The Brooklyn Circus is starting off the year with a major collaboration.
The Brooklyn-based prepwear brand founded and creative-directed by Ouigi Theodore is teaming with Gap on an academia-inspired capsule collection that launches Tuesday. The collection offers men’s, women’s and kids’ styles that fuse both brands’ heritage aesthetics.
“My history with the Gap is in the late ‘80s when I was heading off to high school I got the opportunity to go shopping, but I didn’t have enough money to necessarily shop at some of the bigger brands and houses. So I decided to get as creative as possible with the budget and headed off to the Gap and put together some classic pieces I felt would carry me through the first few weeks of the school year,” Theodore said about his personal ties to Gap.
Theodore, who has consistently looked to American history, Black culture, academia and his upbringing for his designs, was inspired by Gap’s heritage as a classic American fashion brand for the collection. When designing the capsule, Theodore took inspiration from Gap’s launch year of 1969, specifically looking to the events at Cornell University that year where Black students were protesting institutionalized racism and fighting for the school to create an African American Studies program.
The academic inspiration comes through in many pieces in the collection, such as the bucket hat that reads “Power” on one side and “Student” on the other and a reimagined version of Gap’s classic hoodie that includes a stacked logo.
As The Brooklyn Circus is known for its bestselling varsity jackets, Theodore included the style in the collection, creating a black, minimalist version of the classic style.
“[The collection] is unique in the sense of it gives us the opportunity to really reach a customer we know wanted to walk into the Brooklyn Circus, but maybe couldn’t or maybe purchased the varsity jacket in the past,” Theodore said. “With the Gap and its recent collaborations, one went really far out when you think about what Ye and Yeezy have done. And then Dapper Dan himself went into sort of the remake and glam, heavy on the prints from that perspective because that’s Dapper. We came right through the middle in taking The Brooklyn Circus to the Gap customer, but taking Gap to The Brooklyn Circus customer.”
Collaborations are a big part of The Brooklyn Circus’ business strategy. Over the last few years the brand has collaborated with Lee, Todd Snyder and Jack Daniels.
Theodore also appears in the ad campaign for the Gap x The Brooklyn Circus collection, appearing alongside model Indya Moore, actor Javon Walton, activist Bethann Hardison and others. The campaign also features Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who passed away last month. Gap and The Brooklyn Circus are dedicating the campaign to Boss.
“tWitch was a friend, a client, a collaborator and a big advocate of The Brooklyn Circus,” Theodore said. “His energy on set, his energy in real life — it just hurts to know that he’s not around to see this campaign roll out. He sent me a text 10 days before his passing and a month after shooting the campaign. It was just praise on what we do as a brand and just the way he felt about being on set and on this project.”
The Gap x The Brooklyn Circus collection will be available at Gap stores and online, with exclusive pieces available at The Brooklyn Circus’ flagship store. Prices range from $9.95 for a pack of pins to $149.95 for the varsity jacket.