My name is Jamal Gary, and I am the founder and the creative director of Raffiné Brand.
What does the name of your brand “Raffiné” stand for? And how do you pronounce it?
The word Raffiné with an accent on the last letter ‘e’ stems from the French language. The correct pronunciation of the brand is “Raffiney” as the last letter ‘é’ is pronounced as ‘ey’
Raffiné is an adjective that signifies something refined, classy, and distilled. I chose the name of the brand to send a message to our customers that evokes refined style; and to make them feel special. The best! If you will.
What makes Raffiné different from other brands?
We specialize in producing quality hats that have bandanas integrated in them, in addition to that, our hats are categorized depending on our customer’s personality traits and physical features. That way, each of our customers can enjoy a personalized hat that goes with its tastes and cultural aspects. Other brands usually sell hats with basic features, they are usually ready-made hats with generic material. In Raffiné, we take pride in making our hats with fine materials and aesthetic packaging. I wanted to make sure to mix the French elegance with the American swag. In other words, a hat that is simplistic, yet detailed and well-tailored with premium materials. I want to make sure to give my customers the best shopping experience and product enjoyment.
What inspired you to make Raffiné hats and not another product?
I think hats can quickly evoke a strong sign of social status. When you meet someone, you tend to look at his above-the-shoulder area, namely the head and neck. Therefore, a hat can be easily noticeable, especially if it contains creative features like our Raffiné bandana hats.
My inspiration mainly stems from what I said before. However, my dual experience in France and West-Coast USA made me think of how I can marry between French simplicity and sophistication from one hand, and American hip hop culture from another. I grew up in the 90s listening to Tupac for instance, and I always had bandanas to wear because I enjoyed the west coast rap vibe and swag. However, I was also inclined to wear baseball hats. So, I would wear a baseball hat on top of my bandana sometimes, which was not prevalent in France back then. This let me think about how I can merge both of them into one item. I had the idea of Raffiné for quite some time, but I finally was able to launch the business when I came to live in California.
You said that you are adapting Raffiné hats depending on personality traits and styles, can you develop more on that?
People have different tastes and preferences, that is a given. And so do our customers. In Raffiné, we adapt our hats to as many personal traits and tastes as possible. For instance, we adopt themes that can resonate with part of our customer base. We took the ‘We Can Do it’ poster and added features to our hats that evoke freedom and power to our women, such as the color Red with an embroidered word on it that says ‘Fearless’. However, our customers are not entitled to one hat style and color. We leave the ultimate choice to our customers to pick the suede cap that goes with their personality and self-identity. The only constant that our bandana caps have is quality. All our suede caps enjoy the same quality and premium fabric. We make sure to provide the best hats that will certainly look stylish but evoke a swag energy to it.
Where do you see your brand in 5 to 10 years from now?
I make sure, along with my team, to set ambitious goals for the coming five years and beyond. We are building new relationships in terms of product development to make sure we steadily upgrade our quality. We are also planning to partner with different upstream providers as we constantly search for the best material for our product. In addition to that, we plan to extend our product line to include accessories and other clothing pieces while maintaining our brand equity, namely the Raffiné spirit. We are currently looking at potential designs that could be included in our collection in the next year or so. I want to make it clear that Raffiné has more to offer in the near future beyond our current product. We currently experience frequent sold outs, but at the same time, we don’t want to scale our production. We want to keep our brand as exclusive as possible. My ultimate goal is to outshine similar brands like “Supreme”.
Are we going to see a collection other than Raffiné suede caps?
Most certainly! I consider Raffiné as an identity, then I incorporate such identity to my products. Right now, the suede caps that we produce have a ‘Raffiné’ attitude to them. It’s like a hat with a proper spirit to it. We are not only selling bandana suede caps, but we are also selling a character, a luxurious yet urban spirit that it manifested through our product. In the future, you will definitely see Raffiné shirts, T-shirts, pants, accessories etc.
As a creative director, what do you reach for when you need inspiration for your brand Raffiné?
I’ve always believed that the brand should stem from observations of everyday urban culture of California and the luxurious energy of Paris. I try to absorb what I witness on the streets and then check the trends on social media. Especially prominent clothing brands, whether they are on the luxury side like ‘Hermes’ and ‘Louis Vuitton’ or on the urban style like ‘Kith’ or ‘Philipp Plein’. However, I always aspire to maintain a unique spirit to my brand. Such as providing people that have different tastes with a brand that has a unique identity. My argument is that everyone can be luxurious and swag!
Are you a perfectionist?
I would say that when it comes to my final product that I am a perfectionist. I can get stuck in detail sometimes, especially in product design as I aim for quality perfection and a balance between fabric and form. This perhaps adds much more time, but I see it as a time well spent. Our customers should experience what we promise them.
Any message to convey to the public?
I think the best way to know our brand is to experience it. Raffiné is an infant company that promises an outstanding future for its customers. All I can say is visit us at raffinelosangeles.com and witness our world by yourself!
For more info or to arrange an interview
contact Jamal Gari at email@example.com