The word “Bexar” shouts from the bill of Brandon's hat. “It’s noticeable as hell,” he says, “I saw my friend who works at La Botanica wearing it and I was like where did you get that?” Brandon followed the lead to Bexar Knuckles Apparel and has been sporting the hat ever since. “It’s a local company, great guys. I fully support what they’re doing. And they support us.” He adds, “That’s another thing San Antonio is all about. Community over competition.”
“I was always in awe of the city life. It was always like traveling to a new city-that is your city.”
Brandon Sherouse grew up on the Northside but his community has grown over the years to extend around the world. His first ventures outside the suburban landscape were the occasional trips Downtown as a kid. “Each and every time we came Downtown it was usually for something good: an event or a Spurs game or Fiesta.” Brandon was drawn in by the sights, sounds, and smells of the center city. “I was always in awe of the city life. It was always like traveling to a new city-that is your city.”
Brandon Sherouse wearing a Downtowners-style tee in front of San Fernando Cathedral. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
In 2001, Brandon joined the military. His service took him away from SA for eight years. He trained as a firefighter, working and living in places like Hawaii and as far away as the Marshall Islands. “Clearest waters I’ve ever seen in my life. It was absolutely beautiful out there and I loved it.” Yet there was something, perhaps a “universal line” as Brandon calls it, drawing him back home. “I was like ‘I’m going back.’” He says with conviction, “I took a plane to Hawaii and I was in a hotel room. I checked my email and I saw ‘We want to offer you a job at Randolph Air Force base as a firefighter.’ I was like ‘Yes! Thank you!’”
"It was just a real community involvement, underground type scene."
Upon his return, Brandon was finally able to immerse himself in the Downtown Experience. “My buddies and I were always going to events or parties and sometimes throwing them. It was just like a real community involvement, underground type scene. We were sitting on the porch one day and a buddy of mine was like ‘Hey’- (this was when hashtags were really like poppin off)- ‘Hey we should get a hashtag.’ And I was like ‘Oh, Downtowners.’” Brandon pauses. “It didn’t really get rave reviews.” Despite its initial critical reception, Brandon was determined to make something of the idea. Going beyond “hashtags,” he started with clothing patches. The original script of the “Downtowners” brand was in Old-English font, but with some help from his friends Madison and Isabella, the “Downtowners” received its own unique style and feel. The brand has spread to clothing and has garnered increasing attention from the community. Burgundy Woods of Style Lush TV interviewed Brandon, and artists have begun to pair with him to produce “Downtowners” events.
Brandon displays a vest with Downtowners patches. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
“My last event was at Bottom Bracket Social Club which is my favorite dive bar in town. It was a local artist named Amea who is amazing. It had her and one of my favorite hip-hop artists Johnny Polygon. He writes, he sings, he raps. He does it all.” There’s energy and excitement in Brandon’s voice as he talks about what the “Downtowners” has become, and who has gotten involved. It all started with an idea of gathering together “anyone who has an affinity for anything and everything Downtown.” Brandon explains that “You don’t have to be from downtown. It’s if you have an affinity for it, if you have a love for it. That’s what it’s about.”
Brandon’s community has grown since his days borrowing his mom’s car to cruise around Downtown. Yet the sense of community seems to be a constant, especially for Downtown San Antonio. “We’re all here to help each other out… Big city, small town feel. I don’t want be in competition with anybody. We should all be helping each other out, building the city together.”