If after just one year of business, you’re setting up shop at Dover Street Market, you’re obviously doing something right. However, with respect to NOAH, ‘right’ does not even begin to do justice to the imprint that this label has made in such a short amount of time. Over the past twelve months, the New York based brand has already cemented itself as a streetwear heavyweight, and their latest collection shows just why.
With former Supreme creative director, Brendan Babenzian at the helm, it is clear that Noah is no stranger to the world of streetwear. However, the brand feels different to many of its skate-centric contemporaries. Babenzian states: ‘we don’t want people to buy [Noah] because it’s cool, or because a magazine said it’s cool. We want people to connect with it in a real way.’ Accordingly, Noah seeks to avoid the short-lived hype that so many other streetwear labels pander to: countering the standoffish nature of brands of this kind, and instead creating a far more welcoming appeal. It almost feels as if Noah offers a matured outlook on streetwear, yet very much maintaining the energetic elements of the skate and surf culture in which it finds its roots.
The Fall/Winter collection of this year proves testament to just that. Growing up in Long Island, Babenzian spent endless hours of his childhood skating at petrol stations, and surfing the local waters, whilst also taking a keen interest in sports. It is clear to see that this upbringing has shaped much of Noah, as we know it today. Whilst these two sub-cultures seem fairly disparate, Babenzian doesn’t see them as separate, but as strangely coexisting entities – his Fall/Winter collection encompassing this harmony. Finding inspiration from both the coast and college, the collection provides an eclectic offering of preppy, but practical garments in familiar silhouettes, but often with an unexpected twist. Ranging from corduroy suits and teddy wool varsity jackets to windbreakers and thermals, this collection really has it all. What perhaps distinguishes Noah from its contemporaries, is its focus on textiles, and fabric – the reasons for this, twofold: firstly, the desire for longevity that hasn’t usually been associated with the streetwear industry, and secondly, purely for functional purposes. Babenzian states: ‘[Life is] really about going out and doing stuff. And being connected to the world around you, not just looking good’. This philosophy is particularly refreshing from a subset of the fashion industry that has historically told you what’s cool, and what’s not. Babenzian, through Noah, is saying – do you’re thing, and don’t care what other people think. Admittedly, life isn’t about just looking good, but if you’re wearing Noah, you can guarantee that you will. Shop the AW16 collection at SSENSE, and check out our introduction to David Obadia's imprint, Harmony, here.
Written by: George