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Meet Sylvestre Cetina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sylvestre Cetina.

Sylvestre, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my career in fashion just about four years ago and quickly started making waves. I participated in the Santa Monica College fashion show LaMode in 2018, with a mini collection that won Best Runway. Soon after, I started my own brand, making custom items for private clients throughout Los Angeles and in Spain, where I grew up. I worked at a leather accessories manufacturer in Los Angeles and started fashioning my own items. I have had clients bring me their vintage fur coats so that I turn them into bags and other items, though my focus is not in the fur industry. Sylvestre Cetina Atelier concentrates on making quality, exclusive garments and handbags. I have a hand in everything myself, from sketching to pattern drafting to construction. My career path was broadened when I started costuming for the film industry, having worked on a few feature-length and short films, like Honey Boy and Star Girl.

I also was designing accessories for The Girlfriend Experience, Season 3, a cable tv show, though it was canceled in March when the pandemic was in full force. Most recently, I was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to partake in their Academy Gold enhancement program, where I network and attend masterclasses with leading filmmakers of the entertainment industry. I am currently in pre-production for a couple of short films here in Los Angeles. It can be challenging to be a one-man show, but it’s also very exciting and rewarding. I am very excited for the future, now that fashion is taking on a different life, just like the rest of us.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. Running your own business by yourself means you need to wear every hat. Needless to say, starting your brand is not for the faint of heart because getting your name out there can be very challenging. The issue isn’t so much breaking through the noise of other designers but to constantly be in front of people. While there are many ways to do that today, you really need to prioritize and find what is the most important thing that needs to be done next. Today I know that I should have been doing this my whole life, but for a long time I worked in other industries that were not remotely as fulfilling.

Alright – so let’s talk business.  What else should we know about you and your career so far?
Sylvestre Cetina Atelier is a design studio that specializes in fashion and costume design. The focus is on couture garments and the brand is known for the handbags and corsetry. There is a lot of research that goes into every creation, whether they are futuristic military fatigues for a dystopian film or a provocative shelf corset inspired by the turn of the century. Sylvestre Cetina Atelier is set apart from others by its sense of style, where modern design concepts are fused with timeless aesthetic elements, coming together to create symbolic pieces that possess range. The client that wears Sylvestre Cetina embodies a strong attitude, a sense of power, and is confident that they are stylish. And that makes us proud.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I suppose it comes easy to define success as what you see others achieve, particularly the big names out there. Being a household name to me, as a designer, is a marker that you have landed in success, as cliché as that may sound. You know you have made it to the big leagues when your creations become a commodity that people covet. And really, that could be as simple as a person on the street telling you how nice your bag is. That is success. I don’t know that I subscribe to the idea of the need to be in the glamour and paparazzi sphere as a claim to success. Of course, everyone wants a high income and a lot of people want fame. But fame is more of a consequence of success, not so much a marker of it. As a designer, it is a bit difficult to want to separate the two. You must be known in order to get your creations in front of others.

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