expertly curated vintage

Recent Parsons graduate and upcycling sensation Natalie Brown mashes together vintage band tees and equally ubiquitous puffer jackets to create something wholly new.

TEXT_ ALEX HEMINWAY

PHOTOGRAPHY_ JOHN GUERRERO

STYLING_ KATELYN GRAY

HAIR_ ALLIE J 

MAKEUP_ AKIKO OWADA

MODEL_ AMELIA RAMI

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AMELIA WEARS_ PUFFER JACKET_ MADE FROM UPCYCLED BAND TEES _ NMB NEW YORK / WOOL GABARDINE BLAZER_ MARC JACOBS ARCHIVE _ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY / WOOL FLANNEL SKIRT_ JIL SANDER ARCHIVE_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY / WOOL BEANIE_ MARC JACOBS_ FW17_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY / DRESS SOCKS_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / LEATHER BROGUES_ CHURCH’S_  STYLIST'S ARCHIVE

The band tee is everywhere — in your beau's closet, in your parents’ too, on this very site — and who can walk a winter mile in Brooklyn without meeting a thousand puffers. Undeterred, Brown cuts up the former to collage the latter, an inventive take on a winter classic.

It’s not that Brown cherishes a humid memory of her first concert, or that she longs to be backstage at a Monsters-of-Rock reunion tour; rather, she was inspired by the graphic possibilities of band tees, their cacophonous imagery and text which read as forceful declarations of transgression. She is also alarmed by the shocking report that 700 gallons of water are required to produce the average t-shirt, and other grim statistics which underscore the corrosive effect of fashion on the environment. In other words she feels a responsibility to influence better practices in the industry.

Brown’s motto, “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good,” forcefully declares her intention: empowerment through fashion.

"I want people to know they look good, and I want them to own sustainable streetwear. During the pandemic I started gravitating towards sweatpants and clothes that weren’t very glamorous, and I got kind of sad. I didn’t realize the the mental effect that clothing can have on your esteem. So I started dressing up for myself even if I wasn't going anywhere, and I just generally feel happier."

NMB New York’s current collection comprises puffers, bustiers, and embroidered caps, all of which are handmade in the USA from deadstock or found materials. Brown designs, cuts, and pins everything herself, and her New York team assembles each piece. "I do want to expand my upcycled offerings,” she says, "whether puffer pants, more tops, and dresses. I think the challenge is to keep exploring."

If the aftermath of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic was the Roaring Twenties, a period of widespread prosperity and cultural exuberance, we can be forgiven for dreaming of a twenty-first century revival, a coda to our current calamity. Brown’s vital designs, noted for their sense play and unabashed loudness, read as joyful harbingers of rejuvenation. For what it’s worth, we’re ready to turn up the volume and dress up in Brown’s vision for the future.

AMELIA WEARS_ PEARL + TURQUOISE EARRINGS_ CÉLINE_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / GOLD EAR CUFFS_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / FEATHERS WORN AROUND NECK_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / PUFFER JACKET_ MADE FROM UPCYCLED BAND TEES _ NMB NEW YORK /  WOOL + SATIN BLAZER AND TUXEDO TROUSERS_ VICTORIA BECKHAM ARCHIVE_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY / SOCKS_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / SATIN SQUARE TOE HEELS_ HELMUT LANG ARCHIVE_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY

AMELIA WEARS_ GOLD CHOKER_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / PUFFER JACKET (WORN INSIDE OUT)_ MADE FROM UPCYCLED BAND TEES _ NMB NEW YORK / COTTON CANVAS TRENCH COAT_ CÉLINE ARCHIVE_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY / WOOL TROUSERS_ HAIDER ACKERMANN ARCHIVE_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY / SANDALS_ 3.1 PHILLIP LIM / STYLIST'S ARCHIVE

AMELIA WEARS_ GOLD EAR CUFFS_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / DENIM + JERSEY CORSET MADE FROM UPCYCLED BAND TEES_ NMB NEW YORK / MENS COTTON SHIRT_ DRIES VAN NOTEN_ STYLIST'S ARCHIVE / WOOL AND FEATHER SKIRT_ LANVIN ARCHIVE_ ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY

LET'S GET ROCKED_ DEF LEPPARD

DON'T STOP ME NOW_ QUEEN

SHAPE OF MY HEART_ STING

COMFORTABLY NUMB_  PINK FLOYD

ONE_ U2

BACK IN BLACK_ AC/DC

OTHERSIDE_ RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

WELCOME HOME_ METALLICA

SERVE THE SERVANTS_ NIRVANA

IT WAS A GOOD DAY_  ICE CUBE

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