Go Behind the Scenes With Grammy-Nominated Rockers Highly Suspect as They Shop for Music's Big Night
The first-time nominees give Billboard a sneak peek as the rock stars shop for their red carpet debut
While Jonas, one of the worst winter storms in recent memory, effectively shut down New York with more than two feet of snow, the Brooklyn-based rockers of Highly Suspect made their way to John Varvatos' Soho boutique to get styled for the Grammy Awards. In a year of firsts, which began with the band's debut LP, Mister Asylum (300 Entertainment), and culminated with nominations for best rock album and best rock song, vocalist-guitarist Johnny Stevens, drummer Ryan Meyer and bassist Richard Meyer also experienced being dressed by a designer. "We've come into the store before, but only to look," says 30-year-old Ryan, who along with his bandmates has a penchant for T-shirts and dark denim. "As far as personal style, I'm not one to get suited up, but the Grammys are the biggest event of the year."
For Varvatos, who has drawn inspiration from music throughout his more than three-decade-long design career, and also partnered with Republic in 2014 to launch John Varvatos Records, the opportunity to dress the upstart artists was a no-brainer. "As a rock band, they represent the same value of going against the grain that our brand was founded on," says Varvatos, who was behind Dierks Bentley's 2015 awards look and John Legend's tuxedo at Clive Davis' party. "We didn't push for a particular look or uniform. It's about dialing into their personality with the clothes."
See the Grammy looks the Highly Suspect guys picked below and watch the exclusive video above to watch them in action during their Grammy shopping trip.
Stevens, 29, selected his final touches at the Varvatos boutique in London while on the band's U.K. tour, including a pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses that are a departure from the Ray-Ban aviators he typically favors. "I want my sunglasses to be a little louder -- these have a cool green/blue shade that reminds me of my favorite Fender guitar picks." Bowery Square sunglasses, $295; johnvarvatos.com
"The clothes obviously are stylish," says Stevens, "but we've also had the pleasure of knowing John a little bit, which made the experience that much better." Twins Richard (left) and Ryan tried on and walked away with the first look that caught their eyes, only changing the shirt options.
A Cut Above
Rich, 30, decided on a gray wool three-piece suit, but opted to rough up its genteel vibe by pairing it with Chelsea boots in a fabric reminiscent of reptile skin and a black V-neck T-shirt instead of a button-down. "The dress shirt's a great look," he says, but it's "just too formal."
Almost immediately upon entering the store, Ryan was struck by the get-up on one of the floor mannequins: a navy tuxedo jacket with contrast peak lapels, worn over a blue navy dress shirt. After trying on the outfit (which needed only the slightest tailoring), he made the look his own by wearing it over some skinny John Varvatos jeans with just a hint of stacking at the ankle.
This story originally appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of Billboard.