Posts tagged interview
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 by Swabreen Bakr
Neal Santos works as the Chief Photographer for City Paper. His style caught my eye over the summer with a series of photographs from a piece penned by Drew Lazor about the impending explosion of ramen in Philadelphia. His photos have a very clean aesthetic featuring a fantastic use of light and color, as well as strong compositions and styling.
Photo by Neal Santos
He shot another series that I was really impressed with featuring Chef Chris Kearse of the newly opened Will BYOB on East Passyunk Ave. Neal’s photos have a fine art aesthetic that I really appreciate, and it’s a style that really mixes well with the stories his work is usually attached to.
Photo by Neal Santos
I’m the lucky bastard that gets to grow food and document it professionally in a city that I love.
I went to visit this amazing project last week and spoke to Neal about working as photographer, what it’s like to run an urban farm, and how it impacts the neighborhood he lives in.
Photography by Swabreen Bakr
Young creatives these days are multi-taskers, they’re not defined by one job alone, some might be working two or three jobs at once. They’ve got the one job that pays the bills and the other job(s) that fulfill their passion. It’s been said a lot lately that the jobs millennials take aren’t defined solely by income potential, but by happiness and how creative and personally fulfilling it allows them to be. I find that mindset to be pretty accurate among the Philadelphia Creatives that I’ve profiled so far.
I came across Dewey Saunders work on Instagram a few months ago. He was posting previews for an art show called Indian Summer. A bright collection of work that combined painting, pencil sketches and collages made from vintage photographs. The work had a beautiful and bright quality to it; loose lines created a nice flow in each piece.
I didn’t make it to his show on opening night but I went the next day, and was really impressed by what I saw. Dewey designs album covers, makes music and is the creative director of Bold New Breed, an independent record label-slash-creative collaborative for artists, musicians and cinematographers.
I visited his home in South Philly for our photo shoot and to get to know more about the process behind his work.
How did you develop your artistic style? Who or what inspires you?
I have many styles and I am inspired by David Hockney, I really enjoy John Baldessari, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Leonard Baskin, Ben Shan and Van Gogh. I am also inspired by my collections of printed matter, vintage ephemera and old publications. I archive my findings and collages on the Humble Wonder tumblr.
Photography by Swabreen Bakr
There’s a generation of young people around now that are constant hustlers, they’re trying to make their careers on their own terms while doing work that fulfills a goal that gives them more than just monetary rewards; the Philadelphia Creatives encompass that generation of people.
I met Chaisely about a little over a year ago, she’s a DJ and creator of Chick-Decks.com an online resource for her fellow female DJs. In our interview she breaks down the challenges female DJs face, what trends she’s sick of, and recommends some hot tracks to listen to, plus some advice for aspiring female DJs. Check it out!
What is your background? What got you interested in DJing? Were you self-taught?
Music has always played a really important role in my life. I started dancing at the age of 3 and continued until college. I wanted to be a ballerina growing up, but the company I was with told me it wasn’t a realistic goal for someone who’s only 5ft. Before I even thought of DJing I liked to produce and mix beats. I was also a huge nerd for mixtapes. I used to throw house parties in high-school just so I could play my CD mixes. I didn’t realize at the time, that that was DJing. During my junior year of college, I was living in NYC; while I was out one night I saw a girl at a small club manning an iPod. She didn’t have tables or any of the usual gear, but that’s when it dawned on me that I could do the same. I shopped around for the necessary gear and bought everything the next week. Everything I know was self-taught, with a few new tricks here and there that I pick up from other DJs that I get to know.
Photography: Swabreen Bakr
We visited Shawn Hileman at Masthead Print Studio in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia to talk to him about life as a freelancer, and hear what advice he has for those of you who aspire to be freelance artists. Shawn has designed posters for artists like Norah Jones, Foster the People, Ting Tings, Beirut, among others.
Check out Shawn’s work this Friday 7/13 at studio:christensen
A retrospective of work from the curators at Masthead Print Studio. Shawn Hileman, JP Flexner and James Heimer will coat the walls of studio:christensen with some of their latest posters and art prints.
333 South 20th street, Philadelphia
What’s the story behind Masthead studio and what were your goals for it?
Masthead started just as a studio and then my buddy, JP Flexner, suggested we do a show in the space. That kind of lead to doing more and more events. Now I have a show once a month. It’s a lot of work but super rewarding. The main goal of the space is to teach people about screenprinting and that you can get affordable art.
British tailor Michael J. Beaumont of Beau & Co.
What are some essential bespoke pieces you think young men should invest in?
Top 3 Tips For Dressing Well
1. Fit is crucial! The most expensive fabric will look poor if the fit is off. If you can’t find store bought items that fit how you want them too, buy something that’s close and have it altered by a good tailor…or if it’s an option, opt for custom.
2. Take care of your clothes. Along the lines of #1, it doesn’t matter how expensive your outfit was, if it’s wrinkled and dirty, you’re going to look untidy. Regularly pressing a shirt and shining your shoes is a must.
3. Find your style and go with it. Wearing something you love is great for confidence; who cares whether other people like your outfit or not, as long as you feel great, wear it with pride.
Read our exclusive interview with Beau & Co. for some more tips and knowledge on custom clothing.
Photography by: Michael Ash Imagery
Words: Swabreen Bakr
Photography: Michael Ash Imagery
Beau & Co. is a British inspired custom clothing company for men based in Philadelphia, started by Michael J. Beaumont, a 27 year old gentleman born in Blackburn, England. Beaumont has travelled quite extensively across the United States and lived in Canada; he officially launched the company in February of 2012 with the hopes of transforming the way men dress.
We spoke to him about tailoring, the differences between how American and British men approach fashion, and what men should look when deciding on a tailor and having custom clothing made.
“As a tailor, it’s really important that you deliver what the client is looking for, rather than making them something that you like.”
There’s an incredible entrepreneurial spirit sweeping across Philadelphia, young creatives are taking matters into their own hands and reshaping how we consume style, art and music. Today we profile one such creative, Erik Honesty, owner of Cultured Couture Vintage and one of the best dressed men in Philadelphia.