Own The City: Théo From Pigalle
The young multi-hyphenate talks about his crew, his city and the Paris neighborhood of Pigalle.
Words: Kate Matthams Spencer
Born and raised in the shadow of the Sacré-Coeur, Théo is a young sportsman and creative who runs with the Pigalle collective, rooted in its namesake neighborhood and clothing label in Paris. He plays basketball, models, takes photos, makes videos and weighs in on Pigalle designs. In 2015, after earning the respect of the local and streetwear communities, the Pigalle label won the prestigious ANDAM award for emerging French fashion talent, confirming its place in the industry’s beloved capital.
Tucked in between charming Montmartre and the quiet streets north of Opéra, the Pigalle neighborhood has, in recent years, shaken off its seedy reputation to become a creative hotbed. At the heart of this renewal is a vibrant, young population, including “the Brothers of Pigalle,” who rep the neighborhood’s lifestyle through fashion, film and sport. Much of their output is centered around the Pigalle label, as well as the basketball court on Rue Duperré that was fought for, won and re-designed with the support of Nike in 2015.
Théo and his crew grew up playing basketball and training together. They are a band of brothers, who consider themselves closer than family. Now, they’re taking Paris street culture around the globe.
How has your neighborhood, Pigalle, shaped who you are today?
I grew up here. It has completely made me who I am. I’ve learned to do loads of things in Pigalle. I always watched what our big brothers were doing; they did loads of stuff in different areas like film and fashion. It made me want to do different things, too.
Pigalle is diverse. We have lots of different cultures here. It’s like a village with people from all sorts of different places. It’s totally different from anything else in the city. When I leave Pigalle, I feel kind of disoriented.
How would you describe the Brothers of Pigalle, as a collective?
We’re a family, much more than a collective. Every one of those guys is my brother. I grew up alongside them. I learned everything from them. We have experienced a lot together.
How do all your individual talents complement each other?
Each of us has their own thing, but we all do a little of everything. I take photos, shoot film, design clothes and play sport. I’m interested in architecture and a bunch of other things. Each of my guys has his own talent, so we complete with each other. Feedback from the rest of the group is sometimes hard, but it’s pure.
“Our parents were Paris Saint-Germain fans, so it’s something that’s handed down through the generations. ”
You spoke about growing up together. Tell us more about how you came to be a part of the Pigalle crew.
They are all like family. They have been my brothers since I was a kid. They are the people with whom I want to build my future. We might want different things, and we don’t agree all the time, but we always find a compromise and a way to move forward together.
How important is it for you to rep Pigalle?
It’s as if I was repping my country. It’s like being a football player on the world stage. I’m super proud to represent my neighborhood.
In a wider sense, what does Paris mean to you?
We have an incredible city with lots of different neighborhoods. Each one has its own identity, and that’s the strength of Paris. It’s hard to explain why. It’s something I carry here [taps chest]. It comes from the heart.
How do you “Own the City” and carry it with you when you travel?
Paris is always, always with me. My team and I went to LA, Japan and the Philippines to play basketball. We made loads of different trips, and each time, we sent the love back to people in Paris. It’s beautiful. We’re so proud to rep France; it’s our homeland.
Over the past five or six years, things have gotten a little complicated in Paris, but it’s reinforced the sense of community even more. When something serious happens, it’s a reminder that we’re all together. It unites people more than anything else.
How has football culture and Paris Saint-Germain influenced your style?
It’s my team, quite simply. I’ve been watching the matches since I was small. Our parents were Paris Saint-Germain fans, so it’s something that’s handed down through the generations. The team is a great source of pride for us, so it’s incredible to represent this collection.
What role have Air Jordans and basketball played in your life?
I always wanted a pair when I was little. I kept a pair of my dad’s that were too big for me for three or four years. I wanted Air Jordans and having a pair was a big deal. Basketball culture is really strong in Paris now.
The Jordan Brand x Paris Saint-Germain Apparel Collection is available starting July 2019 on Jordan.com. The Jordan Mars 270 is available starting July 25 on Jordan.com.