Toronto-born model Noah Mills, who now calls Los Angeles home, recently completed an entire remodel of his 1950s-built Venice property.
The location, unbeknownst to him, would lay the groundwork for his next venture: NM Athletics, a clothing line that launched in early December, 5 years after he purchased his 5,000 square foot lot.
His brand, which is anchored in a range of athletics-friendly pieces that are meant for ‘pre, during, and post workout,’ has an old-school feel. It’s a far cry from the technical brands populating gyms of late.
After fronting dozens and dozens of major fashion campaigns, playing Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend in the singer’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” music video, and appearing as “FlyMiamiBro22” in PEN15’s chatroom inspired episode, Mills wanted to try something new.
“I started working on this last February. I had just gotten back from filming a show in New York and I was itching to do something in the world of apparel,” he says. “I wanted to focus on this sort of ‘throwback athletic vibe’ and from there, I just ran with it—there’s nothing technical about this!”
Now, with his Venice home serving as the NM Athletics HQ (design, shipping, packing, receiving), Mills speaks to (and rocks) his namesake line, exclusively for W.
Why did you launch NM Athletics?
It’s all about being creative. I’ve become very creatively involved around both clothing and my style. I was only ever going to make something that I wanted to wear all the time. I was working out a lot and wearing sweats a lot and it made me feel both athletic and attractive in them.
What’s your product offering?
From my point of view, it’s the right fit, the right weight, and a no fuss non-designer style. It looks good on guys versus a lot of other stuff that’s out, which feels too…. dainty. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s an evolution on the fit and fabric of some of the really traditional stuff that I wear.
If you could give any three guys—living or dead—a full NM Athletics outfit, who would they be?
What a dream! Felipe López at Rice High School, Björn Borg, Bob Marley, Allen Iverson, Junior Seau. I mean, the list goes on and on.
What about the girls?
Good question, as I do want everyone to wear the line! Gabriela Sabatini, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Marion Jones.
What was your product testing strategy like? Work out like crazy? Do a ‘sweat test’?
You know, I’ve just done my routine in them many, many times. The good thing about making them locally in Los Angeles is that I had my hands on every single sample. So, it’s like, ‘Oh, these are great, but can they come in a little here, extend this a little there.’ Most people won’t consider NM Athletics as full work out gear, though. Think about it more like your stylish warm up. That’s so much of my inspiration—a cold day on the tennis court getting warm, playing a little ball, hitting the bag. I lift in them and definitely don’t mind sweating in thick clothes. It’s better to sweat in your clothes than all over the gym.
Rapid fire—throw out a list of words that define NM Athletics.
Track and field warm ups. Young Mike Tyson. 90s hip hop. East coast. 90s Range Rovers. Pre-Instagram. ESPN. Can’t we all just get along? Health is Wealth. Make it Last. Fab Five. Nostalgia.
Where do you want to take the Noah Mills brand next?
I really want to build out this idea of thick durable athletic clothes, but always something that you want to wear outside the gym, too. I have a tee shirt coming, a crewneck and hoodie, and an awesome compression short. I could potentially see something like doing NM WORKWEAR and NM HOME? Who knows. Let’s see.
If NM Athletics had a Spotify playlist, what songs would be on it?
Come on, that’s hard. I listen to so much. Off the top of my head—EPMD’s “Da Joint,” James Blake’s “I’ll Come Too,” and Kanye West‘s “On God.”