A Chat with Men’s Couture Designer Franklin Eugene
Ildo Damiano, the Fashion Director for GQ Italia and one of the most influential men’s fashion critics in the world, was impressed by your 2012 collection. Tell us about the collection and the inspiration behind it?
The collection has ten installations in the range. In most instances the design inspiration for each item in the collection was an iconic or legendary person or place. The Vettro is a tribute to the city and people of Milano, where I personally and the Franklin Eugene brandhave many friends in the fashion industry. The Sharmoud is a homage to the brave and indomitable spirit of the Arabian male. The Dillion channels a ton of classic and storied British and American style and presents in a hounds tooth fabric. The entire collection echoes an energy that is at once both stylish and almost brutishly masculine. Each suit in the collection is completely timeless. In ten, fifteen, even twenty years these creations will be winners.
How long were you in the fashion business before you created the Franklin Eugene brand?
I have worked in various aspects of the fashion industry for at least ten years. The brand has been around servicing private clients since 2005
Prior to launching the haute couture men’s suits collection for 2012, you had designed men’s wear for clients for many years. Under what label were these designs created?
I have always been an independent designer. I have designed for private clients that have included doctors, lawyers, and regional performers and entertainers. The business of fashion is an incredibly tough, tough business. I like the control that comes with managing my own label from both a creative and a business standpoint.
How is the Franklin Eugene brand different from other male brand anywhere in the world?
Franklin Eugene’s creations are an expression of passion-strength-vision-craftsmanship- style. They are designed to be an outward manifestation of man’s inner best self. These suits have transformative power in the sense that when a man puts on these suits it is as if he is putting on his amour to engage in battle and be victorious. When man steps in to a room in one of Franklin Eugene’s creations, all heads will turn and he will “own the room” in the sense that energy he emits will captivate.
Men will receive a garment with exceptional styling (by an internationally acclaimed fashion designer), made with exceptional fabric (super 100’s wools, silk, cashmere), exceptional manufacturing (bespoke tailoring to fit each man’s individual body).
The brand prides itself on presenting a diverse brand image. You do not have to be six foot six inches tall with a twenty-eight inch waist to be fashionable and/or a style icon.
Most importantly the passion and the heart that goes in to the design process set the brand apart (from a slightly exaggerated silhouette, to a tapered cut, to a classic Franklin Eugene design element – we are really using all these things to channel a man’s inner best self through the outward design of a garment).
The collection can be viewed at the website www.franklineugene.com or in the look book located at Savile Row at the following address: Savile Row Dubai (Location: The Walk@ Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Murjan 5, Shop: P-25)
I encourage all the style savvy Nigerians andAfricans visiting Dubai to stop by the shop, browse the collection, and if they are so inclined be fitted for one of the suits.
I dare any living man to be fitted for one of my creations and step in to a room in it. In that instant, when he steps in to the room, his entire spirit, his entire persona will be transformed for the better.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced in the journey to creating a universal premium brand?
Finding proper manufacturers to work with and making sure to avoid manufacturers that use child labour. Haters – fashion is a brutal, tough, hard and sometimes ugly business and the cut-throat attitude can either make you or not. Only those who are determined and driven will be able to survive.
What would you describe your biggest fashion inspirations to be?
The world around me and the people in it. Legendary, iconic, timeless energy, aura, people, places. I get my creative stimuli from going out in to the world and living and trying to absorb everything and taking that energy and channeling it in to the creative process when I am working on sketches for a collection. Therefore I have never limited myself to a specific subject but allows myself to receive everything around me and translate that into fashion.
What drives you?
God’s given creative energy and talent, a desire to connect with people, a desire to help people transcend their struggles and reach a better place. And that is exactly what the brand holds. When a man steps out in the world in Franklin Eugene, he has more confidence, gives more eye contact, has a better chance with the ladies or whomever he is trying to influence because my creations really are designed (the cut, the fabric, the style affectations) to tap in to and evoke that very best part of the human spirit.
Who are some of the notable celebrities wearing the Franklin Eugene brand?
The brand has just launched so we have not yet made any effort to get celebrities in the suits. But having said that this is certainly an area we will consider in the near future as we build the Franklin Eugene line.
Last year you were invited to serve on the benefit committee for a star studded Milan Fashion Week Charity Gala along with Donatella Versace, Roberto and Eva Cavalli, Dean and Dan Caten, Angela Missoni, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Ferruccio Feragamo, and Alberta Ferretti. How amazing was the experience?
I have spent time with fashion industry luminaries for years. It is usually a very positive experience. The Fashion greats are much more grounded, well rounded, and real than some people might expect and thesame is true for the actors, musicians, artists, and athletes that are on the scene from time to time. They all understand the importance of fighting famine, eradicating disease, and doing his or her part to help out. Being in the company of such respected names in fashion is an amazing and certainly an inspirational experience.
Who are some of fashion’s greats you worked with in the process of mastering your craft?
Being an independent designer, I have mainly worked with local and regional design teams. However, I have certainly studied all the great American and European designers. I have certainly liaised with several of the fashion greats and haveattended their store openings, collection and product launches, and even had the view from the front row at some of their best fashion shows, everyone from the late Willi Smith to Tom Ford to Ralph Lauren to Georgio Armani to Dirk Bikkembergs. I would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge the amazing design professors at London College of Fashion.
What are you passionate about besides fashion?
Family, faith, friends (I only have a few- but the few I have mean the world to me), sport, art, hope, humanity, making a human connection with people, law and business. Giving – giving isimportant because when you give you really actually receive. It is important that the brand give back to the people of the Middle East, North Africa, and India who have given it somuch. To this end, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of any suit in the collection will go to a charity in Dubai or MENA.
To place an order visit website www.franklineugene.com