Gustave Apiti is a tailor and fashion designer from Seattle, WA. Apiti launched the U.S debut of his label, Gustavo Apiti Couture, in 2016, 3 years after moving from Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, Apiti has been making waves in the local scene with his signature suits and glamorous evening wear.
This month, we had the opportunity to interview Gustave as he prepares to showcase at Chance Fashion’s 2017 Menswear Show.
“I hope to help people come out of their boxes or comfort zones, and try some something different”
CF: You started your fashion career in Johannesburg, South Africa, but transferred to Seattle in 2014, what was the reason behind that dramatic shift of environments?
GA: I moved in order to reach my personal aim of life; which is to be the one of the greatest designers worldwide. Seattle was not the place I planned to live in after I immigrated to America, but I ended up falling in love with the city and now I see some great opportunities that can help me grow in my career.
CF: After establishing yourself in Johannesburg, did you ever in any way feel like you had re-launch your career in Seattle?
GA: Yes, I did feel I had to start over in Seattle. I needed to rebuild my networking and clientele, make new friends, and market the business, so it was not easy in the beginning. Now, things are getting better and better.
CF: What do you hope to accomplish in the Seattle fashion scene?
GA: I hope to help people come out of their boxes or comfort zones, and try some something different, as we all know that Seattle fashion is casual compared to cities like New York and Paris. My duty as a designer is to educate people on how to dress nicely, how to be trendy, and how to dress appropriately on the regular basis; be it a job interview, party, or date. In other words, I want to teach people that dressing well must become a daily routine.
CF: What is the over-all design concept of Gustavo Apiti Couture?
GA: We do custom made, bespoke-outfits for our clients, and all of our garments are really special. We design and make individualistic pieces that have never been seen before by our customers, As we always want them to look unique and special. We create anything our clients dream up, from wedding gowns and special occasion attire, to men and women’s suits and everyday business wear, and, we also perform intricate alterations.
CF: Why did you choose Chance Fashion as an outlet for Gustavo Apiti Couture?
GA: Gustavo Apiti Couture chose Chance fashion as an outlet because Chance is giving opportunities to everybody to show their talents in the fashion industry. Also, in July of 2016, Chance produced my debut fashion show. Ryan Muller and his team have helped me in so many ways, and I am so greatful to them all.
CF: How do you market and advertise for your brand?
GA: Through social media, fashion shows, and word of mouth.
CF: You’ve worked with some of the top South African fashion houses, including JJ Schoeman Boutique and Strange Love- What was the process of your collaborations and what was your involvement?
GA: We worked together as great team supporting one another. Every time we had new inspirations, we would meet and discuss how to make it work. I was more involved in designing, pattern making, and production team management.
CF: Do you design full time as a career?
GA: Yes I do, it is my daily bread.
CF: You will be presenting at Chance Fashion’s 2017 Menswear Show on March 11th, what is the name of the collection you’ll be showcasing?
GA: The name of my collection is:“ELEGANCE DANS LA COUTURE”
CF: After receiving a bachelors degree in Fashion Apparel and Design from the Tshwane University of Technology, would you recommend a classical education in fashion design to new designers just starting out?
GA: Yes, Absolutely.
CF: Your brand has been extremely well received, not just in the Johannesburg fashion scene, but in Seattle as well; what are your keys to success?
GA: I always put God first in every single thing I do because he is everything for me. I would also say discipline, humility, patience, knowledge, good quality materials, and a unique and creative sense of style.
CF: What’s next for Gustavo Apiti Couture, any upcoming projects?
GA: We are working on many projects, but the main one is finding a boutique location where customers can come and buy our products in person.
Gustavo Apiti will be Showcasing at Chance Fashion’s 2017 Menswear Show on March 11th.
For more information: www.gustavoapiti.com