Counter to the idea that “it’s just clothes,” the cultural and streetwear incubator Slam Jam has created a capsule collection that pays homage to Devo’s visionary art.
More specifically, it draws from the band’s founders’ — Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh — interpretation of the reverse evolution theory. Both camps are rooted in an assortment of creativity. For Slam Jam, an Italian organization started in 1989, that means connecting people through music, design and fashion. Known as a band and as multimedia artists, Devo was started by the two Kent State University art students Casale and Mothersbaugh in Akron, Ohio, in 1973. The post-punk musicians also embraced design and visual art, donning DIY hazmat suits and red energy dome helmets. (Think Modernist-like ridged cereal bowls.) The way they saw it, human evolution was de-evolving into its previous self — hence the name Devo. Another founding member of the group Casale’s brother Robert died in 2014.
The Slam Jam x Devo collaboration will include futuristic tributes to the band’s key outfits — a silver tracksuit and a black jacket. A black hoodie imprinted on the front with a 1977 image of Devo after a show and the Reverse Evolution print on the back is also in the mix. The garment’s hood and front pocket are made with reverse fabrics. A black intarsia knit jumper carries Devo’s ziggurat helmet logo. The Slam Jam x Devo capsule collection is being offered exclusively at Slam Jam locations and online.
Mothersbaugh, who also had a solo career, and Devo appeared on records by The Rolling Stones, Jermaine Jackson and Debbie Harry. In a 1987 interview with WWD, Mothersbaugh explained, “Devo is an idea. It’s an art project and it’s the most successful one that I’ve had in my life. But some of our methods of operating in Devo are slightly changing. For phase one of Devo, we tried to project a working unit. We were almost nameless and anonymous. Now it’s time to change that.”