By Jacquelyn Jimenez Romero
Sergius & Bacchus owners Ray Ochs and Rick Jones say they have always loved fashion, shopping, and clothes.
“What we are wearing from the comfort and the style, it impacts so many other things in our life about how we feel about ourselves,” Ochs tells CHS.
Their new Capitol Hill fashion boutique is queer-owned and out to make fashion fun by providing brave, bold, and remarkable clothing. It is also inspired by the married couple’s love for each other. The inspiration for the name comes from the Roman army officers venerated as Christian martyrs and the historical evidence that links the men as lovers and, for some, the patron saints of gay marriage.
“We’re giving people a safe space where they can come in and be their authentic selves.” Jones says.
Sergius & Bacchus opened this month on E Pike with its “bold, beautiful, and masculine” fashion part of a small burst of new retail activity on Capitol Hill.
They are focused on bringing new and emerging brands and LGBTQ+ brands to Pike/Pine.
“If you look around the shop, many of the brands that we are carrying in here are less than 10 years old, some are less than three years old,” Ochs said. “We’ve got to support each other and we know that community is going to be a big part of our success. We want to support other businesses that are trying to live the same dream that we are.”
“We’re looking at all the different materials, how it feels, and looking at the smallest things down to the stitching,” Jones said. “We always make sure that we’re bringing in the top of the top, but at the same time things have styles that are going to sell here and that are going to generate some excitement.”
The store set up has been designed to be a treasure hunt that matches up bold styles with elevated basics to give customers a vision for how to style clothing that may be out of their comfort zone.
“Many people get nervous because they don’t know how to wear it or how to put the outfit together, so throughout the shop we’ve tried to put displays together to help people learn how to do that.” Ochs said.
“This actually gives us an opportunity to really put ensembles together, to give people ideas.” Jones adds. “As they’re walking through and picturing themselves, they can see themselves with the colors and so it’s all part of the experience and a person being able to imagine themselves as a different version of themselves, perhaps.”
Both Ochs and Jones wanted to bring in bold, colorful, and unique clothing to the neighborhood to help do their part to change Seattle’s fashion narrative and provide people an opportunity to dress themselves comfortably and authentically.
“Let’s just have fun stuff,” Ochs said. “Seattle has this reputation for its fashion sense and the joke is if it’s not black, gray, navy blue, or a solid color, folks in Seattle don’t wear much of it.”
They also wanted to make sure people of all clothing sizes are able to shop at the store, so they’ve increased their efforts to bring more plus size clothing to make fashion more accessible for everyone.
“It’s a risk for us financially, but I think the greater good is more important here,” Ochs said. “And so wherever we can, we are carrying the larger sizes.”
Creating the business was important to both Ochs and Jones because they spent most of their careers building for others and wanted the opportunity to build something for themselves. They were also excited to have a shop located in Capitol Hill since they live in the neighborhood and want to contribute to the community.
“We had both had really successful careers building things for other people,” Ochs said. “It gave us an incredible life, but we were at the point where, I said, let’s build something for us, so we did it. We built out a vision.”
Their journey in the fashion world began seven years ago when they started an online clothing side hustle from their dining room. However,that project came to a stop right before the pandemic. After the pandemic began, it allowed them to reflect and reevaluate their lives.
“One night over dinner we were talking and I said I wish we could just figure out how to do the clothing full time,” Ochs said to his husband. “We had so much fun with it, and we both enjoyed doing it, and then Rick said, what if we just did it? What if we just figure out how to make it happen? And here we are today with our own shop.”
To both Ochs and Jones, their shop is a culmination of seven years worth of work that has been deliberately thought through to ensure the best possible shopping experience for people.
“I’m really thankful for the reaction that we’ve gotten from the community so far. Every person who has come in and seen the clothing and has interacted with us, the other businesses, they’ve all been so friendly and warm and supportive,” Ochs said. “That’s incredible, you know. We’ve got a great community and good people on Capitol Hill in this area supporting us.”
Sergius & Bacchus is located at 1205 E Pike. Learn more at sergiusandbacchus.com.
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Checked out their prices…definitely not for working people.
So only non working people can afford a $27 t-shirt? That doesn’t make much sense.
I believe he means Working Class. Don’t have to be a smarta** about it.
For someone with the name “Defund SPD”, I’d think you’d be above gendering your fellow commentors. I knew what THEY meant, I was simply pointing out how ridiculous their statement was. I guess understanding sarcasm is above your pay grade.
Theyre about the same as Nordstrom or Macys, but way better stuff. And still less than the other small places on the hill for nice clothes. At least someone is trying to start something new like this and give more options right now.
good heavens, give them a chance. it is not cheap to run a business in this city. no one is asking you to shop exclusively there. I buy cheap shirts too but I also pay the concert price for a friend’s band’s shirt because I want to support them. I don’t say, hey bud do you have any shirts for the humble proletariat? there are many things in this world worth complaining about, but the price of a shirt at a couple guys’ homegrown shop… rates low among them.
The Hill has just become so bitter. It’s not even enjoyable to hang out there anymore. It’s like being around boomers, just constantly complaining about everything.