Punk rock, grunge, rebellion, studs, and spikes are the necessary ingredients in the most heavy-duty leather jackets. So says D.N.A. designer and street “phreak” (his words, not ours) Noel Austin. We recently had the pleasure of meeting with the bedazzler himself to talk music scenes and fashion, and “eco-wrecked” or sustainable gear. It surprise you to know that beneath the tattoo-coated surface and the haphazardly placed piercings, this guy makes even Christmas cookies appear tart.
Austin grew up on the streets, or rather, the hills of Eastern Washington amid the punk rock scene of the late '80s, and fell in with like-minded types looking to survive and build a scene.
“It was a lifestyle,” says Austin. "Our studded leather jackets were our armor.” But not, it would seem their protection from the area's bitter winters. The jackets, and the look, were just too ragged, torn, and perforated. But the aesthetic did protect Austin and his friends from conventionalists and manufactured fashion.
After custominzing gear for friends and traveling rock bands, the studding hobbyist made a career out of it.
“The process has always been meditative for me: searching for recycled jackets and materials, attaching the studs, sewing on the patches. It’s part of who I am, and that’s seen in every jacket,” he says.
While Austin's work takes metal and customized leather to a place that isn't right for your average Nordstrom Rewards Card carrier, it's no doubt a part of the larger family that includes Alexander McQueen biker boots, studded Givenchy heels, and those Hermes bracelets. Right? Let's just take a miute to recall Burberry Prorsum's spring/summer 2011 collection. Austin's pieces tell such a unique story—one, perhaps, of our inner defiant child.
DNA designs are available online and by custom order, so if your wardrobe needs some toughening up but the ready-made looks are a little too much, consider having your own leather or denim pieces deconstructed and reconstructed into a quieter but no less current statement of chic rebellion.
But you’ll have to wait in line, we’re first.
Abiola Akanni is a guest blogger at Seattle Met; her blog is called Bora Bora Style.