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What Happened to Jeffrey Sebelia?

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Sebelia hitting the streets for Fashion Week.  

S ebelia’s aesthetic at Cosa Nostra—and, by natural extension, on the show—is L.A. rocker punk. He loves a shrunken blazer in heavy felt with a detachable hood. He likes zippers, and he likes things to be tight and somewhat rough. He has the skinny hips and pigeon toes of an Orange County bass player, and his clothes suit this look to a T: They are not soft or sentimental, but they are right for wearing to rock shows and nightclubs. They are best accessorized with kohl eyeliner and, he jokes (kind of), by the massive black-leather studded strap-ons that are in a box by his desk, which he designed for a now-defunct band called Orgy. “Jesse James, the motorcycle builder, sells all of his products at Wal-Mart, and I heard this rumor that he actually said that he would only deal with them as long as they allowed him to put the words fuck you somewhere on everything he made,” Sebelia says, waving a dildo. (The rumor is untrue.) “So maybe they’d sell the dildos!”

With their shredded hemlines and emphasis on layers (woolen shorts with built-in leggings, leather shorts with a pouf hem), Sebelia’s clothes are young. They are, perhaps, more expensive than their intended audience can afford. T-shirts start at nearly $100, dresses at $500. “I tried to tell him that if he is going to sell expensive clothes, they need to look a little more luxe,” says Garcia.

But Kors says that Sebelia’s best chance is to persuade a company like Diesel or American Apparel to take an interest, as they share a market and an aesthetic. Sebelia believes he is more like John Galliano than a novelty act used to sell clothes for a chain, but he is coming around. He has an idea he plans to pitch to a national mid-level retailer and recently inked a licensing deal to make 24 knitwear pieces for a little-known label called Rock Anthem. It turns out that the companies interested in his current brand of fame are far less interested in expensive, high-end fashion than he is. “It’s things like the Bratz movie that are really interested in having someone who won Project Runway attached to their show,” he says. “Most of the companies I’d like to be involved with really couldn’t give a shit that I was on TV.”

During Fashion Week, Sebelia sold his collection out of a small midtown showroom called the House. He got a second call from Kirna Zabête, where he sold a few pieces last fall, and a first appointment with Bergdorf Goodman. Roopal Patel, Bergdorf’s fashion editor, says the line is still under consideration, but hasn’t committed. “It’s very L.A. rocker meets a little bit of grunge meets a little couture chic, and that’s very appealing,” she says. “It’s just all a question of pricing and all that.”

He had a better time at Kirna Zabête, which bought a few more pieces and plans to celebrate with a Jeffrey-hosted party in April. “Oh, my God, I love Jeffrey!” says Beth Buccini, a co-owner. “She had to get his autograph,” says Sarah Easley, her partner, “for her yoga teacher.”


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