• (Photos by Amy Lombard)

    The Tourist by Burkman Bros

    We met up with the Burkman Bros at their new office in Midtown West to get the details on their latest collection, The Tourist.  Here we talk about their inspiration, their travels, and what it's like working with your family.

    Hey guys, can you introduce yourselves?
    We’re Doug and Ben Burkman of Burkman Bros.

    Where did you grow up?
    Doug: We grew up in Canada but we’ve lived in New York for about 15 years now. 
    Ben: Our mother’s American so we have dual-citizenship.

    How did you get started in design?
    Doug: I went to a design school in Canada and when I was done college I moved to New York and started working as a designer at Gap.
    Ben: I started working at the age of 23 at Gap as an assistant designer; I kind of came in through the back door. I put together a creative project and they offered me the position.

    Why did you want to start your own brand?
    Doug: You know, you work in a big company for so long and you see your designs on the streets and on the subway, you get to a point where you’re like, “Maybe I can do this by myself.” 

    What made you decide to work together?

    Doug: Ben and I have always worked together. Even when we were little kids we had jobs together and it was on our path to continue to work together, I suppose.

    How many people are on your team?
    Doug: There’s the two of us and another brother who handles e-commerce and shipping, and the day to day. Then we have a whole slew of assistants, interns, and people who come and go on a project basis.

    Is it harder or easier to work with family?
    Ben: It makes it easier. We have such a long history and a deep understanding of how each other operate. Working with family probably has a lot more benefits compared to a relationship that could sour and fall apart. Your brother is a lifelong friend.

    Do you ever disagree over designs?
    Ben: All the time!

    How do you get passed that?
    Doug: Someone goes storming out of the office! (laughs)
    Ben: I feel like with everything in life, it’s a compromise. So, if someone feels very strongly about something then we let them pursue it.

    Can you tell us about The Tourist collection that we are currently selling?
    Doug: We’re really excited because a typical Burkman Bros collection can be a little on the expensive side sometimes, and we wanted to be able to offer our point of view to everybody. The price points are amazing. You can get a whole outfit for under $100 dollars.

    What was your inspiration behind it?
    Doug: The Tourist collection in particular was inspired by a summertime trip to Greece that we took last year. We’re largely inspired by travel. We go to different places around the world that help us form our collections on a seasonal basis. The Tourist is kind of the younger brother to that. The clothes are definitely geared towards a slightly younger guy but it has the same spirit. There are some really cool pieces with patterns and there’s a blue, white, and red color palette.

    What is your favorite item in the collection?
    Doug: A shirt with printed fish on it. I think prints are super cool now in men’s fashion and this is a geek-chic way of wearing a print.
    Ben: My favorite is the white short. The white short in summer is such a great staple and ours is really amazing engineered jacquard-stripe across the front.
    Doug: Also the accessories we did were pretty cool. We did bracelets which we are kind of known for. Additionally, there is a rope sandal by Gurkee’s, that is pretty cool. We’re selling a couple of colors exclusive to Urban Outfitters.

    Where are some of the other places you’ve traveled together?
    Ben: We go to India together on a regular basis. This year we went to Hawaii with some of our friends. It can be super tacky and super touristy but at the same time it’s beautiful and there’s tons of stuff to do. You can go surfing, you can go hiking—everything’s there.

    What’s the best tourist spot in New York?
    Doug: Whenever I have someone in from out of town I bring them to the top of the Rockfeller Center. It has an amazing view of the whole city. You can see the Empire State Building, which is really great. A lot of people go to the top of the Empire State, but it’s nice to be in another building to look at it.

    Any final thoughts?
    Look for more amazing things to come from The Tourist by Burkman Brothers!

    Shop The Tourist by Burkman Bros