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These Two Iconic Brands Just Made Your New Beach Outfit

From SoCal to New York, this beach-ready collaboration takes a bicoastal approach to surf style.

New York clothing outfit Noah and long-time board short legends Birdwell Beach Britches just released their summer collaboration, a coast-to-coast capsule collection ready for the sand and surf.

An icon in the surf scene, Birdwell has roots dating back to 1961 when the brand’s founder, Carrie Birdwell Mann, converted her Southern California home into a family sewing studio, crafting hardy swim trunks for the local surfers. The trunks were a smash and caught on with surfers and beach-goers alike. The brand has kept pace with the surf community through every wave of fashion and still makes all of its goods in SoCal.

For Noah, founded by former Supreme design director Brendon Babenzien, surf and skate culture are essential to the brand’s identity. In the five short years since its founding in 2015, Noah’s seen an explosion in popularity thanks to its deep-cut subcultural references mixed with east coast prep and downtown New York attitude.

The 11-piece capsule includes a matching set of Birdwell’s iconic swim trunks, a jacket and a tote bag, as well as graphic tees and an embroidered rugby shirt. It’s a capsule that balances both brands’ inimitable style and unique perspective on surf culture. To learn more about the summery collab, we talked with Brett Reynolds, President and Head of Product for Birdwell and Brendon Babenzien, founder of Noah (noted in the interview as “Birdwell” and “Noah,” respectively).


Birdwell’s been around for a long time but has only collaborated with a handful of brands. How do you choose who to collaborate with and how did you land one with Noah?

Birdwell: It all starts with brands that inspire us and in most cases where we are already their customers. We are familiar with their product and believe in what the brand stands for, enough to buy their products. It’s also important for us to connect with and enjoy collaborating with the people running the brand. Life is too short not to work with people you really like. In the case of Noah, we’ve been fans since they opened their doors in 2015. More than that, we deeply appreciate the stand they are taking against the worst practice of the fashion industry — it’s an approach we share.

Brendon, you already make your own swim trunks, tote bags and jackets. What was the impetus for wanting to do a collab with Birdwell?
Noah: They’re the best. Plain and simple.

There are a ton of surf brands out there, so what drew you to Birdwell over other brands?
Noah: Surf as a business has really lost its way in my opinion. I know thinking about the business side of surfing is a bit weird, but I grew up and learned a lot from the business of surf/skate. I’ve seen the demise of the businesses that were super progressive.

It makes me sad to think that the businesses that were surfer-owned and were a true extension of the lifestyle and culture are now being run by non-surfers and accountants. It sucked the life right out of the business side and, in my opinion, has made surfing as a culture a little less {sic}. The businesses were vehicles for new ideas and some truly fun stuff. Birdwell is still surfer-owned and making things here in the US. We’re really only interested in working with companies that are the real thing and Birdwell is the real thing. The best partnerships are ones where you actually enjoy the process and the Bird guys are lovely, so it made the whole thing just that much better.


What was the collaboration process like?
Birdwell: From the moment we connected, we have enjoyed every interaction with their team. There’s a mutual admiration and they were stoked to do something cool and to do it the right way. We quickly locked on the idea of having them take the lead on designing the pieces, most of which are Birdwell legacy styles. When they shared the paisley design, we were completely committed to the fiendishly complicated task of executing the 9-color print on SurfNyl. We think our respective customers will dig the results of that labor of love.

Noah: The collaboration process was super simple and fun. They make a great product and we are very proud of our products. For that reason, it felt like a true exchange. We could benefit from their expertise on manufacturing their items and we could produce a few things they were looking for. They’re also open-minded people so they were OK with us playing a bit more with graphics and colors. It was fun for us to try and capture the spirit of Birdwell with a slightly different attitude. Its always a good time when you get to show your respect for a brand but also do something different for them.


Though Birdwell’s done polo shirts, you chose to go with Noah’s rugby shirt. How did the two brands come to that decision?
Birdwell: We thought it would be interesting to select the essential pieces that celebrate each brand’s heritage as well as our shared commitment to building things the right way. In the case of Noah, the rugby has been a mainstay of their collection every season. It’s pure east coast prep, which we thought would be a cool counter to the California lifestyle pieces that have been part of Birdwell’s offering since 1961.

Few other modern brands are using paisley quite like Noah. And in the streetwear scene, it’s not something I see much at all. How is it significant to you?
Noah: We just love paisley and context matters. Paisley can be awful, really. But if used in the right way, it is such a classic pattern, that we find ourselves returning to it time and time again. It’s funny because when you hear the word, you tend to think “conservative culture.” But visually, it’s quite aggressive, especially for clothing. It takes real personality to wear paisley well. So for that reason, paisley is incredibly significant to us.

Long board or short board?
Noah: Short board. My whole life. As a matter of fact, I’m actually pretty down on myself for never longboarding. I’ve just mastered the art of small wave surfing on short boards so I’ve never needed a long board. I need to incorporate more board lengths into my life though so I can have a different form of expression in the water.

Noah Birdwell

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