SUBJECT: Sebastien Amisial of SEBASTIEN AMI
Sebastien is the imaginative individual behind SEBASTIEN AMI and is one of those creatives whose passion is contagious. When you converse with him you can’t help but be excited about where he’s taken his brand SEBASTIEN AMI from inception to today, and be even more excited for where he’ll take it moving forward. Sebastien is an artist’s first, in every sense, having come of age in DC, but spending summers in NY he absorbed the Burroughs and was transfixed by fashion.
He’s currently based in the Arts District of Los Angeles, but his brand has made waves in New York and Paris. He had an affinity for garment making early on, with an equal interest in Manga Illustration. These interests matured, coalescing into a signature process and aesthetic that is Distinctly Sebastien. One that bridges Illustration into physical space and is born from all of his experiences.
For Sebastien Pursuit of passion meant overcoming a myriad of challenges while navigating uncertainly. He’s overcome surprising lows & highs and everything in between, pioneering in L.A. to hone his skill.
“For a moment I gave up on design. As a first-generation Haitian American, there’s an ever-present pressure, you know that be GREAT in America pressure that’s always in the back of your head, and you’re not sure how you can make that pressure quelled by your passion and have it all work out."
THE OBJECT: #2 Pencil (+ a kneaded Eraser)
Of course, in combination with a Kneaded Eraser. This is my defacto combo and it’s often where the ideas start. This method was impressed upon me by my Highschool art teacher Mr. Ribzik, he stressed “ All you need is a Pencil & and an eraser to really drive home a vision.” And this stuck with me. I use the eraser as a tool, just as much as I use the lead as a tool. The subtractive process blows my mind. I refine, I like things to be perfect, so it’s additive & subtractive. The #2 pencil is honest and I admire clean lines. I’m pretty old school in that way. I still sit down at a traditional drafting table to get the process going.
I’m looking for lines in everything…. I get uncomfortable seeing a line I don’t like. If the lines don’t work I go to town. Lines are my lens, from 2D to 3D and back and forth, the lines are everything, so a sketch goes a long way. If it wasn’t for a #2 pencil I wouldn’t be able to get some of my ideas out at all. I build my collections from sketched characters and then bring those characters to life.
The sketching process is nostalgic. I’m always taken back to high school. It’s when I learned how to step outside of my boundaries.
Sebastien’s affinity for lines didn’t prevent him from going outside of them to persevere. He’s navigated in and out of the fashion scene at all levels, couch hopping, taking odd painting & illustration jobs and a range of garment-making apprenticeships to make ends meet, and carve his own lane in clothing.
I was always moving into the garment production space, I just didn't know entirely what it was. I still had to figure out what I wanted to achieve creatively with it. Ami Goodheart, a friend, and Mentor taught me how to sew. Carl Louisville, during my time at Guerrilla Atelier, helped me learn about Italian construction. At one point, when I came back to LA I was doing four jobs at a time, I took it in stride. I soaked up a lot taking a bit from everything. I Learned how to sell without selling. I can honestly say, that where I’ve arrived today, is due to several Meaningful people that impacted me along the way. I can’t name them all in this feature, but in different ways, they all helped me establish a line of sight, or think outside of conventional lines. Some helped with the development of skill, others with my vision and focus. It's been everyone and everything, every deal that didn’t go through, every odd job, every risk and every unknown, all of ups and downs brought me here. And now, a lot of it is just playing around and exploring. It’s Art woven into Design, a style deeply rooted in everything I love.
Taking lines from a variety of influences, Us & French militant, German utilitarian garb, Japanese patterns, and a lot of inspiration from 19’40-’60s vintage pieces, with a little bit of that NY borough Edge sewn in.
Tell us about a time it was hard to be yourself, or when being yourself led to a breakthrough?
The time is right now. I’ve never felt like more of myself. I’ve never felt more in tune with my talents, abilities, and goals. Evolving and learning more about the selling and business side of building the brand.
I was borderline homeless at one point when I dove headfirst into the uncertainty of navigating being new in LA, and I’m still throwing myself into the fire with every collection. I do feel in my core like it’s all clicking. Things had to go that way to flow this way. I’m comfortable being uncomfortable. I can truly say, now is my time.
WHAT’S SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THER, THAT YOU’D WANT
EVERYONE TO HEAR?
From the outside people only know my LA backstory and I guess at times that can be intimidating. They see this really passionate and serious Sebastien, meticulous about everything I do. It’s like they think I don’t go out, or have fun, just a non-stop workaholic.
I can give off that granddad, or uncle vibe.
But, at the end of the day, I light one up, kick back, and can get lost in a good anime. I’m actually kind of a geek, who gets really excited about the next (Insert the name of anime) that’s coming out. That DC kid, that was the art Geek………I’m still that dude and I hope people don’t take me too seriously.
Also, what people may not know is SEBASTIEN AMI would not be where & what it is without the help of my fiance Marianne Brehmer. And, I will take this opportunity to acknowledge that and say thank you.