Hey, You’re Cool! Fashion Designer Caroline Bentley Noble
“As long as you are creating something that’s true to you, that’s perfect”
Fashion designer and self-declared “cozy gal” Caroline Bentley Noble has earned the attention of fashion tastemakers like Fabolous, the Kardashians and Rihanna with V2Bentley, a streetwear brand that strikes a balance between a distinct and lax style, privileging comfort, and hand-craftsmanship.
Noble initially hadn’t intended to pursue fashion as a career. An aspiring actress who painted as a hobby, she stumbled into designing her own clothing when she began applying paint to her own clothing. And now, she provides that aesthetic for clients, finding a middle ground between her own style and theirs. “That’s honestly where the fun begins,” she says, “because we’re both trying something new and that always leads to exciting pieces.”
MASS APPEAL caught up with Caroline Bentley Noble to discuss her influences, the idea of “perfection,” her process, and advice she’d give to her younger self.
What three artists/designers would you say really influenced your current aesthetic?
I’m always inspired by so many different elements and artists. At the moment, I’m loving Jeremy Scott, Lirika Matoshi, Virgil Abloh and DRYCLEANONLY BKK.
Why were you drawn to fashion as a means of expressing yourself?
I sort of stumbled into fashion by accident. I studied acting in New York City, actually. I always painted in my spare time. I decided to try to transfer that to leather jackets, swimsuits, etc. This is where I got. I always shopped at Goodwill and second hand stores when I was younger. I love the feel and stories behind old clothes, and the freedom to tell a story with a single outfit.
Why streetwear specifically?
I’m a cozy gal for life. I used to be the only cheerleader growing up wearing XXL shorts and T-shirts. I have always had a thing for oversized clothing, and I love being comfortable. Wearing your boyfriends clothes never goes out of style!
Is there such a thing as a perfect piece? How do you push yourself to hit that point of perfection?
No! I try not to focus on “perfection.” What is that anyway? I strive to be content with myself and pleased with the amount of work I’ve put in. Does this piece say what I want it to say? Sometimes, pieces I personally don’t think are my best get the most attention. It’s always a toss up. I say as long as you are creating something that’s true to you, that’s perfect! Not always an easy battle with all of the outside influences we have today, but it can be achieved.
How do you reconcile a client’s personal styles with your own style as a designer?
That’s a constant battle. I try to take risks and allow the client to do the same while still staying within their boundaries. That’s honestly where the fun begins, because we’re both trying something new and that always leads to exciting pieces.
Aside from giving clients a one-of-a-kind piece, what do you get out of working on pieces by hand?
I get the freedom to create—a dream come true. I could ask for nothing more but the ability to create and for people to feel great in my pieces. Connection is what it is all about.
What’s your biggest fear as a creative, and how do you get through that fear to keep creating?
My biggest fear is similar to anyone’s: failure. I think that pops up in so many places in life. I get through it [with] great friends, a little wine, and good advice.
Any advice you wish you could’ve given yourself when you first began designing?
Yes! Do not let anything or anyone influence your designs. This is a tough industry, with a lot of ups and downs and opinions. If you are staying true and creating what you love, that will take you exactly where you need to be.
Where do you see streetwear going in the next few years?
To the moon! Streetwear is forever. Let’s just have fun with it! I cannot wait to see where it goes and watch all of my friends and colleagues achieve success and comfort.