We meet DNCE – the band consists of frontman Joe Jonas, drummer Jack Lawless, bassist and keyboardist Cole Whittle and guitarist JinJoo Lee, at the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, two hours before they’re about to go on stage. When#legend last spoke to Jonas, in May last year, DNCE was still riding on the success of their 2015 debut single and platinum-selling biggest hit Cake by the Ocean, one of the most played songs of that year. They followed up with Toothbrush, Body Moves and a self-titled album. Along the way, the dynamic, globally savvy quartet have cemented their credentials with industry accolades, including Best New Artist at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards.
The shoe company has tapped the band’s members, which includes Joe Jonas, to be global brand ambassadors for 2018.
It’s good timing with the tide having turned to a focus on Nineties brands and logos. K-Swiss hopes to ride that wave banking on nostalgia along with new retail partners, such as Journeys, to put the brand in front of customers in Generation Z and those skewing on the younger end of the Millennial cohort.
“This is definitely about bringing new people into the brand. We saw some of our biggest times in the Nineties. We definitely know a lot of people from that era know K-Swiss, but when it comes to younger people they don’t know,” said Patrick Buchanan, K-Swiss Global Brands global marketing director. “I think that we’re definitely using these new partnerships with accounts like Footaction and Shoe Palace and Journeys to be able to introduce K-Swiss to customers and it’s the same strategy with DNCE.”
The members of DNCE were shot in retro tennis apparel along with K-Swiss classic styles plus new designs expected to become available for sale at a later date. The campaign will be mostly digital in addition to in-store marketing.
“Everything retro is making a comeback and I felt like it was really interesting for DNCE to be taking on this retro tennis vibe,” Buchanan said. “They’re a band that has a lot of energy and every member brings a unique perspective. That’s the beauty of working with several people. We’re able to really talk to that younger customer in a way that we hadn’t before.”
The members of DNCE also designed their own K-Swiss shoe, with the designs slated for release some time in the first quarter.
For K-Swiss, there’s been plenty of activity in more recent months as the company’s looked to pivot to what Buchanan called K-Swiss 2.0. In January, former K-Swiss Global Brands chief marketing officer Barney Waters was made president of the K-Swiss brand. In February, the company moved from Westlake Village to downtown Los Angeles and since then has been refining its focus and positioning in the market, Buchanan said.
“We have this entrepreneur positioning,” Buchanan said. “Brands like Nike and Under Armour are [geared toward] sports and Puma and Adidas they have all the celebrities [in marketing] and so when it comes to K-Swiss we’re really doubling down with entrepreneurs and young go-getters.”
A separate campaign launching this month will feature four entrepreneurs in their 20s and early 30s. The point, Buchanan explained, is again to focus on the Millennial and Generation Z customers.
“When I was growing up or when my parents were growing, kids dreamed of being basketball players or celebrities,” he said. “But the new generation, they’re looking to be business owners and to be the boss and to create something of their own.”
DNCE frontman and famed Jonas brother Joe Jonas is no stranger to walking red carpets. And let’s be real, the dude has come a long way since scrappy skater haircuts and skinny scarves. But Jonas knows those looks were an important part of figuring out his own personal style—a journey that plays into his look for this year’s Met Gala red carpet, where he dressed in custom H&M.
“I can look back on the outfits I thought were really cool and laugh,” Jonas says. “Now, I understand how important it is to pay attention to detail and design.”
Detail and design is especially significant for a night like the Met Gala, where a specific theme guides attendees and designers. This year’s theme,Comme des Garçons’ designer Rei Kawakubo, was an exciting theme for both Jonas and H&M. Jonas’s look is a custom red silk suit with a black stripe, black lapels, and black silk shirt.
“We have a special connection to Kawakubo’s work here at H&M, having collaborated with Comme des Garçons for our 2008 designer collection,” says Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M Head of Design. “We really wanted to pay tribute to her in our own way, by focusing on themes that are always present in her work.”
For Jonas, the CDG style really came through in the color and fabric of the look.
“It has this familiarity to it, I think,” says Jonas. “It has a nice nod to the dark, mysterious feeling you see when you see Comme.”
Black, red, and silk were prominent trends on this year’s red carpet, with guys like Rami Malek, Riz Ahmed, and Future sporting similar looks.
Red carpet looks might be entertaining, but they can also be alienating—when would just anyone have the opportunity to wear full red silk tux, really? We like Jonas’s takeaway: Remember what you’re drawn to.
“There’s a specific attention to detail when it comes to a night like this,” says Jonas. “From the way guys cuff their shirts, to where their tuxedo pants fall. It’s nice to be able to see those details, understand them, and try them out yourself.”
Here are some more of our favorite looks from the night
Joe Jonas Something About SS17. You’ll know DNCE even if you think you don’t. Their debut single “Cake By The Ocean” was originally released in 2015, but is the song that keeps on giving. From constant radio play and summery advert syncs; there has barely been a moment over the last 18 months that the cheerful song hasn’t soundtracked. And even if you think you don’t know anything else about the LA four-piece, you do. Their leader is one Joe Jonas, former teen heartthrob and pop superstar for over a decade. He rose to worldwide fame as part of the Jonas Brothers, alongside his siblings Nick and Kevin, making wholesome pop-rock that earned them roles beside Miley Cyrus on Hannah Montana and their own Disney shows.
Now 27, Joe is still as capable of making whole rooms swoon with his swooped back dark hair and piercing dark eyes as when he and his brothers were household names around the world. Before the Jonas Brothers had officially split and were still on hiatus, he struck out on his own, releasing the electropop and R&B inspired solo record “Fastlife” in 2011. He’s since said he wanted it to have a “Hall & Oates meets disco-funk vibe”, but was steered by his label to work with producers who had worked with other Disney acts like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. The album was deemed a commercial failure after its release but it was a valuable lesson and gave Joe the confidence to trust his own instincts. Now, Joe is leaving his safe pop past behind him.
What do you get when you spend 10 minutes with DNCE? Spontaneous singing, weird noises, a bit of horseplay, and lots of laughter.
But first, who is DNCE? Frontman Joe Jonas has a ready answer, “Take superheroes, funk, cake, some hygiene products like toothbrushes, and a little bit of sparkles and magic dust, blend it in a blender, preferably with bourbon, and pour it into a nice tall glass with a little umbrella and pineapple. That’s us,” he said during Super’s interview with the awesome foursome before their first concert in Seoul, South Korea.
MCA Music recently flew Super to Seoul to cover DNCE’s first-ever Asian tour. We joined the band members for a traditional Korean morning meal at the Grand Walkerhill Seoul before the interview.
How they introduce themselves as individual members is no less offbeat. “Hmmm… I would say Joe is the fearless international super spy,” Cole began. “JinJoo (Lee, guitarist) is the dangerous, beautiful princess of bad attitudes–”