"Long as I got my suit and tie. I'm a leave it all on the floor tonight. Baby got fixed up to the nines. Let me show you a few things, Show you a few things."
Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie is the theme song that follows Eric Washington when styling his upscale suits.
Regarding suits, Washington is all about showing a few things, as Timberlake best describes, and looking the part for different occasions. He has clothes down to a science. The Fort Worth, Texas, native can tell you everything about clothing from color and personality to fabric weaves, tailoring styles, and suit construction.
Social media has opened his eyes to the fashion world, but he credits his taste to top fashionable cities like Naples, Milan, and Paris. He brought that top-tier taste of style to the All-American City.
The retired Army veteran made Fayetteville his home after being on assignment to Korea during his military journey. He saw the city’s vision, deciding that this up-and-coming city was the perfect fit for him. The future vision impressed him enough to make Fayetteville his home after his assignment.
“I’ve seen a lot of good and bad news about Fayetteville, but I also saw the city’s investment in the stadium, new Crown Coliseum, and Cool Spring Downtown District plan”Washington stated
Located in the heart of downtown Fayetteville, Washington Apparel Company is a cut-and-sew manufacturing company that manufactures custom suits, shirts, and coats for men and women.
His clientele includes customers from different walks of life, from prominent local figures to customers as far away as Ukraine. The inside of his scenic Paris-type shop, with an upscale private lounge, takes customers into another realm to unwind in the restorative and stylish setting.
The Exclusive Press will take readers into the needles and threads of Mr. Washington, his taste for style, and his bigger-than-fashion goals.
Washington Apparel Company has been his vision for 15 years before becoming a reality about 5 years ago. He gradually built and developed his business over time, implementing a structured approach and progressing through different phases. He first began selling his bespoke outfits to customers through his web store.
“I spent years figuring out if I started a business what would it look like and how should I grow it,” he said, asking himself, “Since I had limited resources at that time, I could only utilize a certain amount of money,” he shared with the Exclusive Press. He made special note of the Self-Help Credit Union Ventures Fund Program for startups.
In 2018, he officially launched his LLC and built his website, and the business flooded. The commercial flow eventually led to him leasing the entire 6th floor at his 100 Hay Street location.
Washington had his humble Platinum FUBU and Sean John beginnings. He switched up his style, transforming into the grown man look. He jokingly shared that people would tell him his demeanor and how he carries himself did not align with his clothes.
He gave the new image a try. He had his suits tailor-made after he could never get the size he wanted. He crossed paths with a Korean-based tailor named Dongha “Prince” La, who owns Prince Custom Tailor. La was impressed by Washington’s interest in fabric and imparted his knowledge to him. Later, he was introduced to renowned Savile Row tailor Lee Marsh. Marsh now serves as the Master Tailor for Washington Apparel Company, and Eric serves as CEO and Head Cutter.
Now, his closet is nailed to the T by seasons and colors. The influencers he recommends are Black Menswear and all the brothers (Joseph Hines, Deveja Webb, Eric Austin, Marquelle Turner, Queyoun Makor, etc.) who are shifting the stereotype of African American males and making fashion statements.
He now uses his unique style and taste to help his clientele. In his mind, his customers are the designers who bring their style ideas to his shop. Washington works with clients to bring their stylistic creativity to life.
From there, he takes the customer’s measurements, transfers them to paper, creates a design, and cuts the cloth to fit. His shop also alters the fit for the buyers’ taste. With the bespoke package, which is their highest offering ($1,500 starting cost), the buyers can put on the suit meticulously tailored to their exact specifications by the company’s master tailor in London.
FASHION VS STYLE
He strives to contribute to his clients’ creative flair. His diverse clientele seeks his assistance to breathe vitality into their style.
When asked if he keeps up with the latest fashion trends, he shared that style is distinct from fashion due to the trend’s expiration dates. He shared that outfits worn three months ago may be out of style three months later. When styling his own wardrobe, he aims to incorporate permanent style.
Washington fully immerses himself in the creative process of style. “Everything revolves around my eyes” Washington stated.
Even as a child growing up in an underprivileged neighborhood, he was keenly interested in style outside his world.
“I remember reading the magazines as a kid and making a wish list of all the clothes I wanted, but never getting them. My mom would make some of our clothes,” Washington stated.
IT’S BIGGER THAN FASHION
From a widespread realm, it’s more than clothes to Washington. He plans to establish an All-American City enterprise to bring manufacturing industry to Fayetteville and create jobs.
What that looks like is acquiring additional space, installing machines, and developing technology for a wide variety of apparel labels, from T-shirts to leather products, in hopes of making the facility into a full cut and sew production hub.
“I want this building to be a manufacturing center, but first we’re going to start with a school where we teach students how to tailor. They will have the skills to develop their own clothing brand, hopefully they’ll stay on board” he stated.
Soon, he will be launching Shears and Sharps, a tailor academy in conjunction with the sewing program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
He envisions becoming a globally recognized suit manufacturer, known as the guy who revitalizes the American fashion industry. He also wants to open more locations throughout the country. He has received interests from Washington DC, Florida, and Texas.
He has recently contracted for the Department of Defense to manufacture military uniforms.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
Washington took his love for fashion and turn into top-tier apparel company in Fayetteville. Followers can also see Washington’s commentary on fashion and style on his social media page. He is intentional in making his customers not only look great, but feel great.