This week I’m writing about Noah, a retro classsic men´s sportswear with a punk attitude and a lot of dedication to making clothes with conscience and soul. This brand talks about today´s real issue and takes actions toward solving them. And this for me is brave, is smart, and is what I really appreciate about humans and everything that people create.
Brendon Babenzien is the founder of Noah and he is well known as the ex-creative director for the brand Supreme. In one of his interviews, he talks about how he always liked to go back to his youth. And this project is all about taking elements from when he was young, adding his way of being, plus his maturity and experience, and voila Noah is born. There is no surprise that the brand represents the fusion of skate, surf and punk rock culture, his passions reunited.
The brand´s core values are quality, integrity, originality and consciousness. As they put it nicely on their website: ¨We share our adventures with our customers and encourage them to share their adventures with us. Promote goodness. Challenge conventional wisdom.¨
I feel that in the streetwear world caring, helping and making a contribution is not always seen as cool. I will be happy to be wrong, but standoffish is the vibe that I get most of the time form the streetwear world. Let’s see how Noah is changing this perception.
In 2017, they released the Anti-Nazi collection in collaboration with Union, and in January this year, they find it appropriate to launch another capsule of the same concept which includes hoodies and tees. I would say that they launched it at the perfect moment, considering the political situation in US.
Here is what the founder said about this capsule:
¨We want to start this year with a reminder to remain constantly aware of the racist actions and dog whistling of those in power now, and to push back against them. We’re up against an administration that would like nothing more than to set us back. Now is the time for us to put our idealism for a better tomorrow to work. Get involved. Fight fascism. Call out racism. Speak truth to power. As the Anti Nazi League has said: “Love Music. Hate Racism.¨
Another campaign released in January named Second Annual Holiday Coat Drive, encouraged people to drop off any new or used coats to their flagship or by mail-in submissions, and in exchange, they would’ve got a 20% discount code for any purchase. This was part of a partnership with The Bowery Mission, an organization that provides food, medical services and employment assistance to the working poor and homeless men women and children in NY. Here is their message ¨Take part in the philanthropic endeavor up until January 31.¨
Another cause-partnership is with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (a non-profit, marine conservation organisation based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington, in the United States). NOAH added an option to donate to this organisation at the end of each purchase.
The partnership with Keith Haring Foundation is my favorite. Noah made a range of sweatshirts with prints of Haring´s artwork. All the proceeds went to the Save the Children. This came in a moment of crucial need for humanitarian aid. Here is what the company affirmed:
¨This winter more than 3,000 Syrian children are refugees, bordering on homelessness. Save the Children has been active in the region since the 1950’s, and working with Syrian refugees specifically since 2012, providing education, shelter, child protection, and organizing projects including art-based therapy for children. They do anything they can to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of these kids and their families. Save The Children has also been one of the most active organization raising awareness on the growing refugee crisis, and the need for humanitarian aid.¨
Then there´s the Noah Unveils Hurricane Relief T-Shirt. All the proceeds were donated to Direct Relief, a nonprofit organisation with a stated mission to “improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care. I find their message so well constructed.
¨We’ve had thirteen named storms this season so far, above the average, with time to spare for the most in a season ever. Of those thirteen storms, seven have been hurricanes. It’s the first season on record that has had two hurricanes at Category 4 or higher to strike the United States mainland. Hurricane Harvey broke the record for the most rainfall, Hurricane Irma broke a record for sustained wind speeds, and for the first time ever recorded we saw two storms, Hurricanes Irma and Jose, reaching 150+ mph winds in the Atlantic at the same time. It is not only the growing strength of these storms that are causing so much damage but their increased frequency as well.¨
Douglas Holt a pioneer in cultural branding strategy and Oxford marketing processor points out in one of his books that¨In talking about cultural brands it is important to know that brands must react and respond to different locations and contexts.¨ This means paying attention to what’s happening in the world and choosing to take a stand as a brand. And this is what Noah is doing. As a brand, they choose not only to react to some issues of our society but also to contribute to solving them, even a little bit.
There are so many other actions and collaboration that they are involved. Check out the blog.