so this will always be a primary focal point for us as a company.
Who are your favorite bands? Do you listen to music while you're working?
I have so many that it's almost unfair to list them because I don't want to leave any out, but some of the top ones include Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Incubus, Fuel, Ours, Live, Dave Matthews Band, Ray LaMontagne, Puddle of Mudd, Staind, Seether, Silverchair, Soundgarden, and STP. See, I told you it was hard for me to pick just a few! And yes, I absolutely listen to music all day long. Nothing keeps my day going like great music!
What's next for you and American Rebel?
One of the key focuses for the near future is getting a NYC showroom so that we can give American Rebel an East Coast presence. Also, I'm really excited to announce that we just started working on a very cool music-related project with our client Pepsi and the Ray Charles estate. We're launching a series of t-shirts based on the '90s Pepsi campaign "You Got the Right One Baby, Uh-huh," which are being sold at Urban Outfitters.
What's your favorite rocker fashion?