It takes a lot to impress Russell Simmons. But when the Def Jam founder's publicist tipped him off to BOOMiO, a new mobile app billing itself as a Snapchat for music, he knew they should work together. And New York Fashion Week, which officially kicks off February 11, offered the perfect opportunity. On Wednesday as Simmons unveils new looks from his preppy-meets-urban men's apparel line, Argyleculture, BOOMiO will be making its own runway debut.
Simmons felt BOOMiO, which lets users share, or "boom," full-length, licensed versions of songs to friends along with a message, would make the ideal accompaniment to the musical stylings of D-Nice, his longtime DJ of choice for the runway. BOOMiO, meanwhile, would get to work with the godfather of hip hop and hopefully leverage his following to get more exposure.
"While I've always been supportive of [startups], gearing a lot of Argyleculture's styles toward the millennial young professional that works in the startup industry, this is the first runway show where we've had such a deep integration," Simmons tells Inc. by email. No stranger to entrepreneurship himself, Simmons also teamed up with ModaBox, a fashion subscription service for women, to round out his fashion show's offerings.
Noting he's always "put women's looks in his shows," Simmons says he "got to know and appreciate" ModaBox's edgy aesthetic, and found it gelled nicely with his urban classics like slim-cut khaki pants and colorful cable knit sweaters. "There was no knocking of the heads," he says of working with ModaBox's designers, "we shared a vision."
While ModaBox flaunts its looks on the runway, BOOMiO will showcase its social sharing capabilities via its iOS app (an Android version is in the works). Fans at the show or watching online can follow along with D-Nice as he booms out his set, which Simmons assures will be as diverse as Argyleculture, ranging from 70s soul to Kanye West. "Fans will feel like they're in on the experience," says BOOMiO co-founder Bob Case.
As a 15-month-old startup with $1 million in seed funding as of December, BOOMiO, which is based in Seattle, knows it needs influencers like Simmons in order to gain traction. And with Fashion Week being held in New York, a startup hub where those influencers congregate, Case is optimistic the strategy will work.
"For us, it's exposure," he says. "It's meeting some influencers and beginning that dialogue of how can we close the loop and meet in that intersection of fashion and music."