We took a look at the latest offerings from Brendon Babenzien's label, Noah, and get a glance of what we can expect from one of the most anticipated brands to be making a resurgence this year.

"Curiosity -- that's the difference between people who get old and those who don't."

The man across the table does have a certain youthfulness about him, but his interminable track record in the New York streetwear scene would put him among the most experienced of OGs. If it were not for the recent media hype surrounding the resurrection of his label "Noah," the name Brendon Babenzien may not even ring a bell. There's been a surprising lack of press behind the Long Island native who helped shape the cult of Supreme as its creative director for 15 some odd years... In any case, his work speaks for itself.

This afternoon, Babenzien is joined by Chris Gibbs, friend and owner of Union, a shop that was arguably the catalyst to the entire streetwear movement (more on that later). The two have set up shop inside Exposure New York's The Supermarket to launch the second coming of the much anticipated menswear imprint Noah. Oriental rugs, large palm leaves and vintage books complement racks of hard-to-find labels like WTAPS, visvim and Undercover, courtesy of Union. Of course, a selection of Noah is available: bright summery snapbacks in hues of yellow, blue, orange and more, along with a few graphic tees. Noah's spring/summer offering is a light welcome to a grand unveiling next fall. After bypassing a fully built skate bowl (yes, in a pop-up shop) the Fall/Winter 2015 collection awaits inspection in the back.

Wandering through perfectly spaced rows of garments, it's hard not to superimpose the rich narrative of Supreme, but this is different. Babenzien admits that Noah has strong roots in skate culture, but the grown-up, production-conscious collection escapes definition. Think post-skate with outdoor, athletic and military influences -- then throw in a touch of dandy menswear for the fuck of it. It’s the only feasible explanation for why rock n’ roll inspired graphic T-shirts sit next to Italian-made suiting and multicolor polos, and double thick logo hoodies complement corduroy running shorts. At full macro view  the collection is a hodgepodge that screams Brendon Babenzein -- everything somehow just makes sense together.

The original Noah, circa 2002, is a thing of pre-internet mythology. Chris Gibbs chimes in, "It was way ahead of the curve." Unfortunately, the label shut its doors after a few years, leading Babenzien to return to the helm of Supreme. "The market just wasn't there," Babenzien explains. After years dormant,  and with a lot of careful planning, the designer boasts a more complete understanding of what he was aiming for initially -- both in the label's physical form and concept.

Today, Noah's level of production and design is top notch, and Babenzien has a set of interests that goes far beyond hyped-up streetwear. After explaining his obsession with the history of the Knights Templar as the reasoning behind his logo, Babenzien professes his utter distaste for fast fashion and its casualties. At Noah, "things are being made where they need to be made so that everything is done in the correct way." This means that sweats are produced in Canada (see Supreme), shirting and outerwear are made here in New York, and select items are even crafted in Italy and Japan. It's apparent that Noah is now targeting a more considered client. "I think we're in an era where young and old people actually have a lot in common," Babenzien explains. Although the age group is loosely defined, Noah's customer is one who actually cares where things are made, and above all, has an agenda other than buying up the coolest clothing. Babenzien stresses that it's important to be into more than just the culture -- broad horizons are a good thing.

Babenzien's business model is less than conventional, potentially a parallel to the hush-hush business model of Supreme. Other than two doors in America (Union Los Angeles and Bergdorf Goodman), Noah will be sold exclusively through its own boutique set to open this fall. When prodded about his exclusive approach he replies, "There's no reason to do anything else, wholesale is not part of the model."

Anyone who builds a full bowl for an eight-day pop-up shop has my vote. Babenzien's choice to contract a could-be-permanant skate fixture in a temporary space is reflective of his design ethos -- Loro Piana hoodies and terrycloth towel sport coats don't exactly scream practicality, but that's not the point. The designer's youthful take on life and creation is a breath of fresh air in the often stuffy and recycled environment of the fashion world. Plus, bowls are fucking fun, so why not?

  • Photography:Thomas Welch for Highsnobiety.com

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