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John Varvatos and Island Records: Fashion that rocks?

April 22, 2009 |  7:00 am

John varvatos Rock stardom. The shredding. The groupies. The clothing lines selling stuff using photos of your band. If that's your vision -- especially the bit about the clothing lines -- you'll like the path to fame dangled by rock-loving fashion designer John Varvatos and music label Island Records, who are teaming up for what they're billing as the first-ever John Varvatos Star USA “FREE THE NOISE” battle of the bands.

Running through July 31, unsigned up-and-coming bands can upload a recent concert of original music to (Or they can keep an eye out for the 350+ SPIN Earth correspondents who are looking for contestants at clubs and festivals).

Finalists are chosen in August. In September, they'll be flown to New York City and perform at John Varvatos 315 Bowery (once known as CBGB's) during the spring-summer 2010 New York Fashion Week. And the winners get a development deal with Island Records -- as well as a starring role in the next John Varvatos Star Advertising Campaign and on the SPIN Earth website.

This all should come as no surprise to fans of Varvatos. As The Times' Adam Tschorn pointed out last winter in a profile of the designer, "He's made musicians and rock stars the core of his advertising campaigns, and the rock aesthetic is the foundation of his menswear.... Leveraging his love of music has helped him sell a reported $80 million worth of John Varvatos-branded clothes, shoes and accessories at retail last year alone, reaching an astonishingly broad base that reaches across generations from Zac Efron to Ian McKellen."

Thinking of entering? Maybe a peek at Varvatos' iPod picks will give you an idea of what they're looking for.

-- Whitney Friedlander


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Photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times