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Drive Season 2, Episode 4: Noah Founder Brendon Babenzien on ‘Taking Greed Out of the Equation’

Brendon Babenzien’s menswear brand Noah focuses on values and collaboration instead of profit margins and competition.
Brendon Babenzien, Founder and Creative Director of Noah, for Drive.
Brendon Babenzien, Founder and Creative Director of Noah, for Drive. BoF.
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In this new season of Drive, BoF's entrepreneurship podcast series delivered by DHL, we've been hearing from some of fashion's most dynamic leaders on how they have chosen to adopt sustainable solutions to the businesses they founded.

This week, BoF’s chief New York correspondent Lauren Sherman sits down with Brendon Babenzien, founder of menswear brand Noah. Following his long-term tenure as Supreme’s design director, Babenzien and his wife Estelle Bailey-Babenzien relaunched Noah in October 2015, after a 10-year hiatus. Babenzien identifies his brand as a “responsible,” rather than a sustainable brand, with a broad range of values-driven campaigns aligning it with organisations that share similar values as they do, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, Standing Rock Preservation and Ocean Against Plastic for Wildlife.

“We’re going to make the best product we can make in countries where we know people are looked after at work, where they’re not forced to work long hours, where they get vacation time and healthcare and all these things,” Babenzien tells BoF.

Babenzien, who has no formal design training, sees his work as “a form of cultural connectivity,” and is seeking to build a community around his brand that can interact with it independent of sales and consumption. “Once you take greed out of the conversation, it opens up all kinds of incredible opportunities to have an interesting business. Of course, we want to be financially viable so we can support ourselves… but enjoying it, feeling good about the things we’re doing… making sure that our success is other people’s successes. That’s what’s important to us,” he continues.

“If every business, every person in business, did little things, then the world would be a much better place. I can’t prove that… but I believe in it, so I’m doing it.”

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