The music duo, Hi-Fashion, recently took Manhattan by storm. Comprised of band mates Jen DM and Rick Gradone, Hi-Fashion has a flair for the avant-garde.
DM and Gradone first met at a gay bar where Gradone flirted with DM, thinking she was a man. Despite this mishap, the two became fast friends and eventually forged their band. Since then, Hi-Fashion has been in high demand due to the airing of their music video for the single, “I’m Not Madonna.” Gossip blogger, Perez Hilton posted the video and suddenly, Gradon and DM were “getting invitations all over the place.”
“The response has been incredible,” said Gradone.
Hi-Fashion, as described by DM, is an “electro pop explosion that combines big analog beats with world sounds” to create a wild dance party. The band hopes to play huge shows all over the world and continue making incredible videos. “My husky soulful voice and hard-hitting raps along with Rick’s stratospheric falsettos makes for a pretty unique sound,” says DM. “We want to promote the idea of fun for everyone.”
While DM and Gradone hail from New York, Hi-Fashion is based in Los Angeles where the pair has top-secret day jobs. “In an alternate universe, we are both full-time astrophysicists doing experiments on time travel devices,” DM hints. “But its all super top secret and we can’t really talk about it other than that.”
Rick Gradone (left) and Jen DM (right) of Hi Fashion Preparing for Show at Industry. Photo: Kate Reeder
Like the band, Gradone himself is big on theatrics.
His work as a part-time hairdresser on fashion shoots–including Victoria Secret shows–inspired him to write “Semi-Permanent,” a one-man show about being (you guessed it) a hairdresser.
He performed the piece in the New York Fringe Festival in 2007 and won the title of “Outstanding Solo Show.”
Hailing from New York, and living in LA has supplied the duo with a love of fashion. They originally named themselves Hi-Fashion $5.99. “It was based on a crappy clothing store in L.A. because we loved the idea that anyone thought High Fashion could cost $5.99,” said DM. “Then a lawyer told us we should change the price for legal reasons and we became Hi-Fashion $9.99 upon the urging of an astrologer.”
The pair soon dropped the price tag when they realized the irony they needed was already in the name. “We’ve become a lot more expensive since then so it’s kind of like when you go to a really expensive store there are no price tags,” sums up DM.
So what are their must-have fashion items?
Unsurprisingly, their choices and reasons for selecting them are a bit far out. Gradone cites his mouse ears and Rick Owens men’s skirt, while DM’s is fond of her Nick Cave Soundsuit and “anything unwearable by Gareth Pugh.” She also admits to liking comfortable shoes because sometimes her feet hurt from stomping on stage.
As far as their music career goes, they agree that everyday has been a highlight. Their EP, Sprechen Sie Hi Fashion? was released in July and is available on iTunes.
Also, for their fans, they want them to know that cinnamon should be used as often as possible in cooking “because it helps regulate [the] body’s natural insulin production.”
Photos by Kate Reeder.