New Albion sounds suspiciously like a plan conceived at the pub. It’s a sleek and timeless sports-inspired menswear line that also produces and champions zines and writing about sport.
This passion project comes from Felix Chan (co-founder of Vanishing Elephant), Marc Hendrick (founder of Das Monk), James Wright (marketing executive) and Alex Vitlin (former editor of Two Thousand). It’s a bold move for Chan, who will soon be leaving Vanishing Elephant. “I’ve been in the industry for quite a long time,” says Chan. “I'm really proud of what we built. I just needed a change both in work and environment.”
Chan established the brand in 2008 with Huw Bennet. In July he will leave creative direction to the label’s current womenswear designer, Ana Diaz. “It’s actually a project we've been working on for a year and a half,” Chan says of New Albion. “We’re pretty excited about the direction it is headed both for content and product.”
What he means is that New Albion’s website also features long-form writing. These pieces range from the absurd to the carefully contemplative. James Aviaz’s perfectly tragic tale, The Bleary Life And Happy Death Of A Solo Sports Streamer, is a good place to start. As is James Ross-Edwards’ The Tournament Of Masculinity: 20 October 2009.
Wright is New Albion’s brand director and currently devotes his fan-energy to basketball and soccer. “All of us sort of have this ‘sport tragic’ bone,” he says. “If the golf is high-stakes enough, we’ll be watching the golf. That’s what’s brought us together and sort of sparked the idea for New Albion. We’re the types that get carried away with the stories.”
Alongside monochrome outerwear and stylish tees, New Albion’s online shop has a number of print-media pieces. The Dream Team and Dead Wrestlers zines were lovingly crafted by Adam Villacin, while Barry Patenaude contributes his homages to legendary basketball showdowns. “We’re working with a couple of other illustrators as well,” says Wright. “That’s something I’m particularly excited about.” Although they’re keeping these collaborations quiet for now, New Albion will host video works in the near future.
For these four guys, sport is a profound pastime. However, New Albion feels playful. As more content goes live in coming weeks, this tone will prevail. Wright says, “We’re trying to make sure we’re still focusing on that enjoyment we get out of sport. It’s the fun and the passion and the excitement you get when you’re getting carried away… that visceral excitement is what we’re trying to expand upon.”
New Albion is stocked exclusively at Incu in Australia and Area 51 in New Zealand.