Earlier this year I wrote a blog about how people listen to music, at least in part, with their eyes: the appearance of a musician can sometimes be just as critical as the music itself.
In fact, with so many other forms of entertainment choices being presented to the consumer, today’s music practically demands the artist or band has “the look.”
Although one’s appearance cannot take the place of good music, it can be an essential component to help push a musical act over the top.
Imagine Justin Beiber in a lame pair of jeans with a hokey t-shirt or Nicki Manaj in an outfit from a sports store. Neither would be the same performer in that circumstance.
And…didn’t the 80s “glam” and “hair” bands really prove that “the look” sells?
But stating this premise is simple; implementation and execution is a whole another thing.
So, I went out looking for someone with expertise who could give us musicians some guidance on what to do with our appearance.
And I found my person.
Meet Claire Jane Vranian. Claire is the owner of ICJUK which is a Las Vegas web-based business specializing in amazing rock t-shirts, vintage feathered handbags, as well as hair fascinators.
Claire’s website can be found at www.icjuk.com, and you can also find Claire on Facebook (ICJUK). Claire also operates brick and mortar stores, as well.
Claire is no stranger to the entertainment and fashion industry, and she brings a strong, lengthy background from working in the film industry (Pinewood Studios). In a career spanning more than 17 years Claire worked on various commercials, television shows, pop promos as well as over 40 motion pictures – working closely with writers, directors, painters, sculptors, actors and artists of every kind.
In Claire’s own words she specialized in “special makeup effects” and in fact she was a special makeup effects coordinator during that period of time.
I think that qualifies Claire enough to get us started. However, before we continue on, let me tell you some things that I learned about her that impressed me.
First, Claire is a hands-on owner: if you do business with ICJUK you will deal with Claire herself.
Second, Claire is not really self-promoting: she lets the music do the talking (so to speak). One has that luxury when artists like Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) promote her products by wearing her custom designed shirts regularly on tour. Essentially, she promotes by legitimate endorsements from reputable people.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Claire offers great products.
So let’s get into it. Here’s Claire……………
K Bo: What’s the most important considerations for the artist when contemplating their own fashion image?
CJV: By far the most important consideration is that you feel comfortable in what you wear. It’s obvious, but yet I see many people wearing what they think they should wear or what people want them to wear.
That’s not the same thing as what you think you should wear.
Again, be comfortable and not forced.
The second thing is confidence. You hear it all the time but it is an essential. You have to feel confident with what you wear and you will know when you do. It will show.
Also, anything goes. There are no rules.
I also try to stress, or would try to stress, timeless pieces and styles. I just saw the Rolling Stones and what an amazing show they have, or still have I should say. Be cognizant of everything coming back in to style nowadays. Things are changing constantly.
The biggest rule I subscribe to is that as a musician you don’t want to look like someone from the audience. You want to stand out and not look like someone in the crowd. Don’t be afraid to be big and bold.
K Bo: Okay. Let’s break that down. With a female performer, for example, what advice would you give to that performer about fashion tips?
CJV: Women are usually dressed different than men obviously. Women also have special considerations. For example, some women have to pay attention to their arms. Do they have big arms and how much of their arms are they looking to show?
You want to make sure you look good from every angle.
I would also consider what the performer does in the band. Are you playing an instrument or are you more out front?
Makeup is key for women. It has to be of the right consistency so that it does not run or dilute during a performance. Details are important such as how much you run around and even the venue’s temperature.
K Bo: How about for a male performer. What would you stress for a male performed over a female performer?
CJV: I don’t think it’s out of bounds for a male to consider hair pieces or earrings. I also think that some performers, like Steven Tyler for example, have shown us that you can do a lot with a microphone stand.
But I like the t-shirt look if done well and I would invite musicians to check out the custom designed shirts that I designed when considering how to put together their wardrobe. I also think that makeup for a male should not be overlooked. It can work depending on the project and circumstance.
K Bo: As a follow-up to that, what are fashion no-no’s that performers should avoid?
CJV: That’s a tough question but first I will say this: Although it may seem obvious a performer should not wear something that is too small for them. Although you can work on your figure don’t try to overcompensate by wearing something too small. It’s a dead giveaway that you are forcing something that may not belong.
Second, dress appropriate for your musical style. If you are in a punk genre then dress punk but obviously for someone in jazz that may not work.
K Bo: So tell us about your products? What can consumers look for?
CJV: Well, I offer a mix of vintage and new looks for the repeat customer and I have a lot of them. My demographic is a little bit older. With my t-shirts, for example, I design them all myself and I try to create different styles like a v-neck, crew neck, as well as others.
K Bo: You sell accessories too?
CJV: I offer my customers scarves as well as bracelets. I also offer various handbags. Accessories are neat but they are not for everyone. My advice is to consider them but make sure they work for you…if they do, they can add a lot.
K Bo: Do you prepare custom designs specifically for a particular customer?
CJV: I can but
I don’t do that too much because it can get pricy. But yes, in the right circumstance I can.
But I will say this: if you contact my company you are talking to me. I am preparing your order and getting it to you, and I do that because I want that personal touch extending to all my customers. So in a sense, every order is custom in that I oversee everything with the order including the customer’s satisfaction.
In fact, I will often send customers hand written notes and gifts on occasion because I want the customer to feel special even without a custom design of their own choosing or creation.
K Bo: I would be remiss if we didn’t discuss your special relationship with Joe Elliott. Tell us about it.
CJV: Joe is a dear friend. I met Joe through my husband who has a company called Rock and Roll Gallery.com which is an online art gallery (www.rockandrollgallery.com). It is fantastic and it has all kinds of vintage photography you can find there.
So I met Joe through my husband, and we have been friends for about 13 years since. At one point Joe had asked me to design him a t-shirt after he found out I was designing. Joe has been great to me.
In fact, the last three tours he has been wearing ICJUK t-shirts…and I have to tell you I have never asked him to wear them. His wearing of my shirts has been very organic. I feel very gracious and humble that he wears these shirts in support of me. I am honored when I see Joe on stage wearing my shirts.
K Bo: Where do you see the future of fashion going?
CJV: I’ll answer that by saying this. Anything goes. I’ve already told you it just has to be comfortable and be appropriate. However, I would like to see some of the vintage looks come back. By that I mean the 60s and 70s. That era made such a statement.
K Bo: In the end, are you happy with your products?
CJV: Honestly, I am. I have to admit that I wear my shirts. My thought is that I try to design products based on what I want to wear or would want to wear. This way I know I would be happy to see someone wearing my stuff.
– K bo
Originally posted 2013-07-16 20:24:25.