Built to Last

Fabrice pursued an international business and management degree in Paris that, upon completion and the need for a job that would allow him to extend his student visa, landed him in a coveted six-month internship with Giorgio Armani. Just two short months later, he was offered a permanent position and eventually became the head of sales and distribution for Emporio in France and the French Caribbean. He developed a distribution system for the design house that skyrocketed sales and was introduced to every major market in Europe. With a solid understanding of the business and a knack for knowing what makes people feel good—and look good—under his belt, Fabrice decided to transfer the principles that garnered such success in his sales for Armani into building the foundation for his own retail brand.

Armed with an unyielding dedication and a keen sense of what the fashion world was missing, namely a non-traditional style that made a bold statement, Bogosse was launched by the powerhouse duo in 2004 and has certainly carved out a comfortable little niche for itself since then, succeeding in being one of the few high-end fashion companies to build a global luxury brand out of Miami. Initially created as a luxury men’s fashion shirt line, Bogosse has since expanded to include a women’s line almost identical in style to the original, with exception to fit and elasticity of the fabric. They also introduced as a children’s line cleverly titled Bogosse Comme Papa (which means good-looking like daddy), an idea Fabrice came up with after the birth of his son. The children’s line was met with huge success in Europe, selling out the first 200 pieces in the first week and becoming one of the top-selling items in their Saint-Tropez boutique. In an effort to maintain exclusivity, both lines are only available for purchase in their European stores, in addition to their super-exclusive Prive line. The hand-finished collection produces only 20 to 40 pieces at a time and features a more understated logo, as well as select fabrics, colors, and pentagonal buttons unlike the original square design. For the man who doesn’t like to share his individual style with the rest of the world, one of these rare shirts can be his for 350 to 540 euros a piece (roughly $500-$800).

For the economically conscious consumer, the pair created the more contemporary BG line and is offering it at a more competitive price point in response to cheaper imitations of their design that are currently being sold for far less. A men’s accessory line is in the works as well, and will include leather belts, bags, bracelets and other pieces essential to the Bogosse style, which they describe as a complete image, not just a versatile shirt but an entire outfit that can be dressed up or down with a single blazer or a pair of jeans. Though it may be worn by high-powered CEOs across the globe, Bogosse is not your traditional men’s dress shirt.

“We were the first ones to come up with special leather cuffs, to start putting buttons by two and three on the front placket,” said Fabrice. “When everybody was making French cuffs I was making my own leather cuff. I wanted it to be different. When everybody was putting fabrics on the inside collar and inside the cuff I put it under the collar. When people started copying my point stitches I made double point stitches. When people started copying my square buttons I put buttons by two. We’re playing, we’re having fun. This is the idea behind the design. It’s a constant evolution.”

In such a cutthroat business, what does this innovative pair do to maintain their edge and stay ahead of their competition on an international level?

“We go for the accent, the detail, things that are exclusive, that have never been seen or done before, that are very fast-forward, almost aggressive, yet subtle enough that it still remains very classic, very elegant, very distinct,” said Patrick, who maintains a subtle, less-is-more approach to his own personal style. “You want to attract the customer by doing something different, but at the same time how much can you put on a shirt that makes it nice without being too tacky and too aggressive as well? That’s where we have been extremely successful.”

In addition to their unique design, they credit their success to staying faithful to their distribution strategy, which maintains a policy of a minimum number of clients for a maximum amount of sales. They started the company with a personal $100,000 investment from Patrick and have never taken any money from outside investors so as to maintain the authenticity of their vision.

Fortunately, moving on and achieving great success has not diminished their love for their country or the importance of giving back, and the Tardieu brothers are not only avid supporters of a multitude of charities, but hope to one day create an organization of their own to provide job opportunities for struggling youth in their native country.

“When you think of Haiti you think of poverty, despair, and struggle,” said Patrick, “because that’s what the media has portrayed. I want to give back to my country and shed light on the positive things the country is doing. That is my ultimate goal. Look at Oscar de la Renta and what he was able to do, not only for the fashion that comes out of his creativity as a Dominican. He was able to have a lot of very influential people come invest in his country, which contributed to its overall success. That’s our ultimate goal. A lot of kids there are not afforded the same opportunities that we have in America and, as a result, wind up in jail from having to seek alternative methods of survival. We would like to open a center for those kids to re-instill their hope by providing them with a trade or craftsmanship of some sort in the manufacturing side of the luxury retail industry, to give them something that will make them feel good about themselves and create a positive future. That is my dream.”

One thing is for certain, the Bogosse brothers know a thing or two about making people feel good and they pride themselves on creating clothes that people all over the world, from your son to your favorite celebrity, want to wear without endorsement deals of any kind. Avoiding the path of least resistance has never reaped such abundant rewards.