#Kreyolicious Fashion: An Interview with Ginen Creations Founder Sophie Patel

Ginen Creations

The heritage-rich fashion line Ginen Creations was created by Sophie Patel, a Haiti-born, Haiti/New York-raised fashionista. Follow along as she discusses the trials and jubilation of being a fashion entrepreneur, and what role heritage played in the creation of her line.
Ginen Creations
Above: Designer Sophie Patel wearing a piece from her clothing line Ginen Creations. Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Chérubin

Kreyolicious: Rarely do people who grow up to be fashion designers, not start out as little girls who loved fashion. Was this the case with you?
Oh, yes. Definitely. I started making my own clothes at a very young age. I was about eight when I would make clothes for my dolls as well as my friend’s dolls. One of my aunts owned a Singer’s vintage machine. I used to love going to her house. Every time she was done working, I hopped on the machine—with her guidance of course—using little bits and pieces of fabrics she had left over. In my older years, I attended an all-girls Catholic school and sewing class was one of the courses available to us—which of course I took advantage of. Had plenty of training.

Kreyolicious: Did you study fashion merchandising?
No. I studied Fashion Design. It’s a funny story. I followed a completely different path from fashion after high school. I doubled majored in International Relations and Modern languages. Also studied a little bit in Child Psychology. It was actually in the recent years I decided to finally study Fashion Design after being pushed and encouraged by close friends and family.

Kreyolicious: I think that sometimes one of the first things that comes in our mind when we see a name is this…”I wonder how this name was inspired?”
The name Ginen Creations. I get asked about it so many times. The name was actually inspired by my love for African culture and it relates to Haitian culture. Me and a close friend came up with the name. I needed a name that I can relate to. A name that describes me, represent me and the business as one. I love African and Haitian culture, and I am fascinated by the story of our ancestors and how Haiti as a country came about. Ginen was just perfect. The garments that I design—even though [they’re] made with African prints—still depict the Caribbean vibe.
Ginen Creations

Kreyolicious: As a fashion designer, you constantly have to be traveling to trade shows, to meet with clients…what’s it like in day in the life of Sophie, creator of Ginen Creations?
It’s a very busy and hectic life which I love because I’m naturally a busy body. I hand-make everything in all my collections myself so a day for me is constant work, day and nights. I currently [am] finishing my latest collection which I presented at Mimi’s Boutiq Fifth Annual Show. Right now , there is not any sleeping going on [Laughter] I love the traveling. I just came back from Haiti where I had a great shoot with Princess Eud and photographer Jean-Robert Duprat. I love the traveling and all the cool people I meet and get to work with.

Kreyolicious: How do you handle those moments when you feel emotionally and physically exhausted as an entrepreneur?
I go through those moments on a regular basis but I have to remind myself that it is normal. I can’t just stop. Those time will come where everything feel like too much to handle. Thank God I have a great support system. That helps a whole lot.

Kreyolicious: What have you gotten better at…since you started on your entrepreneurship journey?
I have gotten better at a lot. Owning a business has definitely taught me to be more patient, and that [quality] comes [in handy] with everything that I’m dealing with. I pay attention to details more because, of course, I want to put out great work. As a business person I now know the ins and outs the dos and the donts. I feel like my work has gotten better. I’ve learned to express myself creatively so my work usually reflects how I’m feeling.
Ginen Creations
Photo Credit: Haiti-based singer Ruthselle wears a Ginen Creations piece. Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Chérubin

Kreyolicious: Nothing was built in a day. I think God’s temple took like 40 years or something. What are your long-term plans for your brand?
The main goal right now is to expand to other countries, especially the head wraps which I call Ginenwraps. The goal is to have different partnerships with different stores and have them carry the wraps which are a big part of what Ginen Creations stands for. [Also,] to open my own store. It is a must. I’m also looking to turn the brand into a full blown brand with many products. Right now, I’m just getting mentally prepared for what’s to come.

[Additional photography: Spex Photo]


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ABOUT K. St FortK. St. Fort is the Editor and Founder of, well, Kreyolicious.com and wishes to give you a heartfelt welcome to her site. She loves to read, write, and listen to music and is fascinated by her Haitian roots, and all aspects of her culture. Speaking of music, she likes it loud, really, really loud. Like bicuspid valve raising-loud. Her other love are the movies. She was once a Top 50 finalist for a student screenwriting competition, encouraging her to continue pounding the pavement.She has completed several screenplays, with Haiti as the backdrop, one of which tackles sexual abuse in an upper middle class Haitian family, while another has child slavery as its subject. She is currently completing another script, this time a thriller, about two sisters who reunite after nearly 10 years of separation. A strong believer in using films to further educational purposes, and to raise awareness about important subjects, she has made it a point to write about social issues facing Haiti, and making them an integral part of her projects.She has interviewed such Haitian-American celebrities as Roxane Gay, Garcelle Beauvais, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Briana Roy, Karen Civil, and many, many more.And that’s her writing this whole biographical sketch. She actually thinks writing about herself in the third person is cute.MY WEBSITEKreyolicious ™: kree-ohl-lish-uh s: Surely an adjective…the state of being young, gorgeous, fine and utterly Haitian. Kreyolicious.com™, the hub for young, upwardly mobile Haitian-Americans, is akin to a 18th Century cultural salon but with a Millennium sensibility–an inviting lair, where we can discuss literature, music, problems facing the community, and everything on the side and in-between.Kreyolicious is the premier lifestyle, culture and entertainment blog and brand of the hip, young, trend-oriented, forward thinking Haitian-American. It’s the definite hot spot to learn more about Haiti our emerging identity as a people, and explore our pride and passion about our unique and vibrant culture. Within the site’s pages, Kreyolicious.com is going to engage you, empower you, and deepen your connection to everything Haitian: the issues, the culture, our cinema, the history, our cuisine, the style, the music, the worldwide community.Make yourself at home in my cultural salon. If you’re looking to learn more about Haiti, Kreyolicious.com invites you to board this trolley on a journey–on our journey. For me too, it is a process, a non-ending cultural odyssey. If you’re already acculturated, I can certainly learn something from you. We can learn from one other, for certain.With my site, Kreyolicious.com I look forward to inspiring you, to enriching you, and to participating alongside of you, in the cultural celebration. And being utterly kreyolicious.How do you wear your kreyoliciousness? On your sleeves, like I do?Kreyoliciously Yours,Your girl K. St. Fort,Ahem, follow me elsewhere!


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