August 11, 2016
Before moving to Brooklyn nearly eight years ago, I often fantasized about what living in the city would be like. I imagined block parties by the dozen, rum-punch filled house parties by the handful. Then waking up on a roof, the backdrop a sunrise, and the most beautiful, often clandestine brownstones you could envision. Admittedly, the borough has seen some drastic changes over the years. And depending on who you ask, it could be a good or bad thing. But for me, certain aspects of my ‘hood still manage to evoke nostalgic feelings. One of them happens to be The Brooklyn Circus. The store, nestled in the middle of Boerum Hill, acts not only as a destination boutique for men, but caters to a cultural hub for the coolest, best-dressed tastemakers in the city.
Having attended an HBCU [Hampton University], the Brooklyn Circus was considered the place to be/go/hang if you had ambitions of owning your own sense of impeccable style. I can’t place exactly when I heard about the boutique, but I do remember admiring the effortless mix of vintage-inspired pieces with modern touches. Intimate in size but rich in curation, it’s easy to get lost in the variety of sleek sneakers, hand-crafted pocket knives, and of course, must-have branded merch.
At the heart of the brand is their founder and owner Ouigi Theodore, playfully known as the “Bearded Man” in most style and social circles. A dedicated, and equally style adept team anchors the brand, Kasheem Black, Brandon Nichols, and Delon George. We caught up with the fab three to discuss their thoughts on style, history, and of course, grooming.
BevelCode: What impact do you think that the BKc has had on the area of Brooklyn and beyond?
Delon: Brooklyn has evolved and morphed into an entity that’s bigger than the [borough] itself—it’s now a culture. Us having the borough in its name spearheaded this Brooklyn Renaissance we are now witnessing. The clothing and the brand embodies and personifies a culture many individuals from across the world want to emulate.
Kasheem: Whether it be Japan, Sweden or the Caribbean, we embrace local culture and ultimately build a village around this culture. We now call that approach “The Global Village.”
BC: How has the brand helped refine the image of urban America through clothing?
Delon: It all depends on the perspective of what “urban America” is. Many narratives of how “urban” is perceived tend to be quite dogmatic. So in short, the brand didn’t help “refine” the urban image, it gave voice to the other aspects of urban that the majority were not hip to.
Brandon: The name “Brooklyn” is its own trademark. No matter where you are in the world, a good amount of people know or can immediately identify and relate to the name Brooklyn. Whether it’s from Brooklyn-bred artists that are known internationally, such as Notorious B.I.G., or how it’s shown on television. With that being said, since it is in our brand name and does represent our love for Brooklyn culture, it only amplifies what we are trying to do which is continue the 100-Year Plan and raise the awareness.
BC: How does the the BKc play such a pivotal role in American menswear fashion today? What makes it different from other menswear labels?
Brandon: The BKc has played a pivotal role in ways that other brands haven’t. That is, always redefining the classic heritage look. It’s always important for us to use old style queues, yet incorporate a modern look without compromising the “old.” What ultimately differentiates the BKc is how we promote longevity in our clothing. A perfect example is our varsity trade-in program. If a jacket isn’t passed down to a family or friend, we are more than happy to take the old jacket and put a credit towards a new one. This is a great way for us to archive and show the aging process of our clothing and continue to use the “recent” as inspiration.
BC: Obviously there’s a historical context behind BKc, however in what ways does the brand stay current and fresh? What can we expect next?
Delon: History tends to repeat itself, by studying and being aware of said history, staying “fresh” is inevitable. You can expect innovative ways to wear past trends and even meshing historical or vintage content into something that no one today would ever think of resurrecting nor creating.
BC: How do you take care of your beard? How does your beard embody your approach to personal style?
Kasheem: My go-to product when it comes to grooming is this beard balm by the name of Babe of Brooklyn. It keeps my beard conditioned, promotes easier growth within the skin and gives it the right amount of sheen it needs to not look oily or shiny like shoe polish. That along with a hair pick and brush keeps things in order.
Brandon: When it comes to grooming, I use a trimmer for longer hairs, and a foil razor for short hairs. I use electric shavers because it is easier to replace and shave.
BC: When it comes to grooming, what are your go-to products and tools to use and why?
Delon: I use clippers to shave and trim simply because I’m prone to ingrown facial hairs and that has been the best solution to that problem for me.
BC: If you could describe your style in a couple of words, what would you say? How do you incorporate pieces from the store into your everyday look?
Brandon: I like to mesh all styles together. But specifically I’d call my style sportswear chic. I derived heavily in sportswear fashion, so it has always been of my liking with bits and pieces of tailored and heritage style, mostly thanks to the BKc for exposing me more to that in my younger years. Now that I’m so used to wearing at least one BKc piece a day, it’s almost second nature for me to incorporate a piece. I have no preference of what to wear, just as long as it falls into the boundaries of what a color pallet, etc.
Kasheem: As a man of many styles, my favorite is a combination of both workwear and what the urban community might call streetwear. An assortment of heavy twills, leathers and denim mixed with well designed graphic tees and baseball caps from The Brooklyn Circus always makes my cypher complete.
Delon: I would say that my style can be described as kind of “boring experimentations” because I gravitate to muted, darker colors, more so than brighter pop colors. With my look I always try to incorporate an unorthodox method of wearing items.