Noah, a cultural brand and a consistent contributor

This week I’m talking about Noah, a retro classic men’s sportswear, with a punk attitude and a lot of dedication to making clothes with conscience and soul. They talk about today’s real issues and take actions toward solving them. And that for me is brave, is smart, is cool, is what I really appreciate about humans in general and of course translated to 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 likes 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. Saying that, 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.¨

pics from Noah website

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.¨

pics from Noah website

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.¨

pics from Noah website

If we go to the words of Douglas Holt, who claims that ¨In talking about cultural brands it is important to know that brands must react and respond to different locations and contexts.¨ we can definitely say that this is what Noah is doing, acting as a cultural brand. A brand who pays attention to whats happening in the world and choose to take a position. All this comes from understanding very well who they are as a brand and what strategy is better and more authentic for them. There are so many other actions and collaboration that they are involved. Check out the blog.

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