Style Notes: A Conversation with Sebastien Scemla
From an early age, Sebastien Scemla, the Founder and Designer of Sebastien James Collection was influenced by fashion. Whether playing in his grandfather’s, who was known as the premier shirt marker, factory or retail shop in Paris, Sebastien has fond memories, yet never dreamed of creating his own line. Like most young men, he had thoughts of being an astronaut or firefighter. Luckily for the style world, he realized his passion was in fact in fashion (his family tree has 5 generations in the industry) and put his knowledge and knowhow into creating a line of expertly crafted shirts for men. And in keeping things in the family, he combined his name along with his son’s to create the label, Sebastien James.
We recently caught up with Sebastien (who was in Italy scouting new knitting factories) to get the low down on his line along with some of his favorite places in the Design District
Your collection of shirts for men features intricate details and stylish accents. Is it the little things that count that make the brand stand out?
The details are my passion and have been the driving factor in our great success. There are a lot of things that make a brand stand out, ours is based on quality. Our pieces are primarily understated essentials so we rely on flawless craftsmanship to add the contemporary details found in European style. The best example I could give you is with our shirts, they are handcrafted by third generation tailors in Spain and they have to match in three typically overlooked spots before they can receive the Sebastien James seal of approval:
1. Both sleeve cuffs must be perfectly aligned to match one another
2. Pattern from the sleeve must match the sleeve plackets
3. Fabric must be matched on ALL THREE main parts of the back of the shirt: collar, yoke and body
Fall is always tricky for us here in South Florida, what are some key trends for men that work in our balmy climate?
I just wrapped up my first day at the world’s most prestigious fabric fair in Milan, Italy and I guess what I can say to answer your question is, fabrics have come such a long way. There are many technical fall fabrics that are, for instance, Cotton and Linen blends with polished finishes that make the fabric look like flannels, but are lightweight enough to wear in any warm climate. I don’t do trends. I really try to focus classic staples with modern details that convert an otherwise classic garment into a contemporary masterpiece.
What’s on your fashion wish list for the new season?
A few staples that I am adding to my wardrobe are a great updated, hiking boots, a lightweight leather jacket, a dressy sneaker and a travel jacket in technical fabric.
What drew you to the Design District?
How ironic that you ask this question as I was asking myself the same thing last night. The Design District just had this raw coolness about it. It’s hard to explain, but from the first time I took a drive through it with my mom I told her that this is where we were going to purchase a building. Believe it or not that same day, we signed a contract on an art gallery that we later turned into our fashion house for many years.
Your favorite place to dine in the Design District?
It’s hard to pick one so I will give you my top three. MC Kitchen, The French Bistro (it’s soooo good) and of course, Michael’s Genuine.
When you’re not busy working or traveling you can be found….?
If I’m not at the beach kite-surfing or surfing for that matter (the latter much less frequently in Miami), I can usually be found around the house, usually in my garden planting and taking care of my fruit and vegetable trees.
The Sebastien James Collection can be found in the Design District at TREND by Sebastien James (130 NE 40th Street, Suite 2, Miami, Florida 33137, 305-576-4470).
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