Menswear Designer Davidson Petit-Frere Has the Fashion World’s Full Attention
Jamie McCarthy

With his growing label, Musika Frere, the dapper Brooklynite, 26, shares how he’s making the fashion world take note.

ESSENCE: Did you always want to be a fashion designer?

DAVIDSON PETIT-FRÈRE: After graduating from high school, I went to college for a week, then left to pursue real estate. That’s where I found my passion for suits and dressing like a gentleman. I would post what I wore to work on Instagram. My tailor noticed that I had a buzz, and it was bringing him a lot of clients. He offered to teach me the business from fittings to classic tailoring. I stepped away from real estate for what I thought would be a temporary thing—and it turned out to be my career. I decided to start my own venture.

ESSENCE: Your work is full of unexpected hues. What inspires this?

D.P.F.: My family is from Haiti, and Haitian men are known for being very colorful. I wear a lot of oranges, purples, reds, blues.

ESSENCE: A slew of megastars, including Kevin Hart, Jay Z and Stephen Curry, have worn Musika Frère. How did you pull that off?

D.P.F.: Today social media is a good platform to jump-start any business. It’s free promotion. Everything is organic. It’s also about the customer service of my team—me and my partner, Aleks Musika.

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ESSENCE: Who were some of your style icons growing up?

D.P.F.: My dad. He’s an engineer and always dressed to impress. Michael Jackson, because he was a rebel and ahead of his time with fitted clothing. Ozwald Boateng, because he was the first Black tailor on Savile Row.

ESSENCE: What grooming products do you swear by?

D.P.F.: I love shea butter—it keeps skin soft. A gentleman should always exfoliate his skin. I use St. Ives. Until my own fragrance comes out, I like those by Tom Ford, Chanel and Creed. Moisturize your face, exfoliate and always smell good. I also use Crest teeth whitening strips.

ESSENCE: What’s next?

D.P.F.: I just launched a line of footwear called Lavati. The goal is to do sneakers, boots and, eventually, women’s heels.

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