Friday, January 23, 2015

Fridays with Foz: Brian Falgoust from Welcome Stranger

Back in November, Leland and the Revive crew participated in the Makers Route project with Makers Workshop & Welcome Stranger. I was fortunate enough to get Brian Falgoust, of Welcome Stranger to chat a little bit about the Makers Route project, his work and what his perfect night involves.
Tin Type taken by Giles Clement at the Makers Route party in Portland! 

Fozzie: Hi Brian, thanks so much for taking the time. First off, I was wondering a bit about your background, have you always been in the fashion industry?

Brian Falgoust: I actually studied Musical Theatre in high school and college, so I've spent the better part of my young adult/adult life performing and traveling with different companies.  I started in the apparel industry when I was 19, just as a day job, and quickly found a second passion in apparel/design.  After taking a break from performing and relocating to the Bay Area, I found myself again in the retail and apparel industry, and began building a relationship with the company I currently work for, The Azalea SF Company, which Welcome Stranger is a part of.  It has been really wonderful dipping my hands into all aspects of the company and the Welcome Stranger line, from store management to social media to close discussions with our buyers on different designers, brands, and collaborators. 

F: How'd did you come to work for Welcome Stranger?

B: I actually started off as a sales associate, and I had some management experience previous to joining the company. So when a management position became available, I took that position. As I started learning more about the company and Welcome Stranger, I began taking on more responsibility in social media and marketing, and became more involved in discussion about design and future brand development.

F: What was it about this company that drew you in?

B: From beauty products to interior design, I love well crafted items that have a story.  Welcome Stranger is such a quality brand with a specific customer that is super appealing to me personally. Every item in the collection and in the store is an item I would wear.  It's also great to work for a brand made locally in San Francisco, and to see the process of a locally made brand.

F: Leland was really excited to participate in the Makers Route Project, can you tell me what inspired the whole trip?

I knew Lindsey from when I was living in Louisiana. We had mutual friends in common in the design and apparel industry.  With the success of her MakersWorkshop, and my own admiration of her work, I saw it as an opportunity to not only work with someone I knew and loved personally, but also respected and knew would understand Welcome Stranger's path and vision.  So Lindsey, myself, and the Welcome Stranger team began brainstorming on what we could do to reach out further than the SF bay area, and gain a wider audience not only on social media, but able to get real product into the hands of real makers.  Lindsey, being the sweetest person around, created the idea of of the Road Trip to showcase our product on real people, and to showcase people we as a brand are influenced by. It really ended up coming together in a super special way, and I think we're all happy with the results.  She's created amazing photographs and content that we can use continuously, and we were able to get our items into the hands of people who support the American Made movement.

F: Everyone at Revive really loves the clothing line, and both Kelly and Chelsea wanted to know if you'll be expanding the line to women?

B: We have women, almost daily, who come into our shop and say "Wow, I wish you guys had a women's store!"  So this has definitely sparked our interest in the possibility of branching into women's wear.  Who knows if that will come to fruition, but it is nice to know there are women who like our work.

F: Do you think there is a correlation between fashion and interior design? 

B: I definitely see a correlation between fashion and interior design. I think certain aesthetics in fashion apply to interior design.   A man who wears more traditional, rugged menswear, often has a reflective interest in home and interior design.  You'll also find minimalist style correlating to a more minimalist interest in interior design.  For some people, juxtaposition is of interest, and I find especially with some of our Welcome Stranger customers, they'll lean toward rugged menswear, yet purchase something like Hasami mugs, which are super minimal and modern.  

F: Who do you think sets the trends, the fashion world or the interior design world?

B: I feel that's tough to say.  I feel interior design and fashion design are inspired by each other in many cases.  There are, of course, certain trends in the art world, colors/textiles/lines etc that will always "trend" and find themselves in fashion/design.

F: Do you have a favorite designer?

B: It's always so tough to answer this question.  As far as women's wear, I always lean towards modern lines with classic looks - Celine, Jil Sander, Helmut Lang.  For menswear, it's all over the place.  I have more experience in menswear, and of course wear it every day.  I love Norse Projects for men, I love classic American lines like Woolrich.  Mark McNairy is another American Made designer who's been making a big noise lately. His stuff is super fun and quirky and really colorful.  I own a couple of items of his work, and they are such quality products. We recently began carrying a London based brand, Uniform Wares, at our flagship Welcome Stranger store, and their menswear is really great - utilitarian in ways, with pops of prints and colors that make it stand out.  As far as luxury menswear, Thom Brown and Tom Ford are at the top.

F: What are some of your favorite activities outside of your work?

B: Outside of my jobs with the company, I still enjoy dancing and performing when I can - I sing in a band, and take dance and yoga classes.  I also enjoy hiking and camping and traveling whenever I can! But if we're being completely honest, a night in on tumblr with a bottle of red wine is truly one of my greatest joys.

F: As an avid hiker myself, what's one of your favorite places to take a walk?

B: I grew up in small town, Cajun Country Louisiana.  My back yard was about 300 yards deep of sugar cane, and behind that woods and swamps.  If I had a favorite, it would be walking through the fields/swamps behind my house.  Other than that, I love walking in SF.  It's city of EPIC views at every turn.  In the Richmond district of San Francisco, you can walk up to the top of the hill and see the Marin headlands and the Golden Gate bridge - it's a trek uphill for sure, but once you're at the top the view is insane! Definitely a favorite area to explore in San Francisco.

It was so great getting to connect with Brian and learn a little more about Welcome Stranger. Follow Welcome Stranger on Instagram (@welcomestranger) , Facebook, Twitter (@welcomestrangr), and Tumblr.

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