The Passport Project: Kenji Summers. Last week we took a trip to our hat factory to walk Kenji through the process of how our hats are made and have him touch the experienced hands that carefully tend to every step of the hat making process. We later sat down with him to discuss his Passport Project and where his travels will take him & his growing collection of BKc caps.
The Passport Project is a coalition whose purpose is to inspire young people (starting with Americans), to get passports, travel, and participate positively in global culture. Kenji began the work of the coalition by forming an annual fellowship that covers the passport application fees and first international trip for young, creative individuals who do not have the resources to go abroad.
What inspired you to launch the Passport Project?
Passport Project came about because I was in my first job out of college and ran across a song on a blog, the remix of Paris, Tokyo by Lupe Fiasco, and I was inspired to get my first passport. Pharrell rapped, “Fly to Paris and end up in Tokyo/Let’s start a coalition so even the broke could go…” months later I celebrated my birthday in Barcelona, Spain. My trip to Barcelona transformed me and motivated me to find out more about how to provide this experience to more young people.
What countries are you guys planning to visit?
South Africa, Germany, France, and England.
Any alarming statistics on young Americans and traveling or passports?
The statistic I consistently bring up is that 36% of Americans ages 18-29 own a passport. But to go deeper, only 21% of Black Americans ages 18-29 own a passport. Lastly, there is a considerable correlation between passports and median income (.81) and passports and higher education (.80) Basically, people with more money and higher education are more likely to have a passport and travel internationally. The youth are our best chance of bringing America into the globalized future and we need to invest in them today.
What is your relationship with The Brooklyn Circus?
The Brooklyn Circus is family. I look up to Ouigi and Gabe like older brothers. Several months ago I took a look at my wardrobe and realized that I had very few items that I felt I could pass down to the next generation, so I took a step back and decided to give away a lot of my clothes and focus on rebuilding with BKc as my anchor – my close friends asked why and I explained to them I believe in the values of the brand as much as I enjoy the timeless style of the clothing. Moving forward, as I travel the world, I will be experiencing different cultures and bringing back native fabrics for The Brooklyn Circus to use in new BKc caps and hats.
How has the 100 Year plan inspired you?
I keep the 100 Year Plan on the wall of my home office as a reminder of the long term vision that I am working towards. I integrate the seven points of the 100 Year Plan into my work on Passport Project – using it as a filter for individuals, non-profit and for profit companies that ask to be part of the Passport Project coalition.
Three principles you live by
Lead with love. There is no failure, only feedback. Leave a legacy.
Top 5 travel must haves Passport, water bottle, moleskin journal, iPhone, and headphones.
Star Spangled Banner: Spring Summer cap series: With the opening of The POP SHOP being such a success, this spring leading into the summer we decided to have fun in certain areas that we previously could not explore with the BKc. As we expand and explore the sportier side of things and separate The Brooklyn Circus from the BKc, our timing in design exploration couldn’t have been better. The response to the POP SHOP based on our relationship with sneaker company PF FLYERS to expanding our sportswear offering and now our new series of Spring Summer caps has been TREMENDOUS! With such great response we released our first series of Sportswear, fashion inspired caps. The Star Spangled Banner cap is part of the greatness to come. Now available at The Brooklyn Circus NYc, SF, Worldwide & online. www.thebkcircus.com
The Brooklyn Circus presents Freedom Hall at Liberty Fairs: The news has been buzzing in cutting rooms across the world and corporate fashion offices from the garment district to the streets of London. We are here to officially announce and confirm the rumors, Yep! it is official we are involved and have creatively partnered with the LIBERTY FAIRS show. Stay tuned for more on what our plans are, what the last few weeks of strategy have been like and what to expect at the show in July (NYc) & August (Vegas). Industry secrets not included, but other secrets may be shared, STAY TUNED!
WHAT’S LIBERTY FAIRS:
Liberty Fairs, the new brainchild of Sam Ben-Avraham ushers in a new era in fashion trade events. Its unparalleled commitment to community, service, education and innovation results in a 360-degree commerce-centric platform that propels the industry forward.
It showcases the world’s best brands and attracts the best buyers with a focus on curation, exploration, education and brand storytelling.
CONSCIOUSLY CURATED // INSPIRED BY INNOVATION POWERED BY CREATIVITY // DEFINED BY COMMUNITY
Where do we begin: The past few months have been a roller coaster of events, meetings, situations and great deals. We are so happy to report that 2013 is shaping out to be one of the strongest years for us as a company and a brand. As much as instagram helps us report quickly and keep you updated, we do miss the process of putting together a blog post and giving you a fuller view into what we are up to. Follow us on instagram, but remember to come over to the blog for more detailed information about The Brooklyn Circus & BKc journey. Follow us on instagram today Worldwide @thebkcircus || San Francisco @thebkcircussf. The next few weeks, we’ll do our best to give you a complete report of what is happening in our fun, US made, vintage filled journey towards our 100 year Plan.
UPDATE: We’ve welcomed several brands who’ve developed processes that we were huge fans of, brands that we admired what they stood for as well as what they produced. Help us in welcoming the following brands to The Brooklyn Circus NYc. Rising Sun, Rogue Territory, Han Kjobenhavn, Book titles from My Freedamn by Rin Tanaka, Men’s File