How a Bespoke Guayabera Shirt Put This Miami Menswear Brand on the Fashion Map
You might say that Andre Fayad didn’t choose the guayabera life—the guayabera life chose him.
Although his eponymous menswear company may be most readily identified with its bespoke guayaberas, he is reluctant to be defined by a specific style. Instead, he considers the local artisans who make Fayad & Co.’s shirts to be at the heart of the Miami-based business.
“It’s more about the community,” Fayad says of his support for American-made clothing. “Clothing made in Naples is beautiful and all that, but we’ve got super talented people here.”
Before he was certain of what kind of garments he’d be selling, Fayad knew he wanted them to be made domestically, and as locally as possible. His family has roots in the clothing business: his grandfather operated a textile factory in Honduras, and his father was involved in apparel manufacturing. At 14, Fayad took his first job at a high-end men’s boutique in Miami, making coffee and picking out ties, before going on to study the business of fashion at the Milan School of Design.
After working in management roles at Brunello Cucinelli and Berluti—and a four-year detour as a concierge at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour—he launched his own bespoke shirt business in the fall of 2020. At its core was a small network of local shirtmakers who’d once been employed by the boutique Fayad worked at in his teenage years.
It just so happened that his very first client, based in London, commissioned a guayabera shirt made from a Thomas Mason chambray. Soon after, Fayad introduced a collection of sample shirts, which included classic spread and button-down collar shirts as well as the first four of what Fayad & Co. now calls its “emblematic shirts”; the Ike field shirt, the Ranger flight shirt, and two Westerns: the traditional Billy, and the sawtooth Butch.
What differentiated the business, in Fayad’s view, weren’t the styles themselves, but rather their bespoke adaptability.
“You can find a lot of Western shirts out there. You can find guayaberas in all kinds of fabrics and prices as well. But what you don’t find is someone who can absolutely do whatever you want in regard to a guayabera or Western shirt,” he says.
His next break came in the summer of 2021 when the menswear personality Andreas Klow—who posts on Instagram as @flannels_and_tweed—commissioned a guayabera inspired by one worn by Gary Cooper in a much-shared photo of the actor strolling with John Wayne.
The resulting shirt—now offered in the emblematic collection as the Coop—drove fresh eyes to the business, and over a dozen requests for the same piece. As a result, Fayad held his first New York trunk show that July (since January 2022, Fayad & Co. has held trunk shows alongside fellow maker Martelo Bespoke at New York’s Maritime Hotel; a bi-monthly occurrence that Fayad plans to continue in 2023).
Once the New York trunk shows became a regular occurrence, tailoring started to overtake shirts in sales. “Even though the suit is dead. Long live the suit,” Fayad says.
He believes that his bespoke tailoring—which is made in Miami in the case of softly constructed jackets and overshirts—and in New York if the garments require more structure—doesn’t conform to a house aesthetic or point of view.
“I don’t want it to be like, ‘Oh that looks like a Fayad piece,” he says. “I want it to almost be not identifiable, because I’m making clothes for individuals and I think that individuals shouldn’t look exactly the same”
In addition to his bespoke services, which are also offered remotely via virtual fittings, Fayad has introduced made-to-order sport and dress shirts that are produced by a factory on the East Coast. In spring 2023, he plans to launch the company’s first ready-to-wear collection, which will be manufactured domestically and include shirting in addition to fatigue trousers, cargo shorts and more.
Further down the line—potentially for next year—is a dedicated retail space in Miami. And after that? While it’s a long way away, Fayad dreams of opening a school that can teach workers the skills necessary to continue making clothing in the United States.
“I want people to feel dignified to be a tailor, to be a seamstress, to be a shirtmaker,” he says. “And eventually, if Fayad means something to someone down the line, it’s because I’ve given people the opportunity to work for us.”
Not bad for something that started with a guayabera.