Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O and her Aussie Connection

It was an Instagram post by lead singer Amy Taylor from Amyl and the Sniffers wearing Wah-Wah Studio’s psychedelic knitwear that caught the attention of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s front woman Karen O – and the rest is a sartorial one-off collaboration that salutes the band’s Fever to Tell ­ album which just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

“Amy was rocking a sweater on her socials and I was blown away. She looked amazing. I went online and bought a Wah Wah Studio Sonic Youth band knit because of it, and the designer saw me wearing it and got in touch,” says Karen Orzolek.

When Sydney designer Kaylene Milner reached out to the LA- based singer, she wanted to merge their punk verses as effortlessly as she could – the result is a psych riff on the band’s iconic sound and Milner’s affection for bold typography.

Milner has built a cult following for her chaotic knits and takes sartorial cues from comic books, gig posters and her favourite album covers; many items sell out all thanks to social media hype.

Wah Wah Studio is a chance for Milner to pay homage to her favourite punk bands – the rest is a kick out the jams hyper-textile adventure. Her knitwear is 100% sustainable and has scored some loyal followers in comedian Noel Fielding and Taika Waititi.

“When Kaylene reached out and asked if I wanted to collaborate, I thought why not,” said Orzolek. “I wouldn’t trust too many people to do this for us to be honest, but our people were so excited about got onto it right away.”

When the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s emerged in New York in the early 2000s, social media hook-ups weren’t a thing. If Karen O could turn back time, she’d bring Instagram into her life sooner – if for the mere fact to get in touch with peers; a phenomenon she missed out on when she started playing in bands.

“I didn’t have that resource coming up as a female front woman for my entire youth, and I would have done anything to be able to message my idols like PJ Harvey or Debbie Harry,” says Karen O.

“The upside is that social media has allowed me to connect with a new generation of front women in the music industry which I am so grateful for. I am making new friends in life and I never thought it would all take place online,” she said.

“It means that when Amy [Taylor] comes to LA, we hang out and it’s as simple as sending a DM. She was around at the time of the Grammy’s earlier this year, and came to the after party with the band. We had a good time,” she said.

Karen O first saw Amy Taylor when touring with Brooklyn punks Surfbort just before the pandemic. That band is fronted by the equally pedal to the metal front woman Dani Miller.

“Next thing I know they’re both Gucci muses for Alessandro Michele’s campaign in 2019.  They were featured in a Gucci Pre-Fall campaign and I was like who are these women, they are incredible,” said Orzolek.

“They’re punk rockers and luxury fashion faces. Amy has a real Cherie Curie look about her [from the Runaways] and then I got totally addicted to their music. I love their latest Comfort to Me. I would have done anything to have friends like them in my early days in the biz. There’s something totally infectious about finding your people these days.”

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