The State Of Building An Empire: For those who are avid readers of The Brooklyn Circus blog, seeing “Gabe The Great formerly Bay Area Gabe” is nothing new, but there might be those left scratching their heads thinking, “who exactly is this dude anyway!?” In the midst of all the chaos and politicking, we managed to link up with west coastin’ Gabe the Great, lets see how he walks the tightrope shall we?
BKC: What’s your connection to The Brooklyn Circus Gabe? I met Ouigi (The Bearded Man) at F.I.T, I think it was 2002 and he was involved with the boutique Race at the time. I remember being on the phone with him and we were talking about Race not doing too well and the potential of revamping the whole boutique environment. So I was there for the birth of The Brooklyn Circus, there was a transition that took place from the old store to what you see today as The Brooklyn Circus.
What were you doing before you linked up with The BKC? I was living in New York finishing up at F.I.T and working as a freelance graphic designer.
Where are you in the process of building the new store in San Francisco? (This question is dated May 28, 2008) We’re finally in the construction stage, we signed a lease last year and there’s been a lot of red tape and politics that we’ve had to deal with. The neighborhood is going through some changes and redevelopment so there were a lot of delays in the process and a ton of different procedures that we’ve had to go through, so finally the storefront is being knocked down as we speak and being rebuilt.
How does it make you feel? Great, its been a headache and it still is, I know there’s more to come but I feel good, I see the end result so that’s definitely a good feeling, I know there are more hurdles to jump over within the next few weeks but we’re aiming to be open the first week of July.
How did you decide to make the jump from Corporate America to a more entrepreneurial career? A lot of credit has to go to my father, he always instilled in me to do your own thing and if you have a dream you should go for it. Ouigi was a great inspiration as well, just how he was able to do what he did with the store kinda reiterated my father’s words about doing what you want, he made me see that it was possible to do what your heart desires.
How have your days been since you made the jump? Is it what you expected? Yeah, I’m a relaxed dude and I noticed that when I first made the jump I was a little casual about it because I felt like I had support from my peers and my colleagues like Ouigi and the rest of The Brooklyn Circus in Brooklyn. I felt like a lot of the groundwork was already done for me, so I went in with this casual mindset. I knew it would be tough but I had support that would help me through it. Struggle set in quick, I had bills to pay and I still had financial obligations to take care of so I had to find quick solutions. I found that I needed to really get up and hustle and be more productive and proactive, it’s been a serious learning process, for sure.
What’s your mission for The Brooklyn Circus San Francisco? People that find interest in fashion and have fun with it, I’m always on the lookout for that, my whole objective is to find those people that like to explore fashion and introduce them to The Brooklyn Circus and to also introduce the Bay Area and California in general to the New York style and expression that I fell in love with when I lived there. My objective is to bring the Bay something with the NY twist.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned? Knowing that at the end of the day that it’s all on my shoulders, I have to make ends meet, I have to make solutions out of the problems, ‘cause at the end of the day everybody has their own show going and I need to make sure that I keep my end of the bargain. The pressure is a harsh reality in some cases, but it’s refreshing to know that if I can find the answer and solve the issue it feels good, it’s a nice thing to know that you can make things happen versus always relying on others.
Would you call yourself a fashionista?(Laughs at the word fashionista) I always loved clothes and making sure that I was presentable. I remember in second grade I wore this all jean outfit and will never forget that day because I was so concerned with what I was going to wear to school that morning. I didn’t necessarily have the coolest clothes, but I had things other people didn’t have. So if the definition has anything to do with being concerned or conscious of what you wear, then yeah, call me a fashionista.
Ok, I’m looking up the definition now 1) A designer of haute couture 2) A devoted follower of fashion. Sure, sure, I’m devoted (laughs).
Reading the blog often I see Gabe likes to PAR-TAY!!!!! Is perception reality? Perception is a BI*CH! (laughs). It’s not necessarily true, the thing is I really had to come back and relearn San Francisco because I was gone for a while and I had to revisit places that I was once familiar with, so it’s important for me to be out and meet people and see how the city moves. People love to go out in San Francisco and see what’s new, I enjoy going out but it’s not necessarily my priority.
What is your thought process when putting an outfit together? Having a lot of clothes kinda works against me sometimes because it’s tough to make a decision. I just look at the weather and think about where I’m going later. I like layering, and with the city weather you never know what the temperature will be like at night.
I know you go back and forth between New York and California a lot, what are some of the major differences in style that you notice? Since California is typically a sunny state there are a lot more t-shirts. New Yorkers are a lot more conscious of what they wear and more into exploring, I love and appreciate that. Weather is a big factor, you’ll see a lot of dudes who just want to be comfortable and rock flip-flops, you probably wont see too many flip-flops on dudes in New York.
Any blogs that inspire you?
The Sartorialist for sure, but I’ll be honest I’m usually on The BKC blog so frequently I am falling back on the others. I’ve been inspired though by the Sartorialist and how he captures street fashion and people’s different looks, it’s always refreshing to see people’s different takes on fashion. I look at Hypebeast and The Freshness online magazine, also The Hundreds, I definitely support stuff that they’ve done and brought to fashion.
The top 3 places you’ve traveled to: Tokyo was an experience of a lifetime, for sure. I think it was a moment for me where I realized how much I loved traveling and how much I loved fashion and how the Japanese in particular portray their style. I love New York; if I could live in two places it would have to be New York and here (SF). I enjoy LA for weekend visits, I can’t see myself living there but I love doses of LA…Oh, and I love Miami for it’s weather, beaches and the architecture, it’s just fun, cool to experience. Wait was that three?
What item should every man have in his closet? A solid pair of jeans and a nice pair of shoes.
Interview by Ganeka Gray for The Brooklyn Circus