A Quick Catch-Up With Noah Collins

The other day I was sitting at home thinking I should be doing something but not exactly knowing what that something should be.

Looking out the window, I wondered whether it was going to start raining again, and also which elderly white man will run the free world. With these thoughts in mind, I figured it would be a good time to call my shirt-making, moustache-wielding, twin-fin-thrusting LA correspondent Noah Collins and see what he’s been up to and how he’s staying so positive and busy in a world gone crazy and a year gone mad.

Noah, what are you doing?
Yo! Just working on some pants.
Nice—for anything or anyone special?
It’s for a pop-up a few of my friends are doing on November 1st.
Whats the pop-up?
It’s just a space downtown that a friend of mine got; there’s gonna be a few of us contributing bits and pieces to it: some plants, some furniture, some clothes, and whatnot.

How many pieces are you going to make for it?
I have no idea haha. I’ve done five pieces, see how many I can do until then.
You see Jay Davies’ new part?
Yeah man, so gnarly.
Super gnarly. What’s life like in LA right now? That seems pretty hectic too.
It’s so weird. You’ll just be driving down a street and there’ll be this huge F350 truck with like six American flags on it, a Trump flag, a Blue Lives Matter flag… Do you know what a Blue Lives Matter flag is?
Nah, what’s Blue Lives Matter?
It’s like their retaliation for people saying ‘fuck the police’ or whatever.
Ah, the boys in blue.
Yeah, so they made new flags which are based on the American flag, but one of the stripes is blue.

Gotcha. You guys have got some crazy shit going on.
Dude, so tense.
Do you think this is the craziest it’s been since you’ve been alive?
Oh yeah, for sure.
You see any other crazy shit on a day-to-day basis?
That’s probably the biggest thing at the moment, the political side of stuff. The homeless situation Downtown has definitely gotten a lot worse too.

What’s the corona vibe like over there?
Also pretty political, everyone is wearing a mask but then you’ll see the odd person blatantly not wearing one as an act of defiance or political opinion or whatever.
There’s always one.
Yeah, but like anything, I guess there are points for either side. For the people who are responding quite intensely and being super-protective, that makes sense in a way; but then the people that are under-reacting to it, or playing it a bit more relaxed or sceptical, there’s also some understanding there too.

It seems like there’s such divide though, that there’s always two extremes rather than a general median.
(Laughs) Yeah, exactly. And if you choose one side, it seems like—especially now—you’ve really got to run that side regardless of any new information.
It’s almost like you become cemented by your stance and there’s no going back.
Yeah… It’s crazy, but I’ve tried to not get too involved or caught up in it. I’ve found a cool little crew who are just trying to enjoy life and work on things and begin interesting initiatives. I got a bit too caught up in it all early on, but now I just don’t think it’s even worth it.
Yeah, you’ve got to keep doing your own thing.
Yeah, totally. I mean, its all probably just going to fade back to normal—whatever that is—once the election is over.
Maybe the winds of change will swing in the world’s favour and 2021 will be filled with rainbows and sunshine.
Ha-ha, fuck. Let’s hope so.

Speaking of rainbows and sunshine, what’ve you been doing that’s fun and smiley?
Man, just been trying to surf a bit, work on stuff like this pop-up thing we’re doing, hanging with a good crew of people.
You just got on Crap (Eyewear) as well, didn’t you?
Yeah, stoked on that. I’ve been hanging with Tony [Accosta, brand manager] for a while now, and then we just started working together on a little intro piece which came out a month or two ago.

Rad. And what’s this popup called?
It’s called Bleach Gift Shop.
And have you got a style or concept in mind for the collection?
I just want to make a bunch of updated things on what I’ve previously done; a lot of the things that I’ve made in the past, people have been messaging me asking to buy them, so I’m just going to model it off those styles, and now people can actually buy them (laughs). I actually went and saw Quinn (Mathews) the other day and he’s got a really cool space in Downtown as well, so after this is done I’d love to work on a new collection and do a little showcase thing there, print some photos, make a little film, all the good stuff.

Are you still doing a collab collection with Quiksilver too?
Yeah, that’s still in the works as well. That will come out mid-late next year.
Busy man. It’d be cool if there were more things like that going on in surf, another avenue for surfers to take—working closely with the companies they ride for and making things together.
Yeah, totally, that’s really what I want to try to do more of and try to inspire, I guess. But it’s hard when people—especially in the surf industry—can be so hard sometimes.
You can really get dissected and decapitated for stepping in what’s perceived as the wrong direction.
Yeah, but I dunno, I’ve just been super inspired at the moment, which is nice.

Where does that inspiration come from? The people you surround yourself with? Yourself?
Bit of everything really. Reading and watching things that interest me, listening to what other people have to say, all the standard due diligence stuff. Hearing some of the greats like Basquiat, Virgil and Sam Ross, the ones who said, ‘Fuck it, the sky’s the limit.’ That kind of shit really gets me going. Then Downtown is super-stimulating, and being surrounded by that environment. Just being open to new things gets me super psyched, I guess. And finding out how things that are seemingly unrelatable can relate to each other. For example, listening to a lot of those greats I mentioned before gets me really motivated to do stuff in surf, although they’re completely different things.
Totally, I hear ya. It’s that train of thought that can be diverted into different mediums.
Yeah, it’s a way of thinking, and its that sort of headspace which is getting me super-inspired. Everything they did inspires the shit out of me, actually; how they set themselves up to express certain things in their own way is pretty incredible. These are the people that I want to try to embody and be my own version of. Just that kind of stuff.
Nicely said. Thanks, Noz.
No worries, dude. Thank you.

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