STORE: Nooka Pop-Up Shop at Den, from July 10 through August 16
SINCE: 1997 (Nooka)
FOUNDED BY: Matthew Waldman (Nooka)
PRICES: $$$ (out of 5)
WHY WE COSIGN: Artist and designer Matthew Waldmen founded Nooka on the concept of innovative and futuristic design. This summer, Nooka (like rag & bone, Robert Geller and Engineered Garments before it) is taking up occupancy at concept boutique Den. The temp shop will showcase the brand's latest digital wristwatches, along with modern belts, wallets, and its debut fragrance.
BRANDS CARRIED: Nooka
We talked with Matthew about his inspirations and what lies ahead for his brand. See our interview, pics of the store, and address below...
Q&A WITH NOOKA FOUNDER, MATTHEW WALDMAN:
In what ways do you differentiate yourself as a brand and designer?
Most fashion brands develop their products to fit established categories. Nooka develops its products to express a philosophy — we create products that not just look great, they tell a story that seems to resonate more and more with people — an optimism for the future.
What is the creative process like at Nooka?
I always start with a writing session to establish a goal set for a design project. We then brainstorm and research much like any other professional creative lab. Then we sort out the results much like a math theorem to see which results support/promote the goals. Then we sort again on which solutions are "Nooka." This process is repeated for tangents if necessary until happy. Then of course, the production concerns and marketing concerns are factored in and designs are tweaked, revised, or scrapped altogether!
What inspired you to create a fragrance for Nooka?
It's been about four years since I launched Nooka Inc., and this has created the perception (understandably) that Nooka is a watch company. The true story is that the Nooka watches are the end-product of a design exploration of interface design and universal communication. To me, Nooka is and has always been a design lab and fashion house. I wanted to challenge myself to create new Nooka products that express these ideals, creating a mindstyle brand in the process. I have a personal obsession with fragrance and on further inspection, "scent" fits the core philosophy of global language.
In today's economic climate, do you feel that versatile, accessible brands like Nooka can flourish?
I do. I think economic downturns are a great opportunity for small brands to grow. When larger brands contract, they leave a space (metaphorically and physically) for new ideas and new products. Moreover, the cost of doing business goes down, which helps start-ups and small brands like Nooka.
Your most recent collaboration with SpongeBob was a huge success. Can we expect more exciting collaborations in the near future?
Definitely. Collabs are the best way to meet new creatives and help each other with a win-win approach. I think it's like when royal families married off their children to strengthen cultural bonds between countries.
Any plans to open a flagship store?
Not at the moment. I think we need to be much more well-known first. Until then, we do have this pop-up shop, and will recreate the experience for other cities around the world all year.
Looking ahead, what trends do you foresee in menswear?
I see the complete death of neckties and pleats.
What trend would you like to see go away?
I want to see pants back up—pubic hair and ass crack are parts of your body, not your wardrobe.