Opshop style passes the test of time

THE MAN IN BLACK: Jason Kerrison prefers to keep his wardrobe simple.
THE MAN IN BLACK: Jason Kerrison prefers to keep his wardrobe simple.

Jason Kerrison reckons he's got the best seat at the best show in New Zealand right now.

Currently on our screens on Sunday night as a New Zealand's Got Talent judge, Opshop's lead singer says he has been amazed by the number of talented Kiwis who have competed for the title.

The show goes into the semifinals this week. "Over the course of the series, I've developed a real appreciation for talents other than music. You become quite passionate about it," says the 39-year-old musician.

For a guy who is used to grabbing a black outfit from his wardrobe each day, Kerrison is now having to deal with being dressed by a TVNZ stylist.

That's a change, because when he chooses his own outfits, he is usually in head-to-toe black. Even his Safari station wagon is a black hue, although he laughs "it's more like a bleached grey these days".

"The TVNZ stylist does listen to my preferences, but sometimes she'll show up with something that's not ideal. Once she wanted me to wear a checked shirt, and I'm not good with checks, but a checked shirt was the one clean thing in my wardrobe that morning so I couldn't really say no. But when I see myself on screen, you can see I'm not comfortable."

"I'm wearing black jeans and a black shirt right now. I feel comfortable in that. I'm a pragmatic, utilitarian guy. Black is usually easier to keep clean too," says Kerrison, who is also a member of the newer band, The Babysitter's Circus, which is about to release its debut album.

Black is our national colour, but it became Opshop's stage uniform by default when the band first formed almost a decade ago.

"We've all got such different backgrounds, and we'd come together in our work clothes and we had to have a colour to align forces. Everyone had black trousers and shirts, so that became our stage uniform."

Kerrison says he is currently working on more Opshop tunes, and hopes to go off on a new tangent - think Violent Femmes meets (country singer) Glen Campbell. "Sort of brooding, energetic tunes," he says.

PERSONAL STYLE: Anti-cookie-cutter chic first and ideally but second and probably more real is black and clean, usually. And third? Dressed by others.

EARLIEST FASHION MEMORY: Standing on a coffee table in our lounge in Invercargill on my 5th birthday wearing grey shorts, a grey shirt, brown sandals, and a brown leather satchel. Sandals, in Invercargill. Then I was ritualistically paraded around for all to see, as it was my first day at school. It still aches deep inside. Kids have it good these days. Imagine trying to wear a Spidey or Batman outfit back then. One word: ostracised.

A WOMAN ALWAYS LOOKS GOOD IN . . . Whatever makes her feel ebullient, lit up and vital.

LATEST FASHION BUY: A Beatles T-shirt I bought from an outdoor market in Phuket last month: 400 baht.

WORST FASHION MOMENT: Turning up at St Bede's mufti day at the age of 14. I experienced an awakened sense of self when I realised almost everybody in the school was wearing moleskins, denim shirts and loafers, but I was wearing camo army fatigues and Dr Martens. Actually that might have been my best fashion moment. I discovered I was quite happy to be a non-conformist that day.