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Chris deChabert: a passion for fashion

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Chris DeChabert

By Nadia Arandjelovic

Style has always been important to Chris deChabert. He’s hoping others appreciate his particular fashion sense. The 22-year-old quit college to follow his dream of becoming a clothing designer.

“I have a lot of big opportunities coming up right now,” he said. “I figured I’m 22 years old, I might as well take them now rather than waiting to see if they are still available when I’m 26 or 27.”

His is a niche market, one-of-a-kind paintings created on shoes, bags and clothing.

“All Bermudians like to go out and make sure they are all pressed up,” he said. “You could never walk out of the house looking like a bum.

“I lived here when I was young, up to the age of 12 when I went to boarding school in Florida.

“And even after I left my style kept up with me and everyone liked my style because they weren’t used to seeing people keep up with themselves like Bermudians do.

“It led me to want to do my own clothing and create.”

The hardest part was telling his mom he planned to put his graphic design studies at Valencia College in Florida on hold.

However he said he was confident he could make a living from his art.

His designs caught the eye of a small boutique owner in the United States.

“Right now I have a couple pairs of my [Timberlands] in this shop called Culture Exchange in the Florida Mall,” he said.

“I had a friend that met the store’s owner and showed them my designs on Instagram. The owner was really impressed and said he would take my work. That was just six weeks ago.”

He also has a growing following on the Island.

“In Bermuda, most people find out about my work through word of mouth,” he said.

“Sometimes people say, ‘I like what you do. You can have free rein over this sweatshirt, dress, heels or purse’. My brother [Derek] wants me to do some Arsenal Nikes up for him.

“My turnaround time at the moment is two weeks, but that’s because I’m usually working on two or three projects at the same time.”

He started out printing T-shirts featuring his own photographs and sketches.

Then he decided to create custom pieces.

“I usually do everything by brush so that everything is hand-painted,” he explained.

“I got into this because no matter how limited I made my T-shirt prints there was going to be someone out there with the same shirt on, and no one likes that.

“So I just wanted to avoid having someone buying that and then seeing someone around the corner walking around with the same thing on. Everyone wants to be an individual. That’s why every piece I do can’t be recreated exactly. They are all one-of-a-kind.”

He said the hardest part was deciding which design to use on a particular item.

The reward, however, is seeing other people walk away, happy with their piece.

“Sometimes people might send me a photo with them walking around wearing it,” he said. “I love to see my pieces moving.

“That’s why I prefer to paint on clothes rather than a canvas so I can see it in motion. You can feel it.”

His designs bring him a lot of attention when he wears them.

“A lot of people, if they like it, will walk up to me and say something,” he said. “I have been approached many times by people saying, ‘I like that, where did you get it?’

“I like when they don’t know I did the work.”

He hopes to start making short films to coincide with his hand-painted collections.

At the moment however it just feels good to know he risked everything to follow his passion.

“I knew I was never going to be the type of person who was stuck in an office,” he said.

“I also knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else. So I have this goal and I am sticking with it.

“That’s all I want to do and it’s hard to stray me away from something I have committed myself 100 percent to. That’s how I’ve been for most of my life.”

He plans to launch www.dechabertclothing.com soon. For more information, e-mail: dechabertco@gmail.com.

Chris DeChabert
Chris DeChabert