In just over two years, Noah has established itself as a brand for a new type of consumer—one who is extremely conscious of what they buy, and more importantly, what they're buying into. Noah has built its fanbase through its radical transparency about its prices, taking a strong stance on environmental issues, and being unafraid of voicing its opinion on politics, like making a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and a hurricane relief tee, and donating the proceeds to charitable organizations. It also focuses on encouraging its wearers to live active lifestyles. Founder Brendon Babenzien doesn't just make clothes to be bought and preserved like a museum piece; he wants them to be lived in and worn out.
Take for example, Noah's NYC marathon-timed collaboration with independent running gear manufacturer Tracksmith. But beyond graphic-oriented hoodies, tees, and curved-brim baseball caps, Noah also makes a lot of classic menswear staples like moleskin peacoats, pleated trousers, and recycled cashmere sweaters. This season, Brendon Babenzien is showing a fully-fleshed out vision of how he sees the suit.
In the past, he's dabbled in coordinating sport coats and trousers, but he's using his new collaboration with prestigious online shop MR PORTER as a platform to go deeper on Noah's philosophy on tailored garms.
"I think today young people think of suits as for work or weddings," says Brendon Babenzien, founder of Noah. "We like to think of them as just another option and the individual can decide how to use it."
Noah's suiting comes in fabrics like a wool/twill chalk stripe double-breasted suit, a light donegal tweed single-breasted suit, and a wool/cashmere houndstooth sport coat. It's pricey, but by no means at the level of dyed-in-the-wool Italian tailoring labels like Brunello Cucinelli or Isaia, but it hits the notes any self-respecting menswear nerd would like.The jackets are slightly unstructured and cropped, and feature a floating canvas in the chest, a detail suit enthusiasts will love, while ensuring more casual wearers that over time, it will mold to your body—whether you wear it over a hoodie or a spread-collar shirt.
"We are not trying to compete in the suit game," continues Babenzien. "We just want to show people a suit can be whatever you want it to be and can be fun."
MR PORTER Buying Manager Sam Lobban stopped by the Noah store, where we got him and Brendon Babenzien to talk about the collaborative collection, the inspiration behind it, and the idea behind wearing a suit because you want to, not have to. You can watch their interview in the video above.
The 20-piece capsule collection spans the diverse spectrum of Noah's classic menswear and sportswear references. There's an exclusive logo T-shirt in light blue, and a colorblocked jersey hoodie. Both are adorned with the logo paying homage to the cross of the knights templar. There's also an exclusive navy blue rugby shirt (a more pared down interpretation compared to the label's recent collaborative version with N*E*R*D*), brown beanie, and casual harrington and varsity jackets made of wide-wale corduroy.
As far as subtle statement pieces go, it's worth considering the camel hair hoodies, which flip the traditional outerwear fabric into a super warm hooded sweater. It's ideal for the chilliest months of the year. There are also two collaborative chukka boots manufactured by storied British shoemaker Sanders. One comes in a versatile light cognac color with a tan crepe sole, and the other channels the red, green, yellow, and black colors commonly associated with Rastafarian culture. So, ideal if you want to channel the laid-back, put-together style of the film Rockers.
See the full collection in the gallery below:
Now read our interview with Brendon Babenzien and his brother Ryan, founder of GREATS Brand shoes, on how to build a brand today.