Fashioning their brands
Noir Lune and Ravish clothing create and expand.
May 10, 2016
He always had an eye for fashion. For as long as he can remember, Josh Hodge has cared about his clothing.
“As soon as I learned how to dress myself I would look at old baby photos as a kid and think, ‘What’d I have on?’” Hodge said.
Although clothing influenced him growing up, Hodge wouldn’t pursue fashion until years later. Hodge created and currently owns the enterprising brand Noir Lune.
After graduating from Redan High School in 2010, Hodge fought the tired inertia of a recent graduate and began experimenting with Photoshop. Simple logos turned to 3D design as he moved to Adobe Illustrator, a professional graphic design software.
“I started doing some 3D stuff, and I thought, ‘I like fashion, [so] I should try and start a clothing line,’” Hodge said.
Hodge’s brand developed its own identity, inspired by the memories of his youth.
As a kid, Hodge was fascinated with a telescope his mom bought him, which led to his fascination with the moon, hence the ‘Lune’ in ‘Noir Lune.’
A French class Hodge took when he began college helped him discover the ideal name for his proposed brand.
“I came up with Black Moon and then Lune Noir. I put an American twist to it and made it Noir Lune,” he said.
He grew the brand single-handedly by designing, printing and distributing his products independently.
“I do all my own artwork, my own videos,” Hodge said. “The only thing I need help with is music, but I know a lot of producers.”
Creating music gives Hodge an outlet to express more than the spatial intelligence necessary to create clothing. While Hodge may use music to take a break, fashion and music are co-dependent in Hodge’s eyes and crucial to becoming a rounded and “whole” artist.
“Everything goes hand in hand. Music goes with fashion. Fashion goes with music,” he said.
Although Hodge created Noir Lune on his own, his best friend, Timothy Caraway, inspired him and his creative thinking process.
Through their companionship, the the pair was willing to experiment, and their close proximity in their workspace drove them to create.
“We would think of designs, then start playing music, then all of a sudden we would turn it into an art studio, then maybe another day a music studio and have all our musician friends over,” Caraway said. “We fed off each other’s work and helped each other out with little tips and advice.”
Caraway bounced from high school to high school, from the city of Philadelphia to Columbia High in Decatur and eventually to Redan, where he met Hodge his senior year. Caraway remembers Hodge as a “bit of a hardass,” but the duo clicked and began a friendship.
Little did they realize that Caraway would become Hodge’s best friend and design partner.
Hodge taught Caraway what he knew about the design and clothing world and helped him launch his own small collection of flannels and jeans.
The two brought different elements to the table, fueling their own ventures. Together they were Hodge, the focused designer, and Caraway, who Hodge constantly reminded to “get back to work.” Although they don’t work in the same space anymore, the dynamic continues.
“Currently, we are upset with each other, but that happens all the time,” Caraway said. “He always digs at me for not being focused enough. Right now he’s mad because he said I flaked on him.”
Caraway has since moved away from clothing to focus on other pursuits – specifically creating short films – but their bond remains strong.
Before Caraway came into the picture, Hodge didn’t know what direction he would take his brand, but he knew he wasn’t interested in “preppy” or “simple” fashion.
Virgil Abloh, founder of the brand Pyrex (now Off-White), inspired Hodge’s grungy yet modern sensibilities.
“It wasn’t meant to be grungy at first, but I found myself really loving the grungy, distressed look,” Hodge said. “So I started distressing and making my own clothes.”
Hodge himself has aspirations outside of the brand, although the brand remains a central focus. Noir Lune veers further into art than just fashion. Just like Caraway, Hodge wants to expand into more than just clothing.
“I’m trying to get into art. I’m trying to get my proportions right, they’re too crazy,” he said. “I wanna get into landscape art too, but that’s a whole other world.”
Going into the whole other world can be strenuous on the budget.
“I put a lot of money into it. Some shirts I break even, and sometimes I make a little profit,” Hodge said.
While inconveniences arise, Hodge puts the money second and focuses on his aspirations.
“Every day is a challenge when working with a clothing brand.” Hodge said. “It might just pop up whenever, you having a brand and no one knowing about it. All you can do is expand.”
Expand he does. Hodge just recently met with the prominent brand called 10.Deep clothing with hopes of beginning a collaboration. The arrangement would help Noir Lune gain crucial revenue and let 10. Deep stay current by partnering with young brands.
As Noir Lune continues to grow, Hodge strives to surpass his mentors and create a successful brand name. At Decatur, smaller brands are just starting out.
Ravish began spontaneously two years ago when close friends seniors Brandon Byars and Keenen McGinnis started brainstorming names in Byars’ living room.
“We sat there for like two days, and one day, Keenen came up with Ravish,” Byars said.
The time and work constraints, paired with procrastination, have made it difficult for the young duo to spring their label off the ground. Currently, they are trying to perfect their work before presenting it to a greater audience.
The world of fashion functions in close succession with a plethora of creative pursuits. The pair plan to introduce not only clothing, but music, movies, as well as short videos utilizing their respective strengths.
Byars, whose friends call him “Pieman,” focuses on the technical and more literal aspects of the clothing part of their brand. Byars learned to sew mainly through necessity, but his need turned into a desire to produce, which he currently applies to Ravish.
“My jeans were hella baggy, and I wasn’t really liking them, so I went to a tailor, and she charged me like 30 dollars for something simple,” Byars said. “I didn’t even like the way she did it, so I got my friend to teach me, and I developed my skill,” Byars said. “Over time, I got more skilled, and Keenen even let me work on his jeans recently.”
Resourcefulness resides supreme among the two. McGinnis, through tedious efforts, has become proficient using his pirated copy of Fruity Loops studio, a digital audio workstation, and a ripped copy of Photoshop.
McGinnis is currently working on a brief video to show off their clothing vision He wants to encompass a broad spectrum of design, branching out into an “empire.”
The brand is expects to release their clothes soon, having had their first shoot highlighting t-shirts as well as pants. Byars has reservations about selling anything quite yet.
“I just did a logo shirt, but I ended up not liking the logo. I’m going to show it off, but I’m not going to release it [to the public] yet because I’m not really feeling it,” Byars said “I want it to set our brand apart.”
Young and young adult, experienced and inexperienced, both sets of friends are encountering the tribulations of the business and financial world. Hodge and Caraway and McGinnis and Byars are making their mark on the world, one stitch at a time