Let’s be clear: Max Novak likes to have fun
. And his fun usually means performing wheel grabs,
360’s and a variety of other tricks with his BMX bike.
But to the fifteen-year-old, high school sophomore from Oakland, California, fun also meansplaying tenor sax in a select jazz band at school while launching and building a brand of streetwear clothing that he already envisions will be his ticket to a life without office cubicles, suits,bosses and mandatory work hours. Since founding EXCLMTN(pronounced
Exclamation) earlier this year, Max hasalready managed to produce twobatches of clothing and get hiscustom-designed t-shirts andsweatshirts into 510 skateboarding, apopular skate shop in Berkeley, as wellas a hip clothing store in Oakland. Heis carefully crafting the Exclmtn brandand is working to build a devotedfollowing in the street wear industry.And along with it, he has alreadymapped out a clear strategy for the future.
“I want to grow the brand, get experience, get it into more
stores across the country and grow
as a person,” Max says, reflecting on stores in San Francisco and Ann Arbor Michigan that he
has tried to pitch his brand to in person. His self-
belief is so strong there’s no questioning wherehe’s headed in life.
“I think that starting now enables me to grow it slowly so that by the time I’m in college, the
brand will hopefully be able to sustain itself and give me the experience I need to be involved in
the skateboarding street wear industry in a bigger way,” he adds.
“I know I don’t want a typical
white collar job
that scares me.”
Max, now a slim, amber-eyed brunette who seems to never stop going, discovered hisattraction to art in first grade, after undergoing bilateral leg surgery as a result of a mild case of cerebral palsy caused by complications at birth. Given that he was stuck in double leg casts and
couldn’t run around like other boys his age, Max started gravitating to something he could do
with his hands, and was soon creating cartoon characters and other art (one of his comic strips