As front man for Philly-based hardcore band Pissed Jeans, Matt Korvette isn't the typical fashion-obsessed dude. But, between Rick Owens' draping and Ann Demeulemeester tailoring, he's found an unlikely passion. (Korvette even writes a style column for Spin.) We caught up with him at Pissed Jeans' recent Bowery Ballroom show to discuss punk style, his lust for 'Loubs' and the future of originality.
Have you always been into fashion?
I've always been into clothes, but a few years ago this guy, Mike Nouveau, he's a DJ, opened the door for me. Getting into fashion is kind of like getting into punk. Someone gives you a record and guides you in. It's really hard to totally stumble upon everything.
What designers are you into?
He introduced me to Rick Owens, Damir Doma, Ann Demeulemeester, and I ate it all up. I'm also really into this guy Carol Christian Poell. He's kind of a maniac and does weird mutated shit. It's all super in-depth and the construction is crazy. He did a runway show in Venice where he asked everyone to show up to a specific address, and all of a sudden models just came floating down the canal in his clothes. Totally bizarre.
What is it about these designers that tripped your interest?
I feel like people still don't know how to respond to most of the designers I like. I was always into the idea of being a little weird and expressing yourself through clothes. When I was in high school it was about making my own shirts or going around to thrift stores. But now everyone is doing that and to look punk is as normal as anything. I think jocks look punk now. It's very confusing.
Yeah, especially right now. 'Punk' is a major fashion trend at the moment.
Oh really? Yeah, I guess even women's pumps have spikes on them.
What would catch your eye and make you think a person had style?
I like when women look sexy, which is such a stupid, obvious thing. With dudes anything that catches my eye, which is usually stuff that most people would consider 'bad' clothes. There is a difference between looking interesting and trying really hard, but if someone looks like they are having fun with their clothes, then it's cool. I mean who cares right? It's all such a horrible waste of time, but I am obsessed.
Speaking of women looking sexy, let's talk about your song 'Loubs,' It's about lusting after a woman in Christian Louboutins?
Yeah, I am totally into high heels. It's funny because my bandmates are all into girls that wear no makeup and brown moccasin flats that they got from their grandfather's closet. Which is cool too, but I can't relate. I think I've watched too much television or something. My brain got flipped in the wrong direction when I was six, and I haven't been able to repair it. I like a girl in expensive shoes -- -he higher the better. I just like that whole heavily made up look. The closer a woman resembles a drag queen, the more I'm into it.
Oh yeah. It's so hot.
Even if she can't walk in them? You see a lot of girls wobbling around in Louboutins.
Yeah, it's probably super sexist to want girls to wear heels. I guess I am conflicted about it. I don't want to impose my will on anyone, but what am I suppose to do? I don't want to fucking love these stupid shoes, but I do!
Above: Matt Korvette
You can't help what you love. It just seems very opposite of your personal style.
True. You won't find me in colorful Pucci for sexy men. I've tried that before, but it always felt like too much. You can easily put a crazy color on a shirt, but when you're wearing just shades of black, white and grey the textures and cut become more important.
Why do you think punk has had such a lasting effect on fashion?
Because there hasn't been any movement that's been that crazy and new since. And now with the Internet, you have access to tons of information, so you can be very specific with your look. If you wanted to look like Jasmine Guy and her boyfriend from A Different World, the second season, you could. It's the same with music. You could sound like San Francisco punk from 1982 to 1983 with a touch of Detroit proto punk from 1974. But, in 1992 you could maybe hear The Stooges from a friend and then go digging at the record store. Punk wasn't accessible shit. Now everything is accessible and no one is pushing forward because they are refining the past.
Is originality officially dead?
No, I just think it's really hard to be original -- especially if you're getting bankrolled. Like Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are multi-millionaires, but they aren't going anywhere in music. Once you hit that level you just wade in your own pool because who cares? When you are Gucci do you really have to push for the future or do you just have to make things that will sell? By that point you're just a successful business compared to weirdo in his basement making clothes.
How would you like to see your style evolve?
I'd like to get into some gutsier shit. I really like things where I think 'No way could I ever wear that,' and then you start wearing it only to find something that is even more ridiculous to wear. It's all about slowly building your tolerance into looking bizarre. I mean there was a time in college where I was like 'A deep V? Are you shitting me? It goes down to here!' But I moved past that and start wearing it only to realize it's like the most boring shit and moved on. Maybe in 10 years, and I'll have a completely feminine wardrobe. I'll have just slowly altered into a woman.
Pissed Jeans plays Music Hall of Williamsburg May 11th with Mudhoney.