When Ghana-born, Toronto-based Roger Brown decided to venture beyond his day job in finance to pursue fashion, he knew that what he created had to stand out.
The result is Barracks, a line of army-inspired essentials that you can wear to work or for a workout. The military influence comes through in both the aesthetic and philosophy of the brand; t-shirts and hoodies often bare either the brand’s signature camouflage print or its ethos ‘March Forward’.
In our chat with Roger, we discuss where the March Forward slogan stems from, his thoughts on the future of streetwear and what’s next for Barracks.
Last month Virgil Abloh spoke about what he believed to be the imminent death of streetwear. With Barracks being a streetwear brand, how did that make you feel?
Elements of what he said was true. It has something to do with fast fashion, following trends and having new things all the time. With our culture, and how we consume anything, it’s about convenience and it’s about fast frequency. With that being said, with Barracks, I would classify what we design as essentials, not streetwear. Where we differentiate ourselves and how we try to connect with our audience is through our messaging and through our community events.
Where did the March Forward philosophy come about?
March Forward circles back the military mindset. Soldiers march forward to achieve whatever they want to achieve as a team. With the military, there is a visual and an aesthetic that transcends gender, age and music genre. It is part of the fabric of our everyday lives.
Was gender-fluid clothing an important aspect of your brand?
Absolutely. Self expression should be fluid.
You’ve done some pop-ups in the past. Is an IRL brick and mortar store something that you want for Barracks, with so much retail migrating online?
We will still do pop-up shops because it brings people together. And for customers to have a feel for the product is very important for me. It’s very different when you’re looking at something on your screen versus having it it front of you, touching it, and having conversations around what really inspired that collection. It makes all the difference.
In this day and age, if you’re an apparel brand you have to have an omni-channel strategy and having a strong presence online is a big part of that because thats where we all live – whether we like it or not. We wake up to it and fall asleep to it, so it’s important to not only be there but to also be unique around your presentation online.