In the fashion industry what differentiates one designer from another is how they interpret their surroundings and draw inspiration from their experiences. For clothing designer Dominique Siby that inspiration stems from his culture. Growing up in his home country of Gabon, Africa, and later moving to Paris allowed Siby to be exposed to a world that boasted both style and creativity. Encouraged by the vision of his father to make remarkable clothing, Siby set out to develop his own bold creations through his luxury clothing line, Felio Siby. The line is exclusively sold in the United States, but each Felio Siby design incorporates the culture of the three regions that the designer has inhabited. With every exotic skin and unique pattern, Siby fearlessly continues to bring to life the vision of his father, all while bringing honor to the family name.
Who or what inspired you to become a fashion designer?
It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Every time I bought clothes I saw that they could have been done in another way. I always wanted to add something different. For example, the pocket could have been in different material, like the leather pocket I use on my jeans. It took a long time to make this dream of designing clothes happen because wearing clothes versus establishing your own clothing line is not easy and are two different things! Since I’m involved in the entire process from picking the fabric to the final product, I had to learn a lot about the industry. But it is something that I enjoy. Regarding the bags, it’s something that came while I was doing my clothing line. Since I travel, I always loved duffel bags, and once I started working with exotics skins—python, crocodile, ostrich and leather—I decided to create my own bags, and now I’m also doing women’s handbags.
How has your culture and travels influenced your designs?
Being able to live in Africa (Gabon), Europe (France), and USA (San Diego, Miami) I was exposed to different styles of fashion, fabrics and trends. You can see that in the way I design. My designs are constantly changing because fashion and trends are constantly changing. Additionally, I’m always looking for the best material. My python T-shirt is really different than what you see on a regular basis. It’s a blend of different cotton and genuine python.
Who would be your ideal celebrity to wear your brand?
It’s hard just to pick one. I will go with Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Lebron James, Drake, and David Beckham. Now regarding my handbags, it would be Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Halle Berry.
How do you describe your personal style?
I’m pretty simple. It depends on the occasion and where I am. In Europe it would be a button-up shirt and pants or jeans. For a meeting I will always have a suit on. While I’m in Miami I’m always in jeans and a Felio Siby t-shirt. If it’s too hot it will be cargo shorts with a polo shirt, or a t-shirt and some sandals.
What role does social media play in marketing your brand?
In today’s world you cannot do anything without social media. For Felio Siby social media represents an important role in our marketing. We always post pictures regarding every aspect of what we do, from fashion shows to the production of a bag. I often ask people on Instagram or Twitter what they think about a certain product while we are creating this product. We mainly use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I love to post pictures and tell the world what Felio Siby is doing. With social media you reach people you would never reach before. Social media made the world become one place.
How do you define success?
For me success is to be able to share the wealth you have with others. If I can help someone move forward with their life, I have succeeded. I am thankful that I can provide for my family and being able to help others.
What does it take to be successful at your craft?
Have a vision of what you are trying to do. Be able to work extra hard because this industry is not easy. Also, have a team you can count on and that can share your vision with and who can help you to get there. You need to also think outside of the box.
Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
I don’t really look at anybody. I appreciate certain people such as Tom Ford. I would like to be able to take my brand to his level but that’s about it.
Tell us something unique about your home country of Gabon.
Gabon has only had three presidents since 1960.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
To follow my dream and not to pay attention to what other say about what I wanted to do.
What’s your favorite travel destination and why?
It will be more than one, I have a lot different places that I like. In Africa my favorites place is Gabon. I like to go to Libreville to spend time with my family and relax, you know what they say, “Home sweet home.” I like Singapore, too. It’s a really nice place and it is safe. I got the best massages of my life over there and the food is amazing.
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
Keep working as hard as I’m doing right now and lose a little bit of weight.