Big Up to my Brooklynites in this one…
These are your average Brooklyn natives that just so happen to rap, have a blog and … own their own bow tie company. Wasn’t expecting that one, huh? The company is called brueklen., it’s run by a group called the BKBOYEEZ and the ties are awesome. I actually wouldn’t have thought to put a bow tie in my fashion arsenal until I seen a couple of their pieces in the collection. I’m kinda upset my favorite one is sold out (-__-) LOL. But anyway, the latest installment of Tell Your Story w/ the BKBOYEEZ…
All we wanna do is create. Create dope ideals, break barriers, meet like-minded enthusiasts, cyph & create some more! I mean c’mon- we got fashion. We write music. We love art. We cultured and We REP BROOKLYN! ..Crazy isn’t it? – BKBOYEEZ
Tell me about the names, BKBOYEEZ & brueklen. I particularly want to know because I’m a Brooklynite and my twitter name happens to be @breuckelen_.
Brooklyn is where we’re from and we wanted to put a twist on the iconic name. We went back to the origins of the name Brooklyn, derived from the Dutch, the “first settlers of the land”- and took artistic liberties in creating what you now know as: brueklen.
How did you guys start?
Ironically, we started out as a trio of artists from Brooklyn; professional dancers working in the concert dance and entertainment industry. The trio consisted of Demar Braxton, Danion Lewis & Andre Irons. We always felt that we had something to say, so we created a platform that would allow us to fulfill that. We created a blog site in the Spring of ’09 that would introduce ourselves and our viewpoints to the World. But more importantly, we wanted our blog to highlight our hometown of Brooklyn and our own collective endeavors.
Dre: I’ve always loved the Arts & I love creating something out of nothing. At the beginning of this journey I felt like I had nothing. I rang in 2009 with a major injury & was soon unemployed. The healing process to my dislocated knee was long & strenuous, I was bored & angry at not being able to dance/perform indefinitely and I needed an escape. I wanted to create something, but most importantly, I wanted it to be my own. I wanted to be a business, man!
Dee: The foundation of my training is you must be able to do everything! So when I got to the point where dance was no longer fulfilling I walked away with sewing skills, lighting and creative directing skills as well as a host of others that are applied to our business every day. I was lucky to have an outlet where I could exercise those skills. I always dreamed of being a designer, but I never thought it would be like this. We just had so many ideas and little means to produce them. The most important idea of all was creating something that was ours.
Tell me about the creative minds behind the bow ties and the blog?
Our blog in its initial form was designed to be an online magazine where we featured everything Brooklyn, from stores to restaurants to burgeoning artists from the area. We created an urban intellectual online forum that was buzzing with fashion tips, life lessons, places to go, people to meet …it was awesome! It was fulfilling. But it didn’t generate any money, and we had to create something that would! We chose bow ties because it’s what we were into at the time. Our first collection was literally made from the clothes off our backs. We had no idea that what we were embarking on was soon to become one of the biggest revival trends still to date. It was interesting to see something that we thought was cool was now becoming a huge part of current pop culture. We had to find a way to capitalize off of that and bring something different that still represented us and where were from.
Which bow ties are your favorites?
Dee: My favorites are the Mosaic print and the Leopard pieces. I really enjoy the prints. I tend to go for the really bold patterns and pair them with solids, so that they really stand out.
Dre: My favorite bow ties are Kensington [Black/Red] because they’re both timeless, classic pieces that can always be worn dressed up or down and still make a statement. My second favorite is Sunset Park. I love this particular bow tie because it’s different every time it’s produced. No two will ever be identical; therefore every customer will have their own ”custom” piece of Sunset Park.
What about the 2011 brueklen. Look book?
Our 2011 Look book was a great challenge. For a lack of better phasing: We were virgins at it! We never created a look book before, but we knew if it didn’t surpass the success of our first featured 2011 bow tie collection, it had to at least supplement it. We teamed up with Jonathan Joseph of BoyAndSheep Design, gathered a few of our BoYeeZ, created various looks around the bow ties we designed, scouted locations throughout Brooklyn and went to work! Yeah, there were obstacles thrown at us along the way, but why focus on those when the outcome was nothing shy of everything we thought it would be! Every page in that book from cover-to-cover was all the work of the BKBOYEEZ- from layout to styling to concept. We still look at it to this day in awe that we could envision & execute something so professional, so current and something we could all be proud of.
What kinds of things do you look for when create your Look book?
Our look book has to complement the collection we’re creating it for. We look for models that are good-looking, but relatable to our target audience and we try to scout locations that represent our brand, our lifestyle and our neighborhood.
What are some of your favorite looks in fashion?
Dee: Hmm… Honestly right now I can say that I don’t have any. I try not to pay too much attention to what fashion dictates as “hot”. I dress how I feel and I take the same approach when I’m styling. I feel that someone who has a sense of style draws from all walks of fashion. Of course, you want your looks to reflect what’s current, but you also want the viewer to know that a creative mind, not a commercial mind, put it together.
Dre: I love clean lines and can always go for a military or preppy business casual look with a lil’ pop of Brooklyn swag, of course! I love the use of color in Mens fashion these days too; pastel colored trousers, tailored blazers, custom-made shoes… anything DOPE I can rock a “brueklen.” bow tie with.
What inspires you all?
Dee: Doing the things I love and being able to create the things I see in my head.
Dre: Art. Travel. Music. Success!
What are some of the new projects you are working on?
It seems like we’re always working on a new project, which is a blessing. We’re in the process of launching a woman’s line, which we just shot our look book for & we’re really proud of it! There was a great demand from our female clientele, so we can’t wait to hear the feedback and see what direction it’ll take us. And we’re also brewing up a Mens Summer collection that everyone should look out for too.
Tell me some more about your musical background, like the type of music it is, the message behind it.
We write when we’re moved by the musical composition, which will in essence, dictates the content of the songs we come up with. When we first began songwriting, we were your typical Wild Party BoYeeZ- out all night, every night boozing and enjoying our youth. A lot of our first songs were party tracks- high-energy, very percussive, up-tempo songs with a retro New Age feel to it. They could bump in any club! But we needed versatility so we threw in a couple of love songs and break-up songs in the mix for reality sake, of course! LOL. In any of these songs you could either find a hot 16 being spit by FaBid and some sweet crooning by Dre, or vice versa. The studio was fun. We need to get back in there…
Finally, what makes you all BKBOYEEZ? LOL.
This is where we’re from. This is where we always come back to. What makes us BKBOYEEZ is our unrelenting love & pride for our borough. We rep BK everywhere we go. We believe a true BKBoYee has an innate sense of individuality & a hustler’s spirit- honing the perfect balance of confidence and cockiness.
I think I’m gonna need a brueklen. made bow tie after reading that.
I want to thank Dre and Dee of the BKBOYEEZ (above) & their company, brueklen. for the great interview, very informative and in-depth. I definitely enjoyed it and appreciate you taking the time out to do the interview with me. I hope all of you reading the article enjoyed it as well. Look out for everything they mentioned above, the new collection, the look book, everything.
I also want to thank my good friend Chris for putting me on to them.
Check out everything brueklen. below. Def show them some love…
I’m outta here…
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Twitter: @audioEMIT & @Breuckelen_
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