Man of Style: Ouigi Theodore

There’s just something about the confident cool of entrepreneur OUIGI THEODORE that intrigues and makes people take notice. I first read about Ouigi in the New York Times last year and every since then he’s been popping up everywhere and he’s so thoroughly fascinating that I thought it was time to write about him.

I’ve profiled the rebirth of dandyism among urban youth on Zavvi Rodaine before, but Ouigi’s story is unique because he founded the retro-urban fashion boutique, Brooklyn Circus with a start-up budget of just $8000 and is now a fixture on the New York fashion scene known for his retro-preppy style and savvy business acumen. And Ouigi definitely knows how to build a brand. Since opening his flagship store in Brooklyn in 2006, Brooklyn Circus has expanded to San Francisco and the label is very popular in Sweden and Japan as well.

So, who is this influencer? What’s he all about? For that, I’ll let Ouigi speak for himself…here are some words of wisdom from The Bearded Man of Brooklyn:

“Urban always had a style to it, a swagger, but it came with baggage, too — overuse of the ‘N’ word, the pants sagging and it created this stigma. When I travel overseas, people see the way we dress and say: ‘You guys don’t listen to hip-hop. You’re not urban.’ Yes, we are.”

On naming his boutique Brooklyn Circus:
“Circus for us is just that chaos, that orchestrated, organized confusion. It’s not for the old, it’s not for the young. It’s not black, it’s not white.”

“The term that we’ve coined is tailored casual. It’s really paying homage to the past and the tailored elements. Our aesthetic pulls from the past and brings it forward.”

“It would be a shame if American fashion or heritage or American made products go out of style. We’d like to show that Americans are not these bullies, or filled with egos, but that we actually have so much we’ve created and want to share with the world.”

“Every look expresses something about the layers of my personality and experiences… I am influenced by everything that surrounds me, which eventually finds it’s way into my style – that’s why I’m very careful about what I surround myself with.”

“My advice on finding your style is to keep it personal. If you see something in a movie, on someone, or in a store, always think about how it will look on you. Not how it looks on someone else or on the shelf.”

“The women in my life have nurtured my creativity, treated me like a king and gave me all the love they had in their hearts. They mentally and emotionally invested in my dream. My girlfriend always listens to my wild ideas and helps promote my vision.”

“The pain of hard work is temporary, read, read, read and then read some more. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid to fail, yet always work to succeed. Don’t regret anything, it’s all experience.”

“The human mind is an amazing instrument, take charge of it and it’s incredible what you can overcome.”

Ouigi with venerable street-style photographer Scott Schuman

“Our goal is to refine the image of urban America. My dream is to see guys hanging on the corner in suits.”

Photos: Brooklyn Circus, Philly.com, Street Etiquette and The Sartorialist

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