There is much to be said about remaining true to yourself in a world that is constantly pressuring you to conform, especially in the global fashion arena where trends and the names behind them can be as fleeting as the seasons and exclusivity is a means of survival. On rare occasions, great success is born on an unconventional path, and few have the strength, unique vision, and tenacity to see it through, forgoing immediate satisfaction for the sustenance of a more expansive goal: to sell without selling out and create a marketable global brand in the process.
Such is the business of Bogosse (which means handsome man in French), the fashion-forward luxury brainchild of brothers Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu. The brand has been built, quite literally, from the ground up, beginning with the Tardieus’ humble roots in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to where they stand today with a corporate office headquartered in Miami and two boutiques in the South of France (one in Cannes and one in Saint-Tropez, and plans to expand to Geneva, Switzerland, Munich, and Dubai in the coming year). Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are currently the only two department stores to carry the unique men’s line, in addition to select high-end boutiques worldwide, a calculated move made by the Tardieu brothers so as not to diminish the exclusivity of their brand.
In speaking with these innovators about the conception of their creation, you get a real sense of the passion, the drive, the love and care that goes into the formation of their designs, that everything about the brand is genuine, from the clothing to the brothers themselves. Traveling to Europe in search of the most exclusive fabrics and a suitable manufacturing company to execute the vision behind their first line, their confident resolve enabled them to build the premiere collection on-site in just three weeks. To them, Bogosse is not just a job but a way of life.
“When I moved to this country five years ago I made $200 a week,” said Fabrice, co-founder and creative director of the company. “I lived with family and reinvested every dollar that was generated selling shirts back into the company. This is the truth behind Bogosse and that is the sacrifice we made so as not to hinder its growth. We never sold our soul to the devil, as they say. That is why we are where we are today. We are humble people who come from the poorest country in the world. Bogosse is a way for us to positively portray the side of Haiti that people don’t typically see, to show that triumph can come from great adversity if you believe in yourself and stay true to the dedication of your vision.”
Despite their passion for fashion and penchant for creating a unique personal style, they did not always have a career in clothing design in mind. Patrick, founder and CEO of Bogosse, originally gained notoriety as the captain of the Senior National Soccer Team of Haiti and later engaged his entrepreneurial spirit by creating the No. 1 freight forwarding and shipping company in Haiti with his older brother Jerry, in addition to a Haitian soccer scouting and management firm, before retiring from sports completely. He describes his move into fashion as a natural progression, a slowly evolving idea initially sparked by a love of fine clothing that he felt needed his personal touch in order for it to be truly spectacular, and so he began setting the groundwork for their menswear line in 2003.