Interview with Brendon Babenzien (Founder of Noah)

Interview with Brendon Babenzien (Founder of Noah)

Is there a certain place you feel the most creative or come up with the best ideas?

I think it’s less about a place and more a state of mind. I find that when I relax and clear my head I get the new ideas coming in. So by default it often happens when I run or surf. At those moments I’m not really thinking about anything so nothing is blocking new thoughts.

We’re grateful to be one of the handful of retailers that carry the Noah brand. How do you see the brand evolving in the future and what are your hopes/aspirations for it?

The hopes and aspirations are for it or just evolve. There isn’t really an end goal. My hope I suppose is that we continue to get better at what we do. Make a better product. Influence our industry more to be more responsible. Reach more people to evolve our consumer behaviors. Donate more to environmental protections and education. If we continue to do all of those things we’re a success.

What is your favorite piece from this collection?

Oh man that’s never easy. I guess the easiest way to make a decision is to choose the thing I don’t have and can use in lots of ways over time. In that case, I’d choose the cashmere sport coat. It’s super casual but the nature of the cloth which is from arguably one of the best if not the best cashmere makers in the world makes it also sophisticated. It can be worn almost as outerwear because the cashmere is warm. It’s unconstructed so can be a layering piece or it can be worn as a simple sport coat a bit more dressed up.   I love the utilitarian nature of it.

Favorite place to eat in the city?


Yankees or Mets?

Neither. I struggle with baseball. But forced to choose I’d have to say Mets. I’ll always choose the underdog.

Skate culture is raw and unapologetic, how do you translate this into creating such a sophisticated end product?

I think sophistication transcends aesthetic. True sophistication rises above what you’re wearing. It’s how you think, the choices you make. Being a skateboarder is in and of itself a creative endeavor. Skateboarders by their very nature historically break down the walls of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior, and that applies to what you wear as well. What I make is just an extension of one skateboarder's reality. My reality and the reality of those around me. Not worrying about how it’s perceived is the most honest thing you can do, which is the most punk thing you can do.

What would you consider crucial steps in your daily routine?

Crucial steps for me is doing some form of activity to start the day.  The easiest thing to do is go running. It clears my head and helps expel any nervous energy I might start the day with. After that, music is absolutely essential when working. It’s a massive part of what influences me creatively.

We've been long-time fans of your work even from the beginning with Supreme, are there any big takeaways from your time there that have stuck with you or that you apply to your own brand?

Don’t listen to outside influences.

5 things you can’t live without?

My family. Music. Access to the ocean. Food and water. Oxygen.

Noah is rooted in skate culture and has a team of their own. How does one make the skate team? What are the core principles you look for in someone who represents the brand? Would you yourself have made the team in your early years?

The skate team is more about the people and their approach to life than if they are the best in the world. We look for individuals who are truly individuals. People who have a genuine desire to create and don’t follow the standards even within their own community. We’re drawn to free thinkers.  With that criteria I would have made the team I hope. My skating certainly wouldn’t have gotten me there.

What brands inspire you today and why?

I don’t generally get inspired by brands as much as bigger ideas. I’m mostly inspired by people who are fiercely independent. But brands I respect are Wales Bonner. Maria McManus. Patagonia. Union.  Super different approaches but all operate in a way I believe to be in support of who they truly are.

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