Being a baby is a cushy gig: you get to sleep and eat whenever you want, and doting grownups clean up all your messes. But there are downsides. Who wants to be seen in a bunny jumpsuit or listen to monstrous songs sung by a waddling purple dinosaur? Enter Nippaz with Attitude, or NWA (not to be confused with the gangsta-rap group of the same initials), a London-based firm that aims to make those formative fashion years a bit more cutting edge. Run by Ian McLaren and Ian Walker, two former record-company talent spotters, NWA sells T shirts and bibs stenciled with sayings like MAMA AIN'T RAISIN' NO FOOL!; mittens with LOVE and HATE knitted on the knuckles; and anthemic punk and hip-hop CDs, rerecorded lullaby style. McLaren launched NWA in 2001, designing gear "that me and my mates would wear, if we wore bibs and body vests." After some initial design errorshe soon discovered that CRACK BABY T shirts weren't so popularMcLaren perfected his sloganeering with declarations like IT'S GONNA END IN TEARS. The formula seems to be working: Stella McCartney, Madonna and Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke have all clad their offspring in Nippaz gear, and McLaren has received orders from as far afield as the Virgin Islands and Australia.
Meanwhile, Walker's line of punk rock lullabies is booming. In 2002, the expectant father was looking for some music his newborn son could fall sleep to, and was horrified by the choices on offer. So he set about rerecording his favorite punk tracksincluding the Clash's White Riot
and the Undertones' Teenage Kicks
as gentle instrumentals. The resulting album, Punk Rock Baby
, sold 20,000 copies around the world and made fans out of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder and Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. Walker has so far produced four follow-ups, including lullaby covers of metal classics (Rock Baby)
and rap essentials (Hip Hop Baby)
, and plans to release Country Baby
and Reggae Baby
later this year.
McLaren and Walker teamed up under the NWA banner late last year, and now sell all of their kids' stuff through www.nippazwithattitude.com. CDs cost $20, while T shirts (available in sizes up to 5 years) and body vests (in sizes up to 1 year) cost up to $32. For parents who want their kids to grow up with a little bit of grunge, it's money well spent. tel: (44-20) 8769 9844