By Paddy Fallon

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people in a state of uncertainty, the government’s stay-at-home order has allotted time for artists to hone their craft. In light of this new Renaissance period, San Juan Capistrano native Nick Iavarone and Australian Xavier Di Petta wrote and produced a song that would change their lives. The duo released the first single off their EP Liquid Powder under the stage name PARTY SHIRT, and the pair watched as their debut single “Dancing Tonight” hit No. 1 on the TikTok pop chart. Since then, the song has been featured in more than 50,000 TikTok videos and has accumulated more than 200 million views. Put simply: the song went viral, and we are now officially living in the PARTY SHIRT era. 

San Juan Capistrano native Nick Iavarone (left) and Australian Xavier Di Petta are viral sensations as the entertainment duo PARTY SHIRT. Photo: Deanie Chen.

Before topping the TikTok pop chart, PARTY SHIRT was born when Di Petta (“X”) and Iavarone (“Ivy”) met in a USC dorm room in the summer of 2016. The two music producers immediately knew they wanted to work together after bonding over a mutual appreciation for music, acting, and fashion. They set out to build a multidimensional brand that could encompass all of their shared passions, and PARTY SHIRT was the result. With their versatile and polymathic approach, X and Ivy embody the DIY ethos of the 21st century artist: they produce SNL-inspired skits that get hundreds of thousands of views; they model for established apparel brands including Von Dutch; they write catchy electronic music for a devoted following; and they do it all from their tiny Hollywood apartment across the street from Rock & Roll Ralphs. 

While music is the foundation of PARTY SHIRT, it is the unique chemistry and synergistic relationship between X and Ivy that separates them from the rest. Xavier Di Petta is a serial entrepreneur from Shepparton, Australia who has been featured in “The 15 Smartest Teens on the Planet” by Forbes and “Top 25 Under 20” by The Times for his precocious advertising career that began in his early teens. Iavarone, meanwhile, balanced academic and athletic pursuits before committing to music production full-time. He had been enrolled in Whittier College to play lacrosse, but left when his college advisor informed him that the school did not recognize electronic music as an art form within their music program.

The idea to make comedy sketches for Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok came when PARTY SHIRT’s cinematographer, Pedro Camargo, watched as their friend, David Dobrik, rose to fame for his YouTube videos with the “Vlog Squad.” X and Camargo watched as Dobrik became an established star in Hollywood, and recognized the power of social media engagement and viral content. PARTY SHIRT’s blend of original music production and sketch comedy content have quickly established them as social media powerhouses with a rare capacity to achieve virality.

Paddy Fallon is a writer based in Los Angeles.

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