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In 2008, designers Mike B. and Jimmynude started Charlie Noble, their take on everyday wears inspired by the military and sailing gear they’re accustomed to. In just a few years, Charlie Noble (named after a 19th century ship captain, or the galley smokestack of a ship depending on who you ask) has carved out a name for themselves in the streetwear scene.
Most brands assault your senses with images and bold labeling. Charlie Noble aims to keep it simple; and by doing so, they’ve created a distinct look to their hats and tees. Recently, Mike B. and I had a chance to chat about how his company came to be, their identity as a brand, and what it’s like to create art with a dude named Jimmynude.
SGH: I read on your site, http://www.charlienobleclothing.com, Charlie Noble is inspired by the sea. How did you decide on the name and your creative direction? When did the company get off the ground?
Mike B: We started Charlie Noble in 2008. Jimmynude and I met in the Coast Guard several years before that and we became good friends because we shared a lot of the same interests like surfing, skating, and music. Charlie Noble was launched with the nautical feel because it came naturally. At one point, Jimmy was even a ship captain in Oregon, and he continues to work at sea. A Charlie Noble is actually part of a ship.
SGH: Where’s home base for you guys?
Mike B: We’re based in Oakland, California.
SGH: I love how you consciously choose not to bombard customers over the head with flashy labels or one signature image that you paste everywhere, all the time. How do you choose your designs/graphics?
Mike B: Thanks. Classic Americana is the name of the game. We draw a lot of influence from early American cartoons, and images from as early as the 1800’s. As far as the nautical stuff goes, we want to convey experiences like peril and hardships versus flat, played out elements like anchors.
Not every design has to be directly related to the sea; we’re also drawing on encounters with superstition and Native culture. Jimmynude is the creative lead, and we work together to fine tune each design. We spend a lot of time selecting shirt and hat materials, often fairly limited in production, and made in the USA whenever possible.
SGH: Whether conscious or not, brands often try and associate a lifestyle with their product. Do you think that’s the case with Charlie Noble? Does your gear have that “feel”? What does it represent?
Mike B: That’s a tough call, but I think everyone can relate to us in one way or the other. After a hard day’s work, we all hit the bar to relax or deal with the hard times and uncertainty of life.
SGH: Where can we find your stuff? Are you in stores or strictly online?
Mike B: We’re in a handful of stores and online markets in the USA and Europe, but mostly in the US. We also maintain our own online store. You can check out our dealer page at http://www.charlienobleclothing.com/dealers/
SGH: Some call it a habit, but it’s become more like a tradition to finish these chats by asking, what’s your drink of choice?
Mike B: I prefer beer, probably a Porter or IPA. If you’re looking for something harder, I’d have to go with bourbon.
Charlie Noble is making dope, affordable, one of a kind pieces. Proudly cop yours at http://www.charlienobleclothing.com, and follow the crew on Twitter @CharlieNoble.