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Single-handedly undercutting an industry increasingly out of touch with the modern man, serial
menswear magnate Sebastian Garcia brings a characteristically cutting-edge approach to the art
of formal wear.
TEX T BY RYAN JARRELL
I t’s a question that’s haunted hangers-on, wannabes and
economic analysts for generations: What is it, precisely, that
separates the successful entrepreneur from the pedestrian
proletarian just living for the weekend? What algorithm
encapsulates the ingenious spark that has driven such diverse
historical worthies as Steve Jobs, Elvis Presley and Tom Ford? In
short, what precisely does innovation look like? Although we are
perhaps absent of answers, studious members of our citizenry
could find no better case study of entrepreneurial prowess than
Sebastian Garcia, founder of a number of landmark menswear
interests including Miami-based The Lapel Project, premiere
menswear store Sartori Amici and My Grooms Room.
Bearing a story almost startlingly similar to most of his
fellows, Garcia was born in Miami to Cuban emigres and lived
what qualifies for our city as a rather typical life. Graduating
from the University of Florida with a business degree, he settled
into a life selling menswear when an idea hit him, an idea
destined to recast the future of not only himself, but of any
man in need of elegant eveningwear. “Being on the frontlines
of the menswear industry for years, I realized that clients had
only two very limiting options — they could purchase a tuxedo,
which is literally the most expensive and impractical piece of
clothing you can buy, or they could rent one,” he says. “Renting
a used tuxedo costs over $200, and I was questioned why
someone would want to wear a used garment for some of the
64 most important experiences of their lives. You don’t even wear
used clothing to go the gym!” It was in the grips of such cross-
examination that The Lapel Project was born, an enterprising
accessory line that allows you to transform any suit jacket into
a tuxedo with a staggering array of stylish options.
Catapulted to the pinnacle of our cultural consciousness with
a polished appearance on ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank, Garcia
is careful not to let such flash-in-the-pan exposure blind him
to the patient steps necessary to foster his budding business.
“Shark Tank was a godsend, but pioneering a new type of men’s
product transcends any notoriety from being on TV,” he says.
“Most of all, the show taught me that even with such high-profile
opportunities, it’s important to remain humble and committed
to a long-term vision.” Perhaps the most fortuitous return on his
appearance was a blossoming mentorship with Shark Tank star
and successful investor Mark Cuban, whom Garcia cites, along
with his own father, as being a massive influence in his life.
So what’s next for this fashion-minded mogul? Like any
good Miamian, Garcia is ever-endeavoring to provide even
more sizzling styles to The Lapel Project roster. “We’re
working on new designs that include more exotic and
luxurious detailing and materials, along with an expansion
of the accessories that complement our lapels,” he says. “And
you can also expect to see a few surprises, but we’ll keep
those to ourselves for now!”; TheLapelProject.com.