Strolling down the street in the Fillmore Western Addition area of San Francisco is not the same experience it used to be. What was once a penurious array of closed storefronts and roach-ridden restaurants has transformed into a newly revitalized area that fosters the arts and innovative new businesses.
Enter Gabe Garcia and Brooklyn Circus. Hailing from the Bay Area, the young entrepreneur developed an eye for fashion at an early age. He charmingly recalls being “cool for school” and voted “Best Dressed” at his Oakland middle school. After graduating with a degree in advertising and design from FIT, Garcia met his now business partner, Ouigi Theodore, while living in Brooklyn. The two creative individuals decided to team up and open a boutique together, and Brooklyn Circus was born. Theodore and Garcia started designing and pressing their own shirts to sell at their store, which originally carried other designers as well. Only six months into their venture they shifted to exclusively selling their Brooklyn Circus brand due to its immense success. After expanding their line Garcia decided to return to the Bay Area, bringing with him what he calls “a slice of New York” to the urban and eclectic fashion scene in SF.
One enters his store on Fillmore Street and is greeted by rhythmic hip-hop melodies, wafting from speakers outside the store. The space, with hammered tin ceilings, rich red accents, quirky antiques and ’30s barber-shop inspired décor, complements the apparel that Garcia and Theodore have spent years perfecting. The line consists of pieces that Garcia describes as a “modern interpretation of classic style.” Garcia cites Ralph Lauren’s timeless style as inspiration. Combine the venerableness of Ralph Lauren and set it to the beat of The Roots and you have Brooklyn Circus. The pieces are functional and classic, but with an unmistakable urban edge. T-shirts and sweatshirts with clever designs and splashes of color dominate the line, which also includes an assortment of accessories, all with an emphasis on travel.
Garcia terms Brooklyn Circus a “lifestyle brand”—one that embraces the social as well as the aesthetic lives of its consumers. Appropriately, Garcia and Theodore communicate to their demographic not only through fashion, but also through their love of music. Eager to contribute to the renewal of the Fillmore area, Garcia and the boys at Brooklyn Circus host “Le Cirque” at Yoshi’s on Fillmore every Thursday night, featuring guest DJs spinning hip-hop, funk and soul. One can always count on an eclectic and modish turn out.
Certainly, in keeping with their slogan “Experience is everything,” Brooklyn Circus is one experience you do not want to miss.
TEXT BY Kristel Peterson
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Rhiannon Nicole Anderson