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How Brendon Babenzien Started NOAH – ‘Not A Running Brand’ But Making Clothing For Runners

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Brendon Babenzien is the founder of NOAH and the men’s creative director for J. Crew. A lot of you may have recently seen the collaboration between J. Crew and Tracksmith and Brendon had a lot to do with that because he’s a runner and loves the sport. But..don’t be quick to call NOAH a running brand. They make clothing for runners but with their own touch. In this one, we go into Brendon’s own running, how NOAH came to be, its place within the fashion industry and the importance of producing products with human rights and the environment in mind. Plus, NOAH just released their whole fall and winter collection so check them out. They also have been doing some runs out of their store in New York City and events in London so be sure to follow them on Instagram.

You can now listen to our conversation on The CITIUS MAG Podcast. Catch the latest episode of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.


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NOTABLE QUOTES

– “We always thought of Noah as: It’s the real thing. What I mean by that is that it’s basically a family business. We’re not going to do things that aren’t genuine to us. The business is going to be a reflection of our real lives. That ties back to the authenticity that comes from skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and running. You do these things that you love because you love them. That’s how this business was structured. We weren’t going to do just anything. We’re only going to do stuff that we really believe in and we’re interested in. Running made sense in that way. I don’t think we ever planned to be a running brand but it goes back to this idea that people are complex, diverse and interesting. Brand and business should reflect that. Most businesses don’t do it that way. They’re like, ‘We do this one thing. That’s all we do. If you’re into that, you’ll get it from us. The rest of your interests, we’re not interested. Go somewhere else for your other stuff.’ … We’re more interested in the New York attitude of like you really don’t know who you’re talking to and they’re probably far more interesting than you realize.”

– “We’re not a running brand so don’t expect to see a running brand. Running is part of what I’m interested in and what people here are interested in so we’ve built certain running things into the business. We’re kind of making stuff for us. What do we want? Oh, we’ll just make that. Hopefully, there are some other people out there who like it as well and it makes sense to them. We’re definitely not a running brand. The most important thing I want people to understand is we really encourage people to be independent thinkers. In every business and every sub-culture, you start off with this pure thing and over time business enters and tries to steal away that purity. It tries to turn you into an ATM. It’s like: ‘You’re a runner. How much stuff can we get this man, woman or kid to buy now that they’re in our world? How many pairs of sneakers? How many pairs of running shorts? How many gels? How many watches?’ It’s all this other stuff. If we’re not careful, we can all fall victim to that consumer cycle. I just encourage people to think about what they really need or want. That’s a factor. I’m not going to deny that what we want is relevant. You don’t have to deny yourself everything. That’s not practical either. Sometimes we get caught up.”

– “The hope is that the business will have an impact on how people think about products, buy better products and behave differently in their consumer choices. That’s our role. Our role is to give you something that’s better and that you keep for a long time so you’re not buying 10 jackets somewhere else, it’s one with us. Or you’re just learning by hearing the way that we talk about things and hearing the way we do things, then you’re taking that information forward. We’re an option. We think we’re a really good one.”

 


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– Article One is an independent eyewear company based in Flint, Mich. with designers with deep roots in running. All their frames are handcrafted in a small village in Northern Italy. Designed with your entire day in mind, Article One takes you from a long run in the morning to drinks on the patio to wind down. Their timeless silhouettes, paired with technical components — like adjustable silicone nose pads, polarized lenses, and spring hinges — create running sunglasses that are standalone. CITIUS MAG listeners get 20% off using CITIUS at checkout at https://articleoneeyewear.com/


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Tracksmith is an independent running brand inspired by a deep love of the sport. For years, the brand has elevated running wear, using best-in-class materials in timeless silhouettes that perform at the highest level. Now they’re doing the same with footwear. The Eliot Runner was developed to meet the rigorous demands of committed runners, providing the perfect balance of cushioning and responsiveness with classic Tracksmith style. See the Eliot Runner in person at Tracksmith’s Pop-Ups at the London and Chicago Marathons and their Boston store this fall before an exclusive opportunity to pre-order on October 24th. Learn more about the Eliot Runner by visiting tracksmith.com/citius

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