From St. Lucia to the streets of Toronto.
Kyle Gervacy – Kadeem Faustin’s Afrocentric-Asian fashion brand – is an opportunity to express his most authentic self. With a Virtual Fashion Week runway show coming up on October 21st, we caught up with Kadeem to learn more about his St. Lucian roots and how his mother inspired the birth of his brand.
When did you first know you were into fashion?
I knew I felt connected to fashion when I was 9 years old and desiring clothing that I couldn’t find in stores. The only way I satisfied that hunger was by sketching what I wanted to wear on a notepad or on the back of my school textbooks.
Tell us about growing up in St. Lucia. How did it influence your artistry?
Growing up in St. Lucia was an adventure. I lived where most people vacation. I have so many great memories there, regardless of the not so good ones. My siblings and I would always go on quests to discover something new, every day creating a space for our imagination to run wild.
I was also exposed to the arts at a young age. I danced with a company, sang with the youth choir, and performed with a drama program. And because of how cultured the St. Lucian people are, pleasing them with mediocrity is not an option. Doing things haphazardly would probably get you humiliated – “saloptay“ we would call it. Being your best is almost a requirement when pursuing a passion. If I were to choose one thing that influences my artistry out of the many, it’s that and the people.
What inspired you to launch your own fashion brand, Kyle Gervacy?
The inspiration was the passing of my mother and being a part of African Fashion Week. I was afforded the opportunity of meeting and working with some amazing designers at African Fashion Week that triggered my desire to be more me – to honour my mother and truly be someone I can look back one day and say I’m proud of what I did with my time. Kyle Gervacy offers me a place to be my authentic self and to share that self with the world.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be kind to everything and understand that where you are is just one of the stops to where you’re going.
How do you think this new wave of awareness and activism of the injustices in the black community will shape your industry?
I think it will encourage more people to buy and support black entrepreneurs and artists.
What is your mission in your career?
My mission is to never lose sight of who I am – to motivate, inspire, and be of service as much as I can. And to be empty when my expiration date arrives, as I would have used up every ounce of the gift I was given
Kyle Gervacy will have its own runway show at Virtual Fashion Week on October 21st. How has COVID affected both your brand and your preparation for the virtual show?
COVID provided an opportunity to breathe. I was getting so lost within the process that I was neglecting myself. The brand was more important.
As for the virtual show, it provides the opportunity to be a little more creative in the presentation aspect of my show, marrying all aspects of what truly makes me a creative.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps, especially being a person in the BIPOC community?
The advice I would offer is to just jump. Jump into who you are meant to be. Embrace your inner creativity. Find your inner motivation. Put your work out there, no matter how small the audience. And live within your gift because it truly makes room for you.