Interview With Anthony Alvarez | Traveling The World With ONECULTURE
I find my life inspiration through immersing myself in local cultures, especially exploring the streets of the world.
Born in the United States, young entrepreneur Anthony Alvarez grew up between New York and Paris in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural household. A context which would afterwards influence the concept basis of his adventure in the world of fashion. After starting in investment banking in NYC and London, he felt ready to pursue a dream that was smouldering since a young age -launching his own lifestyle menswear brand, Oneculture. Established in Paris, one of the world capitals of fashion, Anthony finds his life inspiration through immersing himself in local cultures, especially exploring the streets of the world.
You have a very international background, yet you have decided to establish in Paris. What inspires you the most from this city?
Paris is amazing! I adore walking around which I do everywhere. I always tell people that Paris is a walking museum. There is just so much diversity of expression. I can spend a Saturday playing pick-up basketball in Pigalle, meeting up for lunch in the Marais, spending the afternoon at the boutique and catching up with friends usually at a speakeasy in the 2nd arrondissement where I live.
Before becoming an entrepreneur in the world of fashion you worked as an investment banker. What have you learned from this experience?
I learned how to work as part of a team and deliver under extremely high pressure. We worked 80-100 hours weeks. I learned to deal with individuals from different industries and positions. It gave me tremendous structure and discipline, which I have come to find is important in what I do today. Also, it taught me attention to detail.
What enthused you to start your own fashion label?
It has always been my dream to create my own clothing brand. As a child, I remember returning from a surf trip with my dad and while we were waiting for our luggage at the Biarritz airport, I noticed a man wearing Quicksilver from head to toe. I started talking to him and turned out he was the head of the brand. I remember he was so passionate. He invited me and my dad for a company visit and handed me free prototype apparel. That is probably when my dream was born.
What is the concept behind your fashion label, Oneculture?
The brand’s objective is foremost to convey a positive message. I want to promote cultural diversity and traveling without any cultural barriers. My team and I created our own language based on the universal sailor’s alphabet to communicate our messages to the world. Our inspiration for each collection comes from various travel experiences. Our first collection is inspired by Manila, Philippines where part of my family is from.
How would you define the style of Oneculture and who is it aimed for?
Oneculture is a premium brand – its materials are of high technical quality and style is cutting edge. We use the highest grade Italian and French fabrics that are waterproof, stretch and breathable. We manufacture mostly in France. We place great attention to detail (embroidery, stitches, foldings, finishes, etc). Comfort and durability are essential. In each piece, we try to combine different worlds (high fashion, sportswear and lifestyle clothing). Our dress codes remain free and represent a sign of belonging to similar values.
What is the main inspiration behind the creation of each piece?
Our first city, Manila, is an intense city gifted with a chaotic structure. It has a strong traditional know-how which you will find throughout this first collection. The printed linings reference a multicolored eucalyptus tree which is found in the Philippines. We included scotch tape effects for the chaotic structure. We revised the traditional Filipino mens garment (the “Barong”).
Is there a particular statement that you want to convey through your clothing?
Universality – of style, expression, and of life itself.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced launching your brand and how have you overcome it?
Seems like there is the challenge of the day but one of the early ones was to pull off our first season (Fall/Winter 2017-2018) on time given we started the brand in January 2017.
How do you see the brand developing in the next five years?
In this business, you need to be looking ahead a few seasons. Much beyond that is tough to do. Brand message wise we know where we are going. I could see a couple of interesting collaborations and Pop-Up shops around the world in order to give reach to our core message.
How do you think Oneculture differs from other similar brands in terms of style?
We think our brand message is unique in that both our community can travel with us each season while they inspire us as well as take us all over the world.
What do you think about the concept of competition?
Fair competition pushes us to be better. I played a lot of sports growing up and I have seen the positives. As long as ethics and values are respected, competition is essential.
Relating to the idea of “culture”, how do you think diversity impacts our society?
Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all just carbon copies. Diversity inspires life. Many of my closest friends come from different backgrounds and cultures. We travel to new countries every summer, immersing ourselves in the cultures. It is through our melting pot that we both connect and challenge one another to keep on learning.
What is your formula for success at such a young age?
I am still learning so much. I am not afraid to make some mistakes and learn from them. Of course, you have to work very hard, learn from others, but most importantly, pick the right team and building trust.
Our motto stands for “You can be, do and have anything you want”. What do you think of such a statement?
My parents have always encouraged me to “dare to conquer”. Whatever one’s goal, I believe you need to visualize or “dream it” and then work day and night until your dream has become a reality.