In its over two decades of existence the Designers Circus has become a destination for women from around the world. Our regular visitors travel from as far away as Brazil, Israel, France, China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Russia, Kenya, Guatemala, Argentina and many other countries. One customer arrived from Ireland to visit her sister in Cambridge and then proceeded to introduce her sister to the Circus.
The Circus is as its name implies, a Circus of .. designers, customers, artists, customers serving as employees, creating an experience for each other privately, and inviting people in on the secret. It exists in New England but its known worldwide. Its a place, but it’s a philosophy and mindset too.
The Circus is an under the radar clothing event, a sample sale, a warehouse sale, a pop up store, a guerilla store, and an experience in "social shopping" all in one. It’s a platform that connects women designer craftspeople to women from around the world.
Our cultural diversity began with our exposure to indigenous peoples from around the world. We loved the design and weaving of their unique fabrics. For many native peoples the production of fabrics is integral to their cultures and beliefs. Thirty years ago, we pioneered the use of MAYAN hand spun, hand dyed, and hand loomed cotton fabrics in our own contemporary collections. Mayan Cotton is a rich heavy luxurious cotton that gets better with age.
The seeds of the Circus fell from work, and adventures in Guatemala.
As a young woman, our co-founder, known as "KO", routinely traveled to Guatemala four times a year. This was during Guatemalas 20 year civil war. With her concealed money belt, and her street skills, she would venture into mountains that were ravaged by civil war to visit her MAYAN weavers. On each visit to Guatemala she would carry huge back breaking duffles of clothing for orphanages along with designs and work for her BLANCO NEGRO COLLECTIONS. It was charity combined with creating work and markets for their skills. KO was a smuggler extraordinaire, an entrepreneur, a designer a social benefactor a fearless traveller into third world unrest. KO walked the walk. It was not PR as we see so much today.
On one such adventure, "KO" visited with a MAYAN WITCH DOCTOR living under a volcano, in the vicinity of Antigua. Guatemala is rich with volcanoes. They look down on you everywhere. The witch doctor inspected her hands closely, looked up dreamily, stared far away at the volcano, thought for some minutes, and then solemnly informed her that she would meet the love of her life, a "man with a boy". It came true 10 years later.
Our beginnings were a period of CIA, el jefe, massacres, corruption and turmoil. It was a scary time. Yet, war, danger, jungles, adventure, pioneering, and late night revelries, parties at the embassy, intense experiences in a time of war, create a certain, je ne sais quoi? Maybe, it's a joy for living. Maybe, it's a willingness to venture out of bounds where other young women seldom go. And hovering above it all, like a gentle intoxicating warm breeze, was the beauty of Guatemala. Its tropical forests, its volcanoes, its lost MAYAN jade, its lakes, the richness of its people and culture (not to be confused with a first world infrastructure and money) all of which seduces even the most jaundiced if you open your eyes and your mind.
True to the prophecy, after attending theater on a brutally cold winter night, KO journeyed for some late night revelry to BIBA's, a Boston watering hole on the Garden, now gone, named after the legendary BIBAs of London and met the man with a boy.
Together, the two of them created something unique in this world. They pioneered what is known as the Designers Circus.