Married duo KOLARS features Rob Kolar on guitar and vocals and Lauren Brown on drums. While those titles might sound simple, KOLARS play their unique blend of 70s glam rock, 90s grung and twangy country with every inch of their body. As part of the glam-folk bank He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Kolar and Brown played everywhere from Bonnaroo to late night TV. (Fun fact: Kolar also scores the TBS show The Detour.) Now, the duo is about to tour once more, bringing their new self-titled album around the U.K. and U.S.
Paste caught up with KOLARS to talk about their style evolutions—from ringer tees and polos to Patricia FIeld and John Waters.
Paste: When did you first start caring about style?
Rob Kolar: Around 5, I used to dress in a cape, a cap with a giant 3D frog coming out of it and carried a sword. As I got older, I used to raid my mums closet and use her leggings and other stuff to create futuristic super hero costumes. Now, I paint or accessorize a lot of my clothes cause there’s not a lot of exciting men’s fashion out there right now.
Lauren Brown: I think I’ve loved fashion since the very beginning… but I think my ‘blossom’ phase in 3rd grade really took it to the next level.
Paste: Did anyone in your family influence your taste in clothes?
Kolar: My grandma Jennifer who we called Omah always wore very vibrant outfits and created a style indicative of her personality. She was from Jamaica so maybe that influenced her look. I always liked the idea of finding a style to match your “vibe” and character. Not so much what is in trend or fed to the masses, but what speaks to the kind of person you are.
Brown: My mother is very much like that as well-dress in what makes you happy vs what’s trendy. She has her very own ‘Shelley B Style’ and her individuality (and her confidence in it) is a huge inspiration.
Paste: Do you dress for yourself or for others?
Brown: Myself mostly, but I like it when Rob thinks I look good…
Paste: How does the way you dress in day to day live differ from how you dress on stage?
Kolar: Sometimes it isn’t that different. On stage, we definitely elevate and add more sequins and metallics to refract and reflect the lights and try and add another texture to the show. As the profile of the band continues to get larger we will incorporate more fashion choices and probably dial our makeup even more.
Paste: What is the relationship between music and fashion?
Kolar: They’ve been seeing each other for a while but maybe it’s time for music to get a little more expressive with its feelings.
Paste: What’s the worst style trend that you ever embraced?
Kolar: Oh, man. I once dyed my hair black. Then bleached the tips. Then dyed those red.
Brown: I did something similar [ Laughs]! One morning before school I wanted to dye my hair red (very last minute decision) so I put a bunch of red food coloring on my head. It rained that day so that dye eventually ended up everywhere-looked like a horror movie.
Paste: What’s your go to summer outfit?
Kolar: Nude when possible.
Brown: Even though they are shitty, I’m addicted to flip flops.
Paste: What movie, TV show, music video, etc. had the best style?
Kolar: I always loved the whimsical, slightly goth and playfully dark look of early Tim Burton films like Beetlejuice or Edward Scissor Hands. Also love John Waters imagery and style in his films. Clockwork Orange has always been an influence and it’s interesting to see the interpretation of the future in films like Blade Runner, Mad Max, Fifth Element and Hunger Games.
Brown: I love all of these so much! I’ll add one to the pile—Sex & The City. Patricia Field is a God. I used to shop at her store all the time when I lived in NYC.
Paste: How did the kids dress in high school when you were growing up?
Kolar: My crew of friends had a sort of “Empire Records” vibe. Ringer tees. Thrift store rags. We used to shop at aardvarks and thrift stores a lot. We were sort of the punk ska alternative kids listening to Operation Ivy and The Ramones and Bouncing Souls, etc. Some kids went full on punk with Mohawks and stuff. Some kids were super prep. Some kids were kind of raver. Some were skaters. Guess it was a pretty typical American public school mix.
Brown: My friends and I in high school did not dress well. I came from a preppie town in Massachusetts, and as far as fashion goes, the idea was to look good but blend in. Having your own style that could cause you to stand out was a scary prospect. Then I got to college and said ‘fuck it.’
Paste: Why do you think fashion is important on a larger cultural level (if you do)?
Kolar: I think it can help people discover their identity and inspire others to do the same. Fashion has also become an amazing way for humans to embody their sexuality, their tastes, their sophistication, humor and many other expressions. Fashion is a reflection of where we are in social history and represents the mood in our culture at any given time.