Interview: CFDA Fashion Future Graduate Showcase Designer Gibron Shepperd
"In a certain part of the world, this would be called a caftan," designer Gibron Shepperd explained as he pulled the white linen capped sleeve tunic with detailed collar stays from his rack. Shepperd, native to Van Nuys, California but currently residing in Atlanta is one of the many fashion graduates from across the country participating in the CFDA's Fashion Future Graduate Showcase. His station lit up by a picture of his Spring 2019 collection entitled, "Sons of Abraham" was statement-making. Six black men, regal in appearance representing various hair textures from clean tapers to fro's and locs posed in GIBRON's colorful oversized monochromatic looks.
Shepperd combined 3 Abrahamic religions he grew up around, his own experience getting dressed for church and his multi-ethnic background to guide his needle and thread for his commencement collection. GIBRON identifies as a menswear line but some of the collection's garments: extreme wide leg trousers and blazer tops with peplum ruffles challenge menswear norms, however, Shepperd isn't planning on going in a unisex direction. "If the collection was about me and about the story of my background I couldn't continue to talk about womenswear (the collection started as womenswear). I had to talk about menswear. I had to push menswear." The more masc-presenting GIBRON pieces included the shirting paired with the peplum suiting and a relaxed fit pink henley top.
GIBRON Spring 2019 Collection - Image Courtesy: gibron.com
Check out our full interview with designer Gibron Shepperd below.
Your collection is very masculine challenging. Why did you choose to label the collection menswear instead of unisex?
"It started when Hedi Slimane went to Celine and there was all this conversation about what does a man know about dressing women. I really had to step back and look at myself and say, 'what do I know about dressing a woman.' I had to change gears because originally it was going to be a womenswear collection but if the collection was about me and about the story of my background I couldn't continue to talk about womenswear I had to talk about menswear. I had to push menswear. My goal was to create intrinsically desirable garments. I don't know if you feel this way but when you walk through a women's department store it's like, 'wow beautiful, cool, amazing,' and then you walk through men's and sometimes it's like, 'a polo, a jean.' I wanted something that was hanging on a rack but still intrinsically beautiful for a man to wear because men want to feel beautiful as well."
I see you're inspired by Cristobal Balenciaga and Riccardo Tisci. Are there any black designers that inspire your work?
"Stephen Burrows is like the end all be all. He was a fantastic cutter, he showed at [Palace of Versailles]. He is a big deal and an incredible talent."
What are your immediate plans with GIBRON now that you've graduated?
"I'm working on a book that's a mixture of the lookbook and a few essays articulating what the collection's about, and what I was going through during the design process. That's immediate. I'm also looking at finding positions at other companies and considering starting my own company and writing a business plan. "