In the latest issue of Oak Street, a magazine by the menswear startup Frank & Oak, Brendon Babenzien opens about the current state of streetwear and starting his own label Noah. The former Supreme creative director announced earlier this year that he would be departing from the brand to focus on his own projects.
In the interview, Babenzien discusses how the label "streetwear" has become a generic term for mass retailers. He says that the core brands that are doing streetwear right are those that are actually tackling the contemporary issues and calls Supreme the most influential.
"In the case of what I believe to be arguably the most important brand of the last 20 years, Supreme, what Supreme has done, not with just individual pieces but with their cultural moments, the artists, the musicians, is that it's educated people. That is incredibly important," he told Oak Street. "But I don't look at Supreme within that term of streetwear. Supreme is its own universe. Nobody comes close. I hate to say it, because there are a lot of good people out there doing really good things, but nobody comes fucking close."
Babenzien who stood at the creative helm of the company for 15 years, attributes the brand's success to making a quality product that remains relevant without being too trendy.
"Often times, if you have a piece that is three or four years old, and you bring it out, people are like, 'Oh, shit. That was a dope piece.' Sometimes people are not even ready for their things. They look better later. What is streetwear getting right if I'm using them as the benchmark? They are getting it right in understanding youth and what their interests are. In some cases, understanding that youngsters might be interested in something they don't even know about yet," he explains.
Babenzien also shares his plans for his footwear line Aprix, which he initially developed with a friend over a decade ago, but has recently revived. He has a new collection dropping at his store this fall.
"I wanted this kind of feeling, like a relaxed, chilled, go to the beach, getaway kind of thing. Sophisticated without being stuffy. He was an adventure dude. He raced cars and had some sailboat racing. So Aprix was kind of like a Grand Prix, like a race," he said. "There are some other interesting things that we’re trying to do, like set up some runs and trying to partner with Parley for the Oceans, an organization trying to clean up the ocean."
To read the full interview pick up an issue of the magazine here.