J. Crew has tapped Brendon Babenzien — co-owner of Noah and former design director of Supreme — as its new Men's creative director. His first collection is expected to debut in the second half of 2022.
Per the brand's statement, Babenzien is set to work alongside Libby Wadle, chief executive officer of J. Crew Group. They will work together to “redefine the iconic brand merging the vitality and creativity of today’s style subcultures with an innovative appreciation of classic men’s wear.”
Talking to WWD, Babenzien explained, “My work at Supreme and Noah has really prepared me more for the business side of things — understanding merchandising and having a good handle on product development and timelines. But beyond that, what has really prepared me for this position is my personal life. I’ve been a lifelong J. Crew customer and my personal style is rooted in American culture, which is forever evolving. I’ve lived through so many moments in American culture that have informed where we are today — for example, ’80s preppy and the rise of skate and surf as a culture and eventually an industry."
As for what Babenzien will bring to J. Crew, he says the focus is on evolution rather than reinvention. He's also going to be working on hooking up some solid brand collabs, too.
“I think people can expect us to increase third-party brand relationships alongside relevant collaborations, particularly in outerwear and footwear," he said. "My history is filled with brand partnerships, so naturally, I’ll bring my knowledge and experience with me. I will take the same creative approach to partnerships that I’ve pursued for years so I think you can expect to see music, film, and even literary collaborations. I don’t think there are necessarily any limits to brands collaborating as long as both parties take an honest approach and genuinely want to work together to create something incredible.”
For those unaware of Babenzien's career trajectory — just know that it has been a long and notable one. He worked alongside his friend Don Busweiler in the early ’90s on the brand Pervert before landing the gig with Supreme, where he then stayed for around 15 years. After that, he launched Noah and worked with Pharrell Williams' on Billionaire Boys Club’s high-end line, Bee Line. Find out more about Babenzien here.