Born on the East Coast and steeped in the vibrant culture of New York City, Isidoro Francisco stands as the creative force behind the renowned brand ‘boys of new york’. Hailing from New Jersey and having soaked in the Big Apple’s spirit for over two decades, Isidoro’s designs are a manifestation of his Dominican and Peruvian heritage, and his fervent dedication to community. As the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director, he has seamlessly melded the electric ethos of New York with the understated elegance of Parisian minimalism. From the bustling streets to the red carpets, you’ll spot celebrities and everyday folks alike donning his innovative streetwear staples – a testament to Isidoro’s ability to resonate with diverse audiences.
Drawing inspiration from the raw dynamism, hustle, and multifaceted culture of NYC, he is on a relentless pursuit to take ‘boys of new york’ to greater heights, expanding its global reach, and fostering iconic collaborations. Nestled in the Lower East Side, the brand encapsulates the heart of the city, presenting casualwear that marries simplicity with luxury, grit with grace.
In our interview, we delve deeper into Isidoro’s journey, his upcoming 25-piece collection, and how the past, present, and future of New York fuels his passion. Stay with us as we explore the universe of ‘boys of new york’, a brand that champions urban sophistication and celebrates the eclectic soul of the city. For a closer look at their collection, head over to www.boysofnewyork.com or follow their journey on Instagram @boysofnewyork_.
- Isidoro, the boys of new york brand is deeply influenced by New York City’s cultural roots. How do the distinct elements of the Lower East Side resonate in your creations?
Without a doubt New York City is one of the most diverse and creative cities in the world. It is wealth and poverty, it is glamorous and gritty. It’s always going to continue to influence me. As a resident of the Lower East Side for over 20 years, it has become my inspiration board, from the LES skater kids to the stylish seniors in Chinatown who mix prints and patterns.
- Your brand incorporates a touch of Parisian minimalism. How do you blend the vibrant energy of New York with the elegance of Paris in your designs?
Parisian minimalism is minimal in both color and design, and I take that inspirational minimalism along with the New York energy and use it as my canvas. Together, I create designs that evoke the energy of New York, but with a modern, urban look, with clean lines and silhouettes that are stylish and practical.
- You’ve been described as an embodiment of “unconventional yet effortless sophistication.” How do you ensure this signature touch is consistent across all your designs?
I’ve always been consistent with my style and how I design and have always had my own sense of individuality. I’m comfortable in social situations and resonate with culture. My hands already know the rhythm and pattern of what my signature is when I design, I don’t need to consciously think about it.
- Can you speak about the diverse range of your clientele? How does it feel to see individuals from varied backgrounds resonating with your brand’s ethos?
The boys of new york community is becoming more diverse. A lot of it has to do with advances in communication like social media, ecommerce, and the ease of being able to travel to different places. This has helped my brand expand to a diverse range of clients. When I see other individuals from various backgrounds resonating with the brand’s ethos, I know that I am offering real value to my customers, and this is, of course, a two-way street. In many ways, what I give is what gets reflected back. To be able to create a brand from just a vision and personal experiences, and to see people resonate with it, is such an amazing feeling!
- The color palette for boys of new york, with shades like Emerald Green and Mauve, is both muted and profound. What inspires your color choices, and how do they reflect the brand’s narrative?
A reduced palette in fairly muted tones always works best for my personal style. The clothes will always be in tune with my personal aesthetic because I’m basically designing clothes that I want to wear. It’s also a city style, modern, urban, clean lines and bold patterns, all inspired by the hustle and bustle that is New York City. I’m creating a sense of calmness in what can be a chaotic city. Of course, I’m always going to reinvent myself, but the aesthetic and attitude will always be the same.
- We’ve heard about the upcoming 25-piece collection. How are you elevating the existing boys of new york concept in this range?
I’m extremely excited for this upcoming collection. I focused on a niche segment that is still on-brand. My fabrics are made with a higher capacity of care and skills and my patterns are all custom designed and created by me. The collection features a mix of classic staples and detailed yet, versatile pieces, creating a collection that is simple, stylish and effortlessly classy.
- New York City offers a mix of the gritty and the glamorous. How do you strike a balance in your designs, capturing both these facets?
