Boris Brothers

This spring's newest local sportswear line didn't have its origins in colour or style so much as graphics, logos, and something that can only be described as attitude.

When Mike Jackson, the man behind the cult line Grub Wear and the store Thriller, was invited to create a hip new house brand for Pacific Boardroom (and its Comor Sports), he began, as always, with words and pictures. The label would be Boris Brothers, and the title duo would be captured in an almost primitive cartoon of two rather glum faces. "They're sad, grumpy troublemakers. We call them the Thugs," says Jackson, looking at the siblings amid the graphics laid out on his shop's counter. To make the line more female-friendly, he also came up with other images--a woman serving a cocktail, a retro Hawaiian hibiscus--and slogans like If I Ain't Happy, He Ain't Happy. "The girl buyer is hot and cocky, confident, sporty, and large and in-charge," Jackson says.

Although those catch phrases will find their way onto the new line's labels and a few of its Ts, the graphics (some by local artists) will pop up via screenprints and embroidery in unexpected spots on the tight first collection for men and women: on the back pocket of a pair of capris, say, or along the seam of a T-shirt's cap sleeve.

The line is no-nonsense and street-smart. Women's capris are made of a stretch twill that calls to mind old-school Dickies, while an A-line, below-the-knee skirt has a zipper up the side and a giant line drawing of a woman's face on the bottom front corner. The palette is basic: brown, black, and white, as well as the season's must-have pink. Hoodies are strong for both men and women (some with old-style felt Boris Brothers spelled out across the chest), as are logo Ts. There are also cargo shorts for guys in thick-woven utility-strength cotton.

Big into branding, Jackson is also screen-printing mesh trucker hats ("Much more fitted than in the past," he stresses), military-style hats, leather cuffs, and striped terry wristbands. If the line does well, it may eventually evolve into outerwear like boarding jackets and pants, Jackson says.

Even these initial, fashion-savvy streetwear pieces, which are meant to have a sort of underground, in-the-know feel, seem tied into board culture, though not in any overt details. "Definitely, they're in the surf/skate/board realm; that's my background and that's the grassroots of the brand--that's where it wants to be from," says Jackson.

Boris Brothers is available at Comor Sport (various locations), Pacific Boarder (1793 West 4th Avenue), and Thriller (1710 West 4th Avenue). Prices range from $19.95 for guys' Ts and $24.95 for girls', up to about $49 to $54 for girls' capris and $59 for men's cargo shorts.