“I grew up on the Great South Bay of Long Island, so water has always been a big part of my life.
I sailed, surfed, and fished, and as I got older, my friends and I would go the docks at night to drink. When I moved to [New York City], I felt the need to surround myself with anything related to the seaside, since I couldn’t be there everyday.
These items, like the Popeye Party Game, all relate to water. I don’t remember where many came from, because I [tend to] do things in a mindless state — even when I’m working on [my menswear brand], NOAH, which often has nautical themes coursing through it.”
“I purchased SAPPHO BY THE SEA at a bookstore in East Hampton. It’s all about the greater Hamptons region, and was published in the 70s, when I was a kid — a time I’m really nostalgic for.”
“This is from a 40s-era Parker Brothers board game. About 12 years ago, in NOAH’s first iteration [before it relaunched in 2015], I used it and a bunch of identical pieces as clothing hang tags. Back then, there was a lot of talk of using the business to promote sustainability in [the industry]. Wind change went hand in hand with that idea.”
“Long Island gets a bad rap. I made the sticker to remind people that there are a lot of great things about the region, beyond the Hamptons and Montauk. I consider myself lucky to know of places there that most other city-dwellers don’t.”
“A farmer in California and I developed this sample of organic surf wax a couple years ago.
He used damaged fruit to scent it, and, unlike traditional surf wax, it’s not petroleum based. The hope is to sell it one day, maybe in my own surf shop.”
“I’ve had these bandanas
for at least ten years. I’ll wear them regularly, either around my neck as a scarf, or around my head when I go running. I keep them handy to clean stuff up with, too, and have even used one to stop a cut from bleeding.”
“Water gets taken for granted. Issues like the world’s shortage of drinking water and ocean pollution are important to me, and to Noah, so I’m always looking to work with other businesses that do things to combat them. Too often, they’re overlooked, which is a serious problem.”
“Where I’m from, everyone has at least one anchor tie.
While they may be the norm, you don’t wear them often — only to special events, like a beach wedding or dinner at the yacht club.”
“I love this hat. A kid came into the NOAH store [in New York City] wearing it, and I traded him a new hat for it on the spot. I plan to keep it for a long time. The whale, the rope — it’s just great.”
“When my wife and I were in Jamaica a couple years ago, we met a drunk dude on the beach who was carving things out of wood. He saw I have an anchor tattoo, and was like: Why don’t I carve you an anchor? This, the finished product, now hangs on a wall in our home.”
“A lot of the photos in THE EIGHTIES AT ECHO
BEACH — which was highly influential to surf
culture at a time when the sport was just becoming
commercialized — were in the magazines I read as a
teenager working in a surf shop. THE STORY OF SUSHI
is about the cuisine’s history, and how it becoming popular outside of Japan has contributed to the depletion of tuna in the ocean. I’ve had WHALES: FRIENDLY DOLPHINS AND MIGHTY GIANTS OF THE SEA since I was a child. The illustrations are beautiful, and it’ll end up in my daughter’s collection one day.”
Photography bySania Tharani
As told toMichelle Rizzi
Brendon Babenzien is the New York City-based founder and creative director of Noah.