Custom suits label: Musika Frère come together through Instagram
Custom suits label Musika Frère is a story of two men who stuck to their passion and created a men’s label with the help of Instagram. The two men — Aleks Musika, 32, and Davidson Petit-Frère, 27, one in Miami, the other in New York — stumbled upon each other on Instagram. They felt a connection. Mutual respect on social media turned into real-life camaraderie. They met and decided to draw up a plan because they clicked well. As a result, a business was born.
That is the origin story of Musika Frère, a custom suits label that often come in unusual colors or patterns, and has drawn a line of famous clientele. The list consequently comprised of Jay Z, Michael B. Jordan, Stephen Curry, Kevin Hart and even Beyoncé.
Its founders, Aleks Musika, 32, and Davidson Petit-Frère, 27, are somewhat famous in their own right: Mr. Petit-Frère has over 200,000 followers on Instagram, and Mr. Musika more than 178,000. “Guys in suits and guys taking pictures of themselves really didn’t happen back then,” Mr. Musika said of the period when he and Mr. Petit-Frère first started their pages, about five years ago. Mr. Petit-Frère said: “We had a following. We just didn’t have a product.”
The brand they eventually came up with, at a Miami public library in 2013, reflects their particularities and interests. “We take inspiration from the ’20s, ’30s, and remix it,” Mr. Petit-Frère said. “We call it neo-classical tailoring.” Also, they adapt well in the fashion industry by bringing something new in design each time. “We change our stuff all the time,” Mr. Musika said. “To us, a quarter of an inch is like a mile.”
“It came down to a buttonhole with one factory,” he added. “The suits were good, but they wouldn’t do this one buttonhole that we needed. They said it takes too much time. So we left.” Furthermore, they look into the smallest details. Mr. Petit-Frère added, “It’s a small detail, but it’s also a big detail.”
Neither designer comes from a traditional fashion background. Mr. Petit-Frère, a native New Yorker, began working in real estate at 18. “I was wearing polo