Patrick Cupid is a New York City designer from the Bronx who is renowned for his use of striking colors and patterns on elegant and timeless silhouettes.
Patrick, when did you first think about going into fashion? Was fashion always a part of your life?
Fashion was always there for me. I loved to draw from a young age and some of my earliest memories involve drawing outfits when I could barely hold a pencil. It didn't matter whether I was watching a movie, reading a fairy tale, or listening to bible stories - my drawings centered on what the protagonist was wearing. My mother taught me the basics of drawing and I remember splurging all my pocket money on sketchpads and number 2 pencils. My sketches were always fashion and clothes.
When did you decide that fashion as a career was going to be your path?
When I was 13, my godmother Laura told me I was a designer and that I should go to FIT. I had no idea what any of this meant but around this time, there was a new show on Bravo called Fashion Files with Karl Lagerfeld and this show was life-changing. For the first time in my life, I saw that there was a whole world dedicated to fashion. I saw Karl Lagerfeld work and I knew then that this is what I wanted to do. I saw myself in him.
You studied at FIT, Parsons, and Politecnico di Milano, some of the top fashion institutions in the world. Did you already kno wthat you wanted to launch your own brand?
I come from a very entrepreneurial family. My grandfather had his own business as a contractor making houses while my grandmother did everything from owning a hair salon to millinery to catering. So it's in my blood to take risks and be my own boss.
Having said that, it was quite some time before I launched my label. I had a lot of great experiences within the industry, just not as a designer. During my time in school in Milan, I was curating and selling art for a gallery in London. After school, I was a model agent for some time which was fun - discovering new faces, putting models from all over the world on the map... I also did runway show production using my models which was a big success. So it was all very peripheral to design.
What was the catalyst to creating your first collection?
After a few years of working and partying hard, my personal life was in total shambles. I needed a change. I applied to a competition for young designers and made it to the finals for women's eveningwear which was a first step in the right direction. Then in 2017, a Mercedes Benz fashion week platform invited me to do a fashion collection in Romania. It wasn't my finest collection in that it wasn't particularly cohesive but it helped open some doors and eventually I found investors and mentors who would help me get my first collection off the ground.
Tell us about the early days.
I knew the basics - consignment, pop-ups, wholesale... But at the end of the day, you have to be your own salesperson. I went door to door from boutique to boutique in search of stockists who would buy my collection.
Eventually, and totally by chance, I found this gorgeous boutique in Ludlow Street. I went in, showed the buyer my collection and she offered to sell some pieces on consignment. She sold a pair of my pants pretty much right away and from there my network and relationships grew. Eventually I also found a stockist in Paris.
The best thing about working with small boutiques was getting direct feedback on who the Patrick Cupid customer was and I could use that feedback for the next designs. From the get go, my prints were a hit and that became my signature.
What is the Patrick Cupid vision and aesthetic?
I wanted a clean, classic look. I've never been about trends and my brand isn't about that. It's timeless pieces that never go out of style. Fit is also super important to me. Every piece has to fit perfectly and I refuse to skimp on quality. My mother was a stickler for quality and I remember cringing internally everytime I would shop with her because she would berate the salesperson when she thought the quality wasn't good enough. Now it's ingrained in me. I'll look at the stitching of a garment and know immediately if it's well made. And of course, the fabric has to make me melt.
If I had to describe my own brand, I would say it's cosmopolitan, functional, transitional, and well-made. Women wear my pieces to work and to the red carpet.
What's your favorite item?
The shirt dress. It's also one of my top sellers, unsurprisingly. It's so transitional and just so easy. The color is gorgeous and you can dress it up or down. It does everything. This is my take on a classic that goes beyond trend. I just love it.