Gabon-born, Miami-based Dominique Siby is the force behind Felio Siby, a high-end fashion luxury brand established. Parisian-schooled and very well-traveled, Dominique uses his well-rounded nature as a source of inspiration to create lucullan items. In a short span of only 4 years, his brand has done remarkably well with household names like Tomáš Berdych , one of the top ten tennis players in the world and Felipe Nasr, 2009 Formula BMW Europe champion and the 2011 British Formula 3 champion as ambassadors. The likes of Claire Sulmers of Fashion bomb daily constant rock his designs. A traditional man in every sense of it, his designs embody the map of Africa, his choices of fabrics portray an expression of opulent ethnicity. Simply put, Dominique has taken Africa to Miami.
Felio Siby Ambassador and World’s Top Ranking Tennis Players; Tomáš Berdych
“What really set me apart was discipline and hard work”, Dominique says as I ask what he did differently. As you know not a lot of people thrive outside of their own countries but as a disciplined man, Dominique has quickly established his place in a city as fast-paced as Miami.
Dominique takes me back to his childhood; ‘I used to go fishing with my dad all the time when I was little, in my dad’s village which is called Pitonga in Gabon. It’s a small village but this is a place I love. I have a lot of memories there.”
Chatting to the man behind a growing luxury fashion empire, I could not help but wonder what style means to Siby; “It’s an expression of oneself. Everyone has their uniqueness; it all just depends on how you put things together.” He goes on to dote on his 3 daughters and how their styles differ.
Technology has become an integrated part of clothing but a brand like Felio Siby sees its pieces made the traditional way- By hand. Out of curiosity, I ask Dominique what role technology plays for his brand; “Social media is very important for any brand. It’s a game changer. We’ve been provided with social media, that for me is how technology contributes immensely to my brand.”
You can tell that Dominique Siby is an Avid lover of sports by his choices of ambassadors. He had one of his brand’s timepieces personally designed by Tomáš Berdych, and another was specially crafted for the English Formula one team- Force India. Dominique really seems to favor the highest class of single-seat auto racing, Formula One. I ask if he sees the love affair between fashion and athletes as a continuous thing; “Yes, definitely. Athletes are trendy people out of their uniforms. People always love to see what they’re wearing. Athletes are trendsetters, so, they’ll continuously be a place for them in fashion.” As for what makes an athlete right for Felio Siby, Dominique responds; “The athlete has to have an edge about him.” A Piquing persona does it for Dominique.
Felio Siby creations are masterpieces. He fuses materials like python, crocodile and ostrich, all hand-made in Italian and Swiss workshops. However, with creation comes criticism but Dominique is not particularly interested in faultfinders; “Yes, my works get criticized but I don’t really pay attention to that because I refuse to be affected by people saying ‘Oh your pieces are ugly or your watches are ugly’ because I have a lot of people around me who are not a part of my own company, but they check the process of what I do, I have people who advise me. For a lot of people, it’s easy to sit behind the computer and put out negative comments about things that other people do but they do not understand how much work or how long it takes to create the things I do so personally, I don’t pay attention to that. If one of my customers has a problem with one of my pieces, I would pay attention to them, rather than listen to just anybody randomly sitting online saying things they do not understand.”
Between February 2013 and February 2014, the U.S. exported $5.8 billion worth of apparel; but it also imported $80 billion worth of apparel during that time. This simply means that majority of manufacturing jobs were being offshored and are still being outsourced till date. Felio Siby is not an exception to the system with production being outsourced from Italian and Swiss manufacturers. Dominique is not about to consider reshoring production of his brand back to the U.S., here’s why; “Certain places are known for certain things. When you look for the best manufacturers in the world as regards watches, its Switzerland, you can’t deny it; this is because they’ve been doing it for a very long time. I’ve worked with factories in different places in the world, even in the United States to produce leather goods. When you go to Italy, you’ll find certain people who specialize in creating new colors and inventing other things, you’ll always find something new, anytime I go to croc producing factories in Miami, it’s always the same thing. Anything can be done anywhere in the world but because certain people specialize in certain things and have done it for a longer period of time, I feel like they know exactly what they’re doing and that’s why offshoring may never be curbed.”
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An Interview with Miami-based Luxury Guru, Dominique Siby for Blanck Magazine UK.
Interview by Vane Karolle
All Images are courtesy of Felio Siby.