The New J.Crew

The designer Brendon Babenzien has spent nearly all his professional life—first as an early and longtime employee at Supreme, and then as the founder and designer of the menswear brand Noah—in a narrowly circumscribed portion of Lower Manhattan. (One friend described him to me as the “mayor of SoHo.”) In his new job, as the men’s creative director for J.Crew, he spends two days a week working out of the company’s Financial District offices, which, though only a few subway stops away, effectively represent a different world. That’s to say: Brendon Babenzien is very much not a corporate person. When we met for lunch one day this spring, he realized, to his embarrassment, that he’d misplaced his office entry badge for the second time in 24 hours. “My strengths lie in design, and branding, and marketing ideas and things, and not management,” he said. “I mean, I can barely answer an email.” Indeed, he uses his personal email address to conduct business for both J.Crew and Noah. His employees know that the best way to reach their boss is to text him directly. Read more at GQ