The location of Fugazi NYC is also key. It sits on the corner of Canal and Orchard, a block that houses plenty of New York City’s “it” spots of the moment, like Awake NY’s flagship store, the specialty boutique Colbo, and Scarr’s Pizza. Now, Fugazi is an important piece of that puzzle that is cultivating the current streetwear community in the Lower East Side.

“I was looking at other spots that were not on Canal Street, but it was meant to be,” says Gorji, who has called New York home since moving cross country from Los Angeles in August 2023.

Community is central to many of Gorji’s efforts. To help usher in the brand’s new home in New York City, he held a chess tournament and awarded store credit to the winner. When Fugazi hosted its first runway show, an off-schedule presentation at Tweed Courthouse in December 2023, Gorji used a lottery system to invite supporters of the brand instead of filling the front row with press and buyers (Fugazi does not wholesale at the moment). He acknowledges the unfortunate reality that many streetwear shops aren’t always welcoming. He wants Fugazi to be the antithesis of that. 

“I definitely want it to be warm and inviting. I always want to have people feel comfortable coming in and shopping,” says Gorji. “It’s not all about the sale of the product. You come in, you have a good experience with the brand, whether or not you buy something.”

The idea for Fugazi came about in 2017 when Gorji was attending USC. It was his second brand (there was also the short-lived North Korea Skate Team project in 2020). The first, Paradox, was a skate-oriented label he ran as a teenager living in Sarasota, Florida. It was able to gain a local following and even sold at Compound Board Shop, a skate shop in town. It ended up being the subject of his college essay. 

Fugazi’s first big moment came in 2019 with the release of the “One in the Chamber” sneaker, a cheeky bootleg of “Chicago” Air Jordan 1s that replaced branding like the Swooshes and Wings logos with revolvers.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the first, but I do definitely think that it had that impact and inspired a lot of kids to try to make their own shoes,” says Gorji. “The plan was always to use that as a launching point and then build an entire brand with that initial push.”

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