The balance between gritty and glamorous is captured through my photoshoots. Any photographer I work with always has a realness to them. We keep the framing raw, whether it’s a window or a doorway, the lines of a building, shapes of an object on the street, or even just everyday people.
- Community loyalty plays a significant role in your design process. How do you incorporate feedback from your community into new creations?
As a company, it is important to put the customer at the center of everything. My work experience has always been in sales and although having an audience is beneficial, it does not create brand loyalty. Building a community brings loyal and repeat customers who interact with the brand. These are the customers who will help promote my brand. Most of the feedback usually comes from my wholesale accounts or media. When I first began my company, my brand was called Isidoro Francisco and within the Isidoro Francisco brand, I created a varsity jacket that said ‘boys of new york’ on the back. My varsity jackets were selling for $295.00 at the stores and NY tourists wanted to purchase a keepsake ‘boys of new york’ as a gift or for themselves but didn’t want to spend $295.00, so I took that information and created the brand, boys of new york with some staple pieces that are at a more accessible price point and it pretty much became the fashion version of ‘I Love New York’.
- Being born on the East Coast and with Dominican and Peruvian roots, how have these diverse backgrounds influenced your approach to fashion and streetwear culture?
Streetwear is a cultural phenomenon. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s influenced by hip hop fashion watching MTV Rap, and Video Music Box. On the East Coast, it was the burgeoning hip hop culture that became the trending hub. While everyone was wearing FUBU, Ecko Unltd and Phat Farm, I was the only kid in an impoverished neighborhood wearing clothing brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Polo and Iceberg with the white on white Air Force 1 sneakers or a fresh pair of Timberland boots, creating my own take on classic streetwear culture.
- Advocacy for community is a strong thread in your journey. How do you ensure that the essence of community and moral integrity is infused into the business side of boys of new york?
I operate from a meaningful place. I come from a place of empathy and am genuinely always looking for ways where I can bring value and meaning to others. I want to create something greater than profit. In order for me to display leadership, I understand that I must openly and directly embrace integrity.
- With New York City being a melting pot of creativity, hustle, and diversity, are there any specific instances or places in the city that have been a direct inspiration for a design or collection?
Anywhere that I go in NYC is always an inspiration to me. I’m able to look beyond an ordinary object and use what I already know to create something new. I can connect the unconnected elements. Chinatown has always given me inspiration. The grandma and grandpa fashion game is so strong. They are mixing modern and vintage, high and low, bold patterns and colors with contemporary streetwear.
- As someone who’s passionate about seeing your creations come to life on various individuals, what’s the most memorable moment or feedback you’ve received from someone wearing boys of new york?
During Covid specifically, when NYFW was postponed because of restrictions, a customer from Germany purchased a mug and when I reached out to ask her how she heard about the brand, I remember her mentioning to me that because she wasn’t able to travel to NYC for fashion week, she wanted a piece of memorabilia from the city and the boys of new york brand gave her nostalgia.
- Looking forward, what vision do you hold for the international expansion of boys of new york? Are there any particular cultures or regions you’re excited to tap into?
Considering that most of my sales are from international customers, I definitely want to increase my portfolio (as well as my revenue) by eventually opening a boutique and securing international wholesale accounts.
- Can you hint at any upcoming collaborations or partnerships that fans of boys of new york should be on the lookout for?
I do have an upcoming collaboration with a stylist / photographer for the launch of boys of new york Kids, TBD on more info so stay tuned!
- Finally, what’s the most rewarding part of leading boys of new york, and what message do you wish to convey to aspiring designers looking to make a mark in the world of streetwear?
Of course, the ability to be able to follow my own passion and being my own boss is rewarding. I’m able to determine my company’s moral direction and build and develop a successful team of people who share the same vision as myself. But one of the biggest rewarding parts of leading boys of new york is that the operations don’t have to be “business as usual,” I am free to pursue anything I want and take risks when experimenting with my products. I would love to motivate other aspiring designers, but I also want to keep it real with them. They need to be completely aware of the reality of what lies behind the vision of success that they have in their head. There’s a quote by Thomas Watson, that goes “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” The thing with running any business is that they’re going to work 24-7. There’s a lot of competition so they will need to rely on their motivation and discipline. They have to think of themselves as the CEO first, and a designer second. Do not let social media and the internet be your only source of inspiration, get out there and take in real life scenery!