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Streetwear for Men Who Are Too Old for Streetwear
For a certain class of conspicuous consumer, the badge of honor is a red rectangle stamped with a single word: Supreme. The New York-born skate brand inspires fealty like the greatest and toniest labels, those that charge 10 times what it does and more.
A stroll past its New York store on the day of a “drop” — when a new product is released — inevitably reveals a line of customers (skateboarders; bearded Peter Pans flown out of the office) snaking down Lafayette Street.
There looks to be no end to Supreme’s dominion, and happily so. But as its acolytes age, a steady diet of Supreme demands to be augmented according to the dress codes of the office and the PTA meeting. Time passes. What is an aging Peter Pan to wear?
Brendon Babenzien, the former design director of Supreme, struck out on his own with a label slightly less street in sensibility but with hints of his old spikiness. It began with a pop-up shop, but Mr. Babenzien has built it into an ark, a permanent home a stone’s throw from Supreme in NoLIta. It is called Noah.
The theme is vaguely nautical, with blurry sailing photos on the walls, a dressing room paneled in what appears to be a semaphore flag and racks suspended from leather straps like rigging. Each item has a tag with a grim estimate of the number of sharks slaughtered every year.
The clothes are less wedded to the waves — a shopper on a recent Sunday afternoon guessed that Alpine mountaineering was closer to the mark — though there are pieces a hardy, if luxurious, seaman would be happy to own. A nubby navy work-style shirt jacket turns out to be cashmere, made in Italy; hence the $798 price tag.
Despite some striped suiting, the casual still prevails, if at a less aggressive pitch than at Supreme; fine-wale corduroy raglan sweatshirts ($188) and lounge pants ($148) seem to be the suit of choice. Printed T-shirts ($48) bear inscrutable messages like “Jock-O-Rama” and “Children of a Lesser God.”
There is plenty by Noah’s own label to fill out a wardrobe, but the shop also stocks outside brands. There are lug-soled lace-ups by the French company Paraboot and fragrances from Folie à Plusieurs.
A section in back is devoted to well-sifted (if pricey) vintage, by Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Burberry. And off to the side is a rack of sleeker, more militaristic garb by OAMC, a label designed by Luke Meier, another Supreme alumnus. It’s a family reunion of sorts; what grows together, goes together.
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