Posts tagged The Bearded Man
Photography & Words by Swabreen Bakr
Scott Schuman aka The Sartorialist (along with his girlfriend Garance Doré ) stopped by in Philadelphia for a private Q&A with Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus as part of his book tour. He was in town for a public book signing for Closer at The Barnes Foundation, and a few members of the media were invited to attend this candid Q&A session.
Closer explores themes that viewers of Schuman’s website have come to love, style and fashion, however it also explores themes that Schuman says he feels are, “getting closer to what I wanted to do originally in terms of mixing fashion, street and kind of cultural shots.”
Below is a transcript from the very enlightening Q&A, Schuman talks about his process as a photographer, his inspirations and how to maintain a profitable blog.
Photography & Words by Swabreen Bakr
During The Brooklyn Circus pop-up shop at Art in the Age I got the chance to sit down with Ouigi Theodore and pick his brain about the creative direction of his brand. The session went like this…
Q: What advice would you give to young brands?
Tell a story, it’s all about storytelling.
The better the story, the better it sells, and the better people understand what you’re trying to say as opposed to trying to penetrate the market for the purpose of your own financial interest. Branding is about storytelling so if you forget that aspect of it and think it’s about making money … you’re completely off.
It’s not easy, just take it one sentence, one word, one paragraph, one chapter at a time, that’s the way we approach it. Every day is an opportunity to say something.
Q: What’s the concept behind the 100 year plan?
It’s really a process, it’s really us stamping the industry and the world with our presence and leaving something behind; something useful, something that will continue, you know it’s like passing the baton.
Q: Where do you source your materials?
90% of what we do is made in the U.S., we also do some stuff in Japan. Past seasons we did some stuff in Asia and China –some knits– because the factories here couldn’t do what we wanted them to do fast enough for the right prices; but now we’re back to the States and Japan, simply because they can meet the quality marks that we’re trying to hit.
Quality is so important, if we have 100 year plan and we’re making cheap stuff, we’re gonna come up short you know what I mean? 50 years from now we’ll show up naked, we can’t wear the clothes.
We don’t wanna leave waste, we wanna leave something that someone can pass on. We’re lovers of vintage.
Q: What staple garments define The Brooklyn Circus man’s wardrobe?
Canvas sneakers for sure, you can never go wrong with that, they’re easy to pack; good raw denims, well-made five pocket jeans. A varsity jacket is definitely a core item for us because it represents a scholastic element, and it represents American culture. A good oxford shirt because you can wear it tucked it, you can wear it out, you can wear it with a tie, you can wear it open, you can wear it with a shirt under, it’s just so versatile.
What we promote is tailored-casual.
So all these items can be tailored but worn in a casual way, and then reversed and worn in a tailored way. You can wear a blazer under a varsity jacket –you’ve seen that throughout history– and go to dinner.
Our collections are really item-based so we create items for it and then figure out how they fit in together. It’s more about how they fit into our lives and how they fit into the brand versus, “Oh this season we’re doing so-and-so prints.” It’s really about “Hey, where am I gonna wear that? How many times can I wear that during the week?” because that’s important for us as well. I wanna be able to wear a shirt or a sweater on Monday to a soccer game or to hang out, and then be able to wear it again on Friday and possibly Wednesday.
We produce products that can be interchanged and take you from one place to the next. We want people to really wear this stuff and beat it up!
We’ve experimented, we wear our own products and we do sell raw jeans. We buy back our product as well, we buy back our varsities simply because we have customers overseas that are interested in our items broken-in naturally. We have Japanese customers that buy these items, so we’re in a sense creating our own vintage. All of the repair we do in-house as well. It’s just to show that The Brooklyn Circus guy he’s seen the world, he’s traveling and these jeans are really lasting, no matter how old and deconstructed they are we’ll take them back in because we start with a great foundation.
We use Japanese selvedge denim and we also use Cone, one of the oldest denim mills in the U.S.
Q: How many of the varsity jackets do you make?
They’re expensive to produce and they take a long time to produce, seasonally we do produce a limited amount because of that and not because it’s the cool thing. The people that we’re working with to make our varsity jackets have been making jackets since the 20s and the 30s.
Q: Has the business changed from when you first started six years ago?
Still get the butterflies and that’s what keeps us going, we get excited about setting up a show or creating an item.
A big thanks for Ouigi for letting me pick his brain about branding and visual communication. The Brooklyn Circus is definitely a brand to look up to when it comes to maintaining high standards, consistency and quality, whether that be for a t-shirt line or your own personal brand.
Photography & Words by Swabreen Bakr
As part of The Philadelphia Collection, Art in the Age is hosting a pop-up shop this weekend with New York-based menswear brand The Brooklyn Circus. I was very excited to attend this event as this is a brand that I think could inspire a lot of the local fashion brands we have here in Philadelphia.
The Brooklyn Circus is a great case study in how to tell a story and portray a lifestyle. Even though their product is seeped in Americana, it’s sold and worn across the world. They portray a lifestyle that men from Brooklyn to Tokyo to Copenhagen want to be a part of; that is really powerful and something to really take into account when developing a brand. The storytelling and visuals have to be aspirational and compelling enough to transcend borders and cultures. We’ll elaborate on this branding message with our upcoming interview with The Bearded Man himself, Ouigi Theodore.
The goal of The Brooklyn Circus brand is to create garments that will last a lifetime, this plays into their 100 Year Plan. They don’t want to create waste like most fast casual fashion does, these garments are meant to be passed on to future generations and stand the test of time. As a brand they don’t follow trends, but since fashion is cyclical sometimes the trends come back around to catch up with them. Last fall for example we saw a revived interest in varsity apparel.
With so much of American culture being about the here and the now, it’s nice to have a brand whose point of view is about investment pieces and longevity, and the quality of their garments can be definitely be felt.
Head over to Art in the Age on 116 North 3rd Street in Old City to grab some gear! The pop-up expires tomorrow, Sunday September 16th at 6 p.m.
Check out more photos from the pop-up after the jump.