Subtle Garments: The Art of Moving in Silence

Introduce yourself

My name is Pierre Junior Guillaume, I am 24 years old. I work in the fashion industry and am the owner of Subtle Garments. 

Let’s take it all the way back to the beginning, when did your love of streetwear/fashion begin?

I started getting into hip-hop and basketball really young maybe first or second grade. I was intrigued by what certain artists and athletes were wearing and it inspired the way I would dress. I wore some baggier clothes in those years. Jordan and Iverson were my role models. My dad grabbed me a couple pairs of retros as a little kid. I always wanted to win like Jordan and wearing the shoes made you feel that way. The way Iverson dressed and the way he played really translated into what I wore too. In the 6th grade, I bought my first pair of bapestas because Pharrell and Soulja Boy had them. Pharrell’s music, crazy style, and just wearing pieces that were so foreign to me at that age like all over print full zip hoodies from BBC & Ice Cream or Shark hoodies from Bape. It made me want to dress creatively and experiment. Myspace was huge for me as well, that’s where I would find new music and artists, I remember messaging Soulja Boy in 6th grade before Crank that came out. His song “I Got Me Some Bapes” had me going on Footsoldier.com to cop some pairs. I was really into clothing and my appearance soon as I started dressing myself. 

While in highschool you got your first start creating t-shirts with a few of your friends, it wasn’t for years later until you decided to start Subtle Garments. What made you ready to start your own brand?

I stopped the first brand, Chanceux, and then for a few years I spent time dedicated to really learn how to make my ideas come to life. I also started traveling with friends which helped pick up a lot of my inspiration. I went to Japan, Hong Kong, France, and London. During those times, I would make a collection or a little time-capsule based on where I visited or what I felt from my experience somewhere. I was also experimenting with these new resources, manufacturers, and fabrics. While I had the thought of Subtle Garments since late 2017, it officially birthed in January of this year. I spent a lot of time planning how I wanted to go about everything since this was the first time I was going to be going all-in on myself and my creative vision. 

Everything is still a learning process. The first drop, while it may have looked good and the pop-up had a great turnout, it wasn’t perfect. There were so many things I wanted to change and so many things went wrong. I am a perfectionist and when I create something for people, I want them to experience it to the highest degree. 

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Since your first release, how have you seen yourself grow as an individual and as a brand?

Honestly, it’s been a blessing to see the growth of the brand. Things have been moving pretty fast. I’d say it’s also a testament to the six years it took working on my craft behind the scenes which people may not even know about. That’s what Subtle Garments is. It’s about moving in silence. Letting the work speak for itself. Not making too much noise but making noise. That’s how I’ve always operated and also how I dress. As the brand continues to grow, one thing I want it to really do is make someone feel like they are putting a cape on with a Subtle piece. A lot of friends, family, and even new people tell me different scenarios where they’ve interacted with someone else that’s had a piece. I want the brand to bring people together. Make the world smaller. Above all make you feel good in it. 

How has working with Oscar and the rest of the Modern Notoriety team help you develop your own brand?

Definitely learned a lot through Oscar, he has a great work ethic. Sometimes I’d doubt myself in my lowest times and also doubt my patience. I started understanding more that things do take a long time to come to fruition. Seeing how Oscar was able to build everything with Modern from the ground up and the process it took him inspires me to keep my work going. I’ve known him years back from sneaker events and shoe groups like KREAM. He messed with the vision of my first line and it’s crazy that we started working together years later. Being with Modern I’ve been able to fly out to different cities with brands and do interviews with athletes. Working at Modern has allowed me to work with a lot of cool people and help advance my network of connections. 

What has been the most difficult part you’ve faced while going about creating your own brand?

I’d say the patience around the whole process it takes to make the complete and final piece. For example, not having everything ready for my first ever pop-up. I had all of my pieces sent to me and once they came in, I was missing 30 sweaters and they said they’d be shipping a month after the pop-up. For my second event, I got the final product in and it wasn’t what I wanted. Quality control errors that were made at the manufacturing office and now there’s another batch of sweaters I can’t drop. It sucks, it’s wasted money and time. Other things like getting the right fabrics, stitching, and cut down. It takes a ton of time to drop the right item…and honestly, sometimes you could be super late. The thing you wanted to drop now gets delayed and somebody else already released something similar. While it sucks, that’s the process of being young in this industry.

I’m finally getting to a point where I feel like I’m starting to see things speed up because with the time I put into this, I’ve acquired so many new skills and resources. A lot of these new ideas are coming to life and I’m able to do more than before. 

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As we quickly approach the end of the year, if you can hold yourself accountable for accomplishing one more major goal. what will that be?

Getting this next collection ready to release this fall/winter. This next collection is going to be called Bullseye and it will be released hopefully in October/November. There are some pieces that I’m releasing in the collection that haven’t been done before, so I’m excited to really get this out there. I also want to make a creative and interactive event for this next collection. If I can this year, I want to have a pop-up in New York. 

 

 

 

 

For every collection you’ve done so far, you’ve had a pop-up with it. Are you planning on having events for each collection?

It’s not something I want to do every single time I have a collection or drop some pieces. Right now I feel like because I haven’t been able to fully get the brand’s message across, these pop-ups allow me to tell the story and make the brand more known. Once I’m more comfortable with the brand being where I want it to be, I can fall back a little bit on the events to plan better and develop more thought out ones. Also approach new ideas for a new drop and ways to getting people involved and interactive with the pieces. 

Looking ahead, what will year two consist of for Subtle Garments?

Man, there’s so much that I want. I don’t want it to be just a Chicago or even American known brand. I want to broaden out and have the brand be recognized on a global level. Honestly, I also want to be more free to do a lot more than I can now. Working on being able to have Subtle Garments my full time job. I want to work on sourcing fabrics in different countries, have my designs tailored by the best, etc. Lastly, I want the brand to be a staple in Chicago and in the world. I like to speak things into existence, so by God’s grace I’m looking to achieve my dreams. 


Written by: Nico Rud

Photos by: Estevan and JP

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