Linking Taxi Driver's disaffected protagonist with sartorial splendor might be a leap, but the owners of new menswear shop Bickle's Surplus (2127 Union St.) draw their inspiration from independent films of the 1970s and 1990s, which means they're not bound by convention.
Tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 5th), Bickle's Surplus will mark its grand opening with a celebration running from 11am to 7pm; at 3pm, co-owners Eugene Kim and Jeremy Castillo will start plying customers with snacks, free beer, and giveaways.
The new shop's stock-in-trade is "nice menswear for the working class," said Kim, noting that he and Castillo both attended film school. "A lot of the inspiration for the type of clothes that we carry and the designs we have in our house brand" were influenced by American independent film of the 1970s and 1990s, he added.
Starter items like T-shirts are available at $30, and slim-cut tour jackets, denim jackets and vintage varsity jackets range from $170 to $200, "so there's kind of a little bit for everybody," said Kim. "We want to make sure that if any of our friends drop by, they can find something for themselves."
Keeping price points within reach of someone who might actually sweat for a living is in keeping with the store's ethos. "A lot of the characters that films revolved around in the 70s are working-class males just grinding it out and trying to make it," said Kim, who said their focus is on trying to make quality goods affordable.
Initially, the partners hoped to open Bickle's Surplus close to Snowbird Coffee, "but the place that we'd been looking at fell through," said Kim. After following a friend's tip on a spot on Union Street, he decided to scope it out.
"I was a little bit familiar" with Cow Hollow, but after exploring the area with Castillo, "we noticed that there really wasn't anywhere for guys to shop," said Kim. "If you look at San Francisco as a whole, you could go on and on naming womenswear shops, but there are really less than 10 places where you can say it's dedicated towards men."
Given the number of shops offering women's clothing for work and play, "we just figured there's bound to be a couple of guys who need clothes too," said Kim. "We're just trying to bring a little more life to Union Street and bring more people out here."
Thanks to Lil B for the tip.
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