A Seychelles brand inspired by the sea! Artist Michael Bouchereau-Arnephie dreaming it big as a designer
The Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, east of the African Coast boasts several features from powder-white beaches, an array of flora and fauna and clear tranquil waters of turquoise and blue, which all serve as inspiration for many including artists, poets, and musicians.
For one Seychellois artist, the vast Seychelles waters inspired him the most and in more than one way to becoming a passionate sailor, fisherman, graphic artist, painter and most recently the island nation’s latest designer.
Michael Bouchereau-Arnephie has turned his passion for the sea into an amazing range of Seychelles branded items.
The ‘M Arnephie’ Seychelles brand’ boasts a collection of beachwear including t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, board shorts for men, shorts for the ladies, as well as beer can and bottle holders, mouse mats and coasters.
The illustrations printed on the garments clearly depicts Bouchereau-Arnephie’s love and passion for sports fishing, with several game fish, such as the majestic marlin proudly sporting his clothing line and accessories.
Interestingly, some of the islands and birds of the Seychelles archipelago have also been captured in his designs.
Owning a Seychelles brand is a dream come true
Born and raised in Anse Boileau on the west coast of Seychelles’ main island of Mahé, which is home to about 86 percent of the country’s total population of 90,000, Bouchereau-Arnephie says he always dreamt of creating a Seychelles brand.
“There are many people on the island trying to use the Seychelles label and make a brand out of it but at times some of them are not entirely Seychellois and those who are authentic…only remains on the local scene,” said Arnephie in an interview with SNA
“I want people to get used to my brand, a 100% Seychellois brand. For now we are focusing on the local market but the main intention is to push to the international market. As hard as it is, I want to be doing something completely different, something completely Seychellois from scratch.”
Entering Bouchereau-Arnephie’s workshop located at the Seychelles Yacht Club in the island nation’s capital of Victoria one can immediately spot the striking blue colour of the ocean in almost every design.
Although the Seychellois artist is venturing into launching a Seychelles brand for the first time he is surely not entirely new to the fashion world.
After studying fine art at the Seychelles Polytechnic in 1986, Bouchereau Arnephie left his tropical island home to work as a freelance fashion designer in Melbourne, Australia for well-known clothing brands such as Hang Ten, Ocean Breeze, Amco Jeans, and Slazenger Sportswear.
With all the knowledge gathered, the idea to create his own brand surfaced upon his return to Seychelles in 2002, with ‘Creole style’ and ‘H2O’ topping the list of possible names, but unfortunately this did not materialize.
Instead, he established ‘Hi-Tech Graphics’ working on branding for several well-known local brands such as Creole Travel Services, ZilAir and the award-winning 'Selebre Sesel' airplane livery of the Air Seychelles domestic fleet.
Last year, Bouchereau Arnephie revisited the idea to create a Seychelles brand and eventually got things started. He spent days and months to get a truly authentic brand as well as finding the right manufacturers that could deliver on his specific requirements.
“Apart from my designs, the clothing offer 30% solar guard and most items are from different manufacturers in China. I work with them on strict guidelines whereby I hand them my fabric specifications, the designs for each garment, the labeling etc..,” he explained to SNA.
Unlike the launching of most fashion brands that have multiple involvements, the Seychellois artist has managed the whole process on his own.
“Since I have several manufacturers…depending on their schedule and on my personal preference to have a simultaneous shipment, it can take three to four weeks for the collection to arrive in Seychelles.”