Delon and Kash
For Adam and Eve, it was the fig leaf. For Simon and Garfunkel, the turtleneck. And for Penn and Teller, the pinstripe suit. Throughout history, humans have subscribed to tribes – and in turn, the tribe’s uniform.
When we met up with Delon George and Kasheem Black, we talked extensively about uniform. Particularly, the uniform of their own tribe, heavily influenced and inspired by The Brooklyn Circus.
When it comes to lifestyle clothing for the finely dressed man, The Brooklyn Circus (BKc) is an institution, despite only opening its doors less than 10 years ago. Shortly after its opening, at the age of 14, Delon and Kash were attending the Brooklyn High School of the Arts, just a block away from the newly established shop.
“We were the fresh guys in school” says Delon. “Our school was full of really talented artists, and everyone was making cool stuff. We were always looking for new ways to stand out and dress different than everybody else.”
Unaware of the shop around the corner, the two friends found themselves regularly scouring the internet for inspiration on their unique style. But it wasn’t long before they stumbled across The BKc.
“I was a big polo-head and sneaker-head,” says Kash, with a smile. “At the time, the Brooklyn Circus was in more of a streetwear phase. I just remember thinking ‘these guys dress cool as fuck, and they’re from where I’m from.’ We just kept going there and kept shopping until it became a regular hangout spot.”
Over the course of their sophomore year, the two began visiting the shop daily. “As time went on Colin and Bevin, the two ambassadors of the BKc, and eventually our managers, kind of adopted us and included us in their circle of peers. To this day we are all great friends.”
Delon and Kash continued to take queues from the brilliance of the BKc streetwear approach and applied them to what would slowly move from a passion to an established brand and business: Team Sanchez New York (TSNY).
“Team Sanchez was actually started before I even knew about Brooklyn Circus,” recalls Kash. The original idea was formed when the two were in high school by Kash’s cousin and now Team Sanchez Creative Director, Kevin Young. “My cousin was an artist working on a mixtape with his comedian friend Davari (Miller) when he decided he needed to develop some merch to promote it.” The first piece from TSNY was a graphic tee with an image of a man with a crazed face that read “Dirty Sanchez” in a handwritten script. The shirt was a hit, and the brand was formed.
“We were artists, so we just kept designing shirts, but we didn’t really have a logo. Davari always said the phrase ‘go ham’ when he was on the radio, and I had the idea to turn it into a shirt.” The result was another tee, this time with a large print of a pig on the front. “It was crazy – we printed the shirt and the shirt sold out. We printed more and that batch sold out. From there we just kept designing things and haven’t looked back.”
Kash and Delon’s love of BKc influenced and fueled their passion for TSNY. Team Sanchez had set its course, bringing together hip hop, comedy, and Brooklyn cultures under one roof.
Shortly after the end of their high school days, Delon and Kash joined The Brooklyn Circus as interns. It was also around that time that the BKc began to make a transition from streetwear to a focus on American heritage products. “We were essentially thrown into the field that we were working in. We had a lot of assigned reading when we first started. Ouigi (the founder of BKc) had a great way of providing us with nutrients to make us professionals and to get to his level of knowledge.” Rather than just observing from the outside in, the two began to transition into the role of the archetype. What started as seeing and emulating shifted into a role of understanding. Which then evolved, eventually, to creating.
“When I started, I remember wearing the same pair of raw selvedge jeans and a tailored button-up shirt every day from September until April. It was a simple uniform. But over time it became a formula instead of a uniform. We began to add and subtract different variables to make our own.” The uniform shifted as their passions and knowledge expanded. New brands would appear, be vetted against their evolving filters, then applied or discarded. These traditional sneaker-head kids had evolved in that they didn’t simply change styles, but rather they included new ones – like colors added to a palette. The result was a confluence of new and old – most often expressed through combinations of loud printed hats and tees, tucked neatly into well tailored selvedge denim and Wolverine boots – a formulaic look of bold statements married with classic, core pieces of traditional menswear.
Today, Kash is now managing operations for The Brooklyn Circus, and Team Sanchez has matured far beyond its high school days. “It’s like we inherited a car, and now we’re rebuilding the engine,” says Delon. “We’re really making it our own. We got to the point when we realized these guys are us. It’s not for a skater’s point of view, a surfer’s point of view, or a Manhattan kid’s point of view. It’s for a Brooklyn kid’s point of view. Someone who’s just like us.”
Kash and Delon have poured endless late nights into shaping the Team Sanchez brand into one of movement, following their predecessors down a path of great influence. “The Brooklyn Circus is so much more mature and more experienced,” Kash explains. “In so many ways, it set the stage for brands like TSNY. We just want to be the rowdy little brother.” And rowdy little brother they are. Team Sanchez’ pieces offer a proper gut check with loud prints and bold statements like “Dream Killers” and “FXCK YOUR BRAND.”
“It’s like we went to culinary school to make the world’s best bowl of cereal.” Delon explains. Amidst a growing sea of brands that are copying each others’ products and making duplicates of duplicates, their approach is certainly a breath of fresh air.
“It’s like we went to culinary school to make the world’s best bowl of cereal.”
Ultimately, Team Sanchez has set their sights on opening a retail store. The impetus is a combination of creative ambition, the desire to grow their brand, and to give back.
“Team Sanchez’s plan is to open up a creative-retail space to cater to all the cool creatives we know – whether it’s through music, art, video, or fashion. A place of not only business through art, but also a place of comfort where we can push our culture forward and create a foundation for others.”
“Just like The Brooklyn Circus did for us.”