Fashion and music have always had an intertwined history. From runways to underground bars, fashion and music have worked in tandem to mold generations of pop culture and propel icons. They color each others’ worlds in creative ways, and ideas from one often give rise to movements in the other. For this reason, fashion brands have long recruited musicians to introduce their new creations, to promote existing lines, and more importantly, to evoke emotions that only music can tap into.
Likewise, musicians use fashion to move their fanbases, differentiate their brand, and bolster their image. Combining a unique sound with a unique sense of style is how musicians evolve into icons. Recognizing this synergy, Members Only has pursued unconventional collaborations with a diverse array of musicians from different genres including mainstream pop, modern jazz, latin pop and yes, you’ve guessed it: collegiate a cappella.
Our new partners, The Pennchants, are the premier all-male a cappella group at the University of Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia-based Ivy League university. Founded in 1989 as a subgroup of the nationally acclaimed University of Pennsylvania Glee Club, The Pennchants perform a wide variety of genres: from contemporary pop and 2000’s punk, to 90’s R&B and classic rock. The group’s performance style and body of work perfectly represents Members Only’s current era: the new classic.
Inspired by the unique flair and the guilty pleasure of boy bands like *NSYNC, BTS and The Beatles, The Pennchants seek to redefine college a cappella. Members Only had the chance to sit down with the group, represented by the group’s Marketing Director Marjon Enriquez, Talking Head (President) Tiger Zhang, and new members Jack, Bean, Bauti and Andrew, for a conversation about this exciting new partnership.
MO: How did you hear about Members Only? How/when did you decide to incorporate Members Only into your group?
The Pennchants: Forrest Milburn, who was our Talking Head [Pennchants’ president] from 2015 to 2017 was mainly responsible for it. His dad had a classic Members Only bomber jacket back in college in the 80s. At the time, our uniforms were less cohesive so Forrest pushed for a rebrand. He wanted something that was true to our roots but brought a little more polish to the crew. The retro, classic look of the Members Only bomber jacket was the perfect piece to round out the white shirt, black skinny tie, jeans, and Chuck’s. And he was right.
MO: What does the Pennchants x Members Only partnership mean to you?
Marjon: It means a lot to us. For me, it’s about our groups like pushing boundaries, not just in terms of the quality of our music, but also the overall experience of being in it. There are so many possibilities and this partnership is a great example of that. The best part is that it’s truly unprecedented; I don’t think any other college a cappella group has done anything like this before. We feel honored to be part of all this, as it gives us an opportunity to represent Penn and its vibrant performing arts community in a unique way. It only started as a pipe dream, and it’s insane to think that we’re now living in it.
Tiger: For us, Members Only symbolizes growth. We’ve witnessed a significant increase in audition interest this year, with some guys exclusively auditioning for us. All our new members noted that our Members Only look is something that made us stand out as a group when they were doing their pre-audition research. We learned that paying close attention to what differentiates our brand, and being open to collaborations like this, opens many doors for us. And Members Only is just the beginning.
Photographed by: Eli Eisenstein (@swoice.jpg)
MO: What do you particularly like about having a Members Only uniform?
The Pennchants: Before the partnership started, we did some research about the company and we learned that Members Only’s vintage-era ads heavily used the infamous slogan, “When You Put It On, Something Happens.” That could not be truer. When the gang puts their jackets on, you know it’s game time — you know it, your whole crew knows it, the audience knows it.
Our favorite part is that the Iconic Racer is both the centerpiece of the uniform but also a very personal look. We give off the cohesiveness we set out to develop with this look, but the wide selection of colors gives us the flexibility for creative expression. Each member has a unique color, and it gives you an opportunity to express your personality.
Another great part is that people at Penn and other schools that we visit now recognize the jackets as part of our new signature look, with some even referring to them as “Pennchants jackets”. We’ve had random people on campus see our jackets and start shouting lyrics from our covers as we walk to performances. It was such an odd feeling, but it also gives you a sense of pride.
Photographed by: Eli Eisenstein (@swoice.jpg)
MO: How do you choose your Pennchants / Members Only colors?
The Pennchants: It’s an evolving process, but we’re big fans of our current system. Every year, we ask our new recruits to do required “readings”, which are really just a bunch of YouTube videos carefully (or carelessly?) curated by our predecessors. We then ask them to take this short exam during a rehearsal break. We would read the answers to everyone, and most of the time, they’re hilarious, and we would grade it as a group.
Whoever got the highest score got to have first pick of their jacket color. Luckily, all the members had different top picks in mind, so it all worked out in the end. When new members pick their colors, they usually try to find something that resonates with their personality or life experiences. And, most importantly, whatever they will feel the most kick-ass wearing. They each have their own reasoning and we think that’s great.
Introducing this year’s NewChants:
Jack Vernon Lee
College of Arts & Sciences '23 ♠ Sydney, Australia
Fun Fact: Jack is a professional scuba diver.
Jack’s red jacket is a nod to the desert sands of his native Australia. As an extroverted Aussie with a knack for the spotlight, Jack will be grabbing attention both with his look and vibrant personality.
Andrew Nathaniel Kim
College of Arts & Sciences '23 ♥ Fairfax, VA
Fun Fact: Andrew once ate a Costco-sized bag of trail mix (like 1.5 gallons worth) in a single sitting.
Reason: Andrew will be the first to tell you, you can’t go wrong with black. Opting for the most classic color you can choose, Andrew plans to get use from his look both on and off the stage.
Evan "Bean" Bean
Engineering '23 ♦ Trumbull, CT
Major: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Fun Fact: Both Evan and his dad were born on Friday the 13th.
Reason: Slate is the kind of color you can wear both to a party and meeting your date for drinks. As a man who can pull of a suit with sneakers, Evan likes his jackets for being formal yet cool and built for any occasion. He’s even worn it to an interview.
Juan Bautista "Bauti" Gallino
Wharton '23 ♣ Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fun Fact: Bauti has three brothers with the same name as him. Also, he can touch his tongue to his nose.
Reason: Bauti chose his jacket color because it felt like home. Being from Argentina, the hue reminds him a lot of mountains that look like the wheat color. He also wanted a more laid-back color to suit his laid-back personality, and the wheat is just the right balance of classic but understated.