DESIGNER PROFILE – Esdras Jean Baptiste

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What should everyone know about you?
My name is Esdras Jean Baptiste. I’m a designer who thought would be designing women’s fashion. Contradictory to my initial plan, I landed a job designing men’s clothing for licensed brands (Michael Bastian Gray Label, Versace 1969, Nicole miller, and English laundry). Recently, I’ve expanded my passion to include creating private label collections for Chain stores/e-commerce (Saks, Nordstrom, Gilt, T.J-Maxx, Burlington, Macy’s and Men’s Warehouse, DXL, Costco, Sam’s club).

How would you describe what you do?
 I strive to remain original by developing clothing I know people will actually purchase. My goal is to always create brand relevant products. Products that will last you a lifetime! My career has also taught me that understanding the customer’s desires and identifying the target market are critical to a designer’s success.

Why did you choose to be a designer?
 I have always been artistic and well dressed.  Even as a kid, I realized that color coordinating and critiquing peoples looks was a natural talent of mine.  My friends’ nicknamed me “fashion guru.” Everyone turned to me for advice on the latest looks. I guess it was just meant to be!

What steps did you take to become a designer?
 After college, I was hired as an Assistant Manager in the retail world. I enjoyed the job because it came with a lot of creative freedoms, but I had a different vision for my future. So instead of living with regret, I quit my job and chased my dreams. With great enthusiasm and savings, I moved to NYC. I had no experience designing, and I didn’t have any connections in the industry. With hard work, dedication and a strong portfolio I landed a Job.

Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
 Encountering buyers who are afraid to take a risk on a design I know is great and will sell. It’s disappointing to find out they purchased the same design from last season but in a new color.

If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
 My first love was music. As a child, I often got in trouble for humming subconsciously in class. I would probably be writing hit records for myself and other artists.

How did you get started in design?

EJB: During my senior year of high school, I observed a classmate drawing with a fashion figure template. I asked her if I could borrow it, and she agreed.  That weekend, I drew about 10-15 looks. I was amazed and shouted “I might be able to do this for a living.” A couple of months later, I applied for a design competition/scholarship and won $10,000 for college. The rest is history.

What do you like about what you do?
Walking into a store and seeing your product, but the most exciting has been having the product on

What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
 Many people think that designing is super easy, and believe all we do is play with pretty fabrics. The clothes don’t just magically appear! In fact, it requires an exhausting amount of patience and attention to detail.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
 I want to have my own brand. A full lifestyle brand that includes clothing, shoes, bags and accessories. I want to become a household name that stays relevant even after I’m long gone!

How has your work evolved since you began your career?
 It has changed so much just in the past few years. It’s important for everyone to remember that learning is a lifelong process. I am constantly learning new techniques, ways to increase my efficiency, and tricks of the trade. This business is very fast paced, and you need to be able to keep up with the technology. My work is a constant evolution.

Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
 I stay away from things that have oversized in your face logos on them. Those tend to be the items that look cool today, but end up way in the back of your closet the next day.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
 The biggest thing I have noticed is the need for comfort in clothing. People want to wear clothing that makes them feel good, look good, and easy to wear.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
 I have learned that fashion is a big business. It doesn’t matter how big your brand is or how many celebrities wear your product, if your brand isn’t selling, your business won’t stay afloat.

What advice would you give to young designers?
 I remember being in school and everyone wanted to live the Project Runway lifestyle. That is not reality. Being able to design cutting edge products is obviously critical. However, knowing Photoshop and Illustrator along with other design software is what will keep you in this game for the long run. The fashion industry has many avenues of entry. It’s important to do your research because the options in this industry are endless.

What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
 Life circumstances often compel us to transcend our limited mindsets.  Although I’ve faced many challenges this year, I wasn’t overcome with defeat. That being said, I’m focused on finding a brand that I can give my talents too.

Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
 No I’m not superstitious. The one thing I can tell the reader is life becomes a lot easier when you make yourself a priority.

What’s your motto?
EJB: “Passion will make you crazy, but is there any other way to live?” –Howard Hughes

I was born and raised in Naples Florida. I have a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising. The brands that I have designed for are Michael Bastian Gray Label, English Laundry, Nicole Miller mens, Versace 19.69. This past year alone I’ve had my work featured in GQ, WGSN, WWD, and on countless celebrities like Neal Patrick Harris. I want to thank my family, and friends who have supported me through this journey. Even though they still don’t understand what I do for a living. I’m grateful that I wake up everyday and get to do what I love.

Learn more about Esdras:

StylePortfolios: Esdras Jean Baptiste

Instagram: esdras_fly_hd

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LinkedIn: esdras jean baptiste