Gregory Assad is a young Black designer who was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, an overseas extension of the French Republic. However, for the past four years the designer has been in Paris studying at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, a school with a direct pipeline to the group which determines if fashion brands qualify as true couture houses. Some notable alumni that also attended the school include Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfield and Issey Miyake.
Upon graduating, Assad presented his first full collection titled “New Wave” which consisted of 34 looks that aimed to capture the designer’s Creole culture and his efforts to create a new perspective on glamour. Most impressive, the collection was self-funded and produced in collaboration with several different artists he connected with through Instagram. In addition, he also works with his great friend, Axle Jozeph, a photographer, to create the beautiful images he shares on social media. As a result of Assad and his team’s hard work, they debuted his first collection at Centre Wangari Maathai—a performing arts center in Paris.
The Martinican designer tells ESSENCE that he draws most of his inspiration from his homeland, specifically memories and moments that were captured in the past. Through archived photographs and vintage accessories kept by his parents, aunties and friends, Assad is able to travel through time to find motivation for his designs. Aside from research being an integral part of his craft, he also loves to blend the worlds of couture and ready-to-wear to create a new world of glamour. Assad believes in creating garments that are special, wearable and comfortable all in one––something fashion lovers are seeking more of especially after spending so much time inside wearing sweatpants. Assad is also a new-age designer who does not design with the concept of gender in mind. He tells us that he does not like to define who the clothes are for and he would rather let the men and the women choose what they want to wear.
Since presenting his first collection, Assad has been fortunate to work with several different stylists that have featured his designs in a number of Parisian magazines. The young designer’s work has also traveled to be featured in an editorial for Harper’s Bazaar U.S.
At the moment, Assad works with a small atelier to assist him with production and he is currently operating his business with the available samples to optimize on opportunities to engage with press. Although the designer is attracting attention with his eye-catching collection, he is also planning on commercializing his brand so the community he’s built can purchase his designs.
Below, Assad shares more details on what’s next for him and his brand, along with some thoughts on sustainability.
ESSENCE: You’ve accomplished quite a bit since debuting your graduate collection. What’s next for Gregory Assad?
Assad: When I return to Paris, I plan to continue to work on the commercialization of the brand and just continue to build the overall brand. I want to also apply to designer festivals and fund initiatives for designers. I’m also planning to host a physical presentation for buyers and other industry professionals to see the first collection in person.
ESSENCE: Any thoughts on sustainability?
Assad: I must share that I love to reuse materials to create new designs. For one of the dresses in my collection, I used some glass from the floor tile and used it as fabric. I love finding unusual objects and materials and creating new things. You can even make couture sustainable.