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Inside Bellevue Fashion Week: Gustave Apiti

The Designer: Gustave Apiti


The Look: Challenging the boundaries

Gustave’s African heritage and Dominican upbringing manifest as bold colors and exquisite patterns on classically tailored suits for men and fanciful gowns for women.

The Inspiration:

“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.”

Behind the Design:

“I was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo where I grew up with eight brothers and sisters. I discovered my love for the fashion industry at the young age of six, when I first styled and created clothes for my sisters’ dolls.

I was also heavily influenced by my sister who worked in the industry as a devoted fashion designer and learned how to sew at the age of eight. When I was older, I pursued formal education in fashion design in South Africa and realized that fashion design was my life-long passion.

I love cashmere, charmeuse and micron fabric because these fabrics always feel the most luxurious when you work with them. I particularly love charmeuse/silk because of the way it drapes over the body. Manipulating shapes by the method of draping is my favorite technique.

The quality of the fabric and workmanship is what makes my creations unique. Every piece is dreamed up, taken through a process, and carefully executed to create what I think is the best version of itself.”

Fashion Advice:

On Being Fashionable

Apiti believes that “fashion is for everyone – whatever ethnicity, size, or shape. Everyone deserves to feel unique and fashion is a way of expressing it.”

On Past Fashion Faux Pas

Because “fashion is very cyclical,” Apiti is hesitant to call any of his past creations faux pas. “I’ve been designing for over 20 years and have made garments that I definitely wouldn’t wear today—like harem trousers, four button sport coats, etc. But if you look at the fashion forecast, these kinds of trends are coming back to relevance.” He never throws away any designs, so maybe you should keep your outmoded clothes handy – they could be cool again before you know it!

Gustave Apiti and six other independent designers will show off their designs at Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection, the Northwest’s leading runway show venue. Fashion forward, contemporary and luxury shoppers will enjoy an extraordinary experience replete with exclusive runway shows, trend reports and demonstrations, chic parties and irresistible shopping. Learn more and buy your tickets at