WORDS Jyssica Yelas  PHOTOGRAPHY Tom Boehme

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If there were one word to describe Gustave Apiti, “bold” could not do him justice. This may be because he’s the most brightly dressed man in the room. It may be that he says what others would only dream of saying out loud.

And his reality is one that many believe only exist in dreams as well. 

Gustave was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he would watch his fashion designer mother work hard at her craft. He would style and create outfits for his sister’s dolls, learning a trade at the young age of eight that would propel Apiti into a fashion world of his own creation. 

Style, beginning with the self, is at the center of this world. Apiti knows the level of confidence, influence and empowerment that comes with that five-letter word when accompanied with a well-fitting ensemble.

He invites us to step into this world, to find our own unique style, and to be transformed. After all, in the words of Apiti, “Personality isn’t the first thing people see.”

I’ve heard you say, “dressing well is a form of good manners.” Could you elaborate?
This was Tom Ford saying this in his interview with GQ magazine. After I read the interview, I realized that his slogan came close to my 2019 collection theme, “Les Sapeurs,” which means elegance in a style and mannerism. An elegant or well-dressed person is always noticed and respected wherever he or she goes. His or her dress code speaks on their behalf without saying anything. This shows how respectful he or she is to others. I strongly believe that dressing well can also reveal your personality and good manners. I think dressing well at a wedding or in meeting with high authorities is an expression of good manners and elegance.

What designer do you most admire and why?
Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto are the designers that inspire me the most. Their ‘second-to-none’ attitude motivated them to lead a fashion movement in Japan. They used details, colors, and fabric to create one of a kind masterpieces. This inspired me as a designer to see how I can impact the modern men’s fashion industry, letting my own cultural upbringing fuel the creation of a garment that is unlike anything anyone has ever seen.

Your African heritage and culture are sources of inspiration for you as you were born in the African fashion capital of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What artists from the Congo have you been most influenced by?
I’m inspired by Papa Wemba.

You got to meet British designer Ted Baker back in August. What was that like? Did anything stand out to you in particular?
I met Ted Baker at Nordstrom when he came to visit Seattle. It was a great opportunity for me to meet, talk and share contacts with him. By talking with him I realized that he is friendly, humble, very disciplined, really creative and has a strong and supportive team working with him. He showed pictures of his studio in London and he even said that I should go see him whenever I go to London. So, I have a great time with him.

 Is there a fashion show that you’ve participated in that is extra special for you?
Yes, FashioNXT and New York Fashion Week stand out to me. FashioNXT connected me with Portland Trail Blazers CJ McCollum and Evan Turner and had them walk for me for their début runaway walk.

You create custom made pieces. Why is investing in a custom piece important?
Investing in a custom piece is important because it gives you different options to customize your dream outfits by choosing your own fabric, design, details, trimming and fit you want to go for. Everyone deserves to feel unique and special, but many people are struggling to find what fits well and uniquely.  In today’s fast-evolving society many athletic, plus size, short, tall and skinny people are struggling to find a unique outfit that can perfectly fit them in the clothing stores and if their find that is close to their figure. The rest must be altered, but a custom piece will fit well, make them look beautiful and confident as everyone else. Other people prefer to invest in a custom piece simply because they don’t like looking or dressing same as other people, so somehow to invest in this is a great example of self-love. A true designer values a custom piece.

How has fashion in the Pacific Northwest changed over the past few years? What direction do you see it heading towards?
Fashion in the Pacific Northwest has changed a lot. in January 2013 when I immigrated to America, I noticed that many didn’t have a taste for fashion, many were wearing huge suits, etcetera. But, lately, everyone is looking trendy. Northwest designers, models, stylists, and photographers are working hard to bring our level high. I am sure in the next couple years the Pacific Northwest will compete with Paris.

 If you could create a custom design for anybody, who would it be for? What would you design?
This a difficult question to answer because there are many celebrities and influential people I would love to dress, but I can mention a few: Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith. I would design fancy trunk detail three-piece suits for them.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have received is to believe in myself, to be patient, positive, never give up, invest in myself and in others, and be nice to people.

What’s next for Gustave Apiti?
To dress the most influential people in our world, showcasing my collection in Paris Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, FashioNXT, and New York Fashion Week. To have flagship stores around the world carry Gustavo Apiti Couture and be featured in different well-known magazines and editorials around the world.

Order of Appearance


Two Buttons Plade Suit

Model: Cole Carden


Two Buttons Textured Suit

Model: Ugur Uysal

Yanis Bespoke Jacket 

Textured Jacket With 2 Buttons.

Pure Cotton Cutaway Collar Custom Shirt.

140’S Blue Wool Custom Pants Two Buttons Textured JacketModel: Gustavo Apiti 


One Button Tuxedo Suit

Model: Ugur Uysal


Solid Black Suit

Model: Ugur Uysal


Double Breasted Blue Suit

Model: Cole Carden


Two Buttons Textured Suit 


Model: Ugur Uysal


Textured Tuxedo Navy Suit

Model: Cole Carden