Men’s fashion retailer, Noah, have released a new collaboration with British new wave band New Order. It’s a strange collaboration at first glance for sure. New Order haven’t exactly been the most relevant band in either music or fashion for some time. But co-founder and lead designer, Brendon Babenzien, finds inspiration in exactly this kind of band. Influential, artistic, important, and almost irrelevant.
“The process is really simple… with t-shirts, the graphics represent something culturally. I set the goals very high for us, because we have to be funny, clever, and intelligent. They also have to relate to us, because I’m not setting out to necessarily be aggressive.”
The graphics in this new collection certainly represent something culturally. Bebenzien grew up with bands like New Order and part of his design philosophy is bringing the past into the present because it isn’t like the art and music stopped being good, it just got old. Reminders of these kind are what helps keeps culture alive. Many kids might not realise the influence that bands like New Order have had on modern music and art. Without New Order you don’t get LCD Soundsystem or Radiohead.
“I don’t want to abandon things that look good. We can take things symbolic of a certain lifestyle and reappropriate them. The same way youth culture has always taken traditional clothing and made it punk. You don’t want to leave good things behind; you just have to reinvent how people think about them.”
If this is what Noah are trying to achieve than it is safe to say that they have succeeded. New Order definitely haven’t been forgotten, especially in their home country, but they aren’t exactly the hottest band with the kids right now. Not that they’ve been trying to be but now a few kids might discover this band and who knows, maybe become fans themselves. If you’ve ever been in a bar and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ comes on, you’ll notice a large portion of people of all ages start singing along. Young people aren’t stupid, they know what’s good no matter the age.
New Order also have plenty of artistic material for the team at Noah to work with. The art for most of their albums and singles were done by graphic designer Peter Saville. Saville was inspired by the new wave movement because of its dramatic emergence and evolution from punk. New wave is something almost completely different from its origins in punk but simultaneously cannot be separated from it.
Not unlike Bebenzien, who took streetwear and skater style into a preppy direction whilst still retaining that skater punk foundation with Noah. The art and the clothing become part of the same philosophy and thus become something worthwhile and interesting.
The art Bebenzien has selected from New Order’s vast gallery has been the albums Technique and Substance, and the single Sub-Culture. There are others but these make prominent appearances.
The collection isn’t as aggressive as punk. Much like the music it’s taking inspiration from, the art is minimal and sombre.
The team at NOAH said of the collaboration,
“As a band, they made timeless music – but that’s only part of why they mean so much to us. They’ve had a long and lasting influence on music, nightlife, and culture and showed how big the creative act could be. Watching New Order succeed, on their own terms, gave us the courage to make our own path.”