The Rolling Stones chose to wear Buddhist Punk for its 40 Licks tour. Now teens are catching on.
LONDON — Elizabeth Jagger, Leah Wood and the Richards sisters, Theodora and Alexandra, might aspire to their mothers’ glamour, but it’s their fathers’ closets they’ll soon be raiding.
That’s because the The Rolling Stones members have chosen the London-based men and women’s street label, Buddhist Punk, to supply their wardrobe for their current 40 Licks worldwide tour.
Washed out, weathered and worn may be the Stones’ signature look, but its clientele is anything but. Customers include Sarah Jessica Parker, Shakira, Mya and Natalia Vodianova, as well as Johnny Depp, Lionel Richie, The Foo Fighters and musical duo The Neptunes.
“Our natural affinity to the passion, rhythm and pure emotion of music through our designs has connected very well with our followers,” Nicholas Morley, the label’s founder and co-designer, said in an interview.
As for the name, Morley hit on Buddhist Punk after using it to describe a friend a couple of years before launching the label in fall 2000. It has become his working mantra.
“Imagine what happens when the most centered and freeing religion of the East blends with the most reckless and freeing movement of the West,” he said. “This is Buddhist Punk.”
For fall, there are chunky knits, dresses made from rayon and suede, cotton T-shirts in soft, muted tones and worn-in sweatpants.
Most pieces are enlivened with bold prints, some using bleach, Day-Glo or neon graffiti. Detailing includes spiderweb shoulder straps, embroidery, beading and ruching. Bestsellers each season are T-shirts that start at $95. Dresses and jackets range in retail price from $239 to $398.
Wholesale sales of the fall collection were about $1.6 million.
Mick Jagger, an avid Buddhist Punk fan, initially approached Morley and his partner, Rupert Meaker, founder of the Savile Row bespoke tailor, Richard Anderson, in 2002. At the time, Jagger asked them to design stage clothes for him and guitarist Keith Richards.
Jagger later asked them to outfit the entire band and create a line of merchandise to be sold on tour and in stores worldwide.
“From the moment I saw Buddhist Punk I thought that they would be perfect to work with on the tour,” Jagger said in a statement. “Handmade with its own character, each piece seems to have its own sense of life.”
Morley has designed two lines for the Rolling Stones capsule collection so far, with London-based designer Adam Entwistle.
The first line launched in fall 2002 with a fashion show held during Los Angeles’ fashion week. The second line will be rolled out this fall. Morley and Entwistle relied heavily on the Stones’ archive for inspiration for new iconography. The result is a combination of signature looks from Buddhist Punk and the Rolling Stones.
Buddhist Punk’s coat of arms design is used, as is the Rolling Stones tongue print — complete with fangs for extra bite. Psychedelic portraits of the band performing live are printed on T-shirts, vests and dresses. Prices range from $95 to $111. There are also two surfboard designs in a limited edition, sporting the coat of arms emblem and licking tongue.
Buddhist Punk also has customized pieces for U2’s Bono, Prodigy and Natalie Imbruglia.
In keeping with his design aesthetic, the Melbourne-born designer has made homes in Bali and New York, combining spiritual sanctuary with fast-paced living.
The label has more than 300 wholesale accounts worldwide, including Fred Segal, Tracey Ross and Theodore in Los Angeles, Surface to Air in Paris and Dantone in Milan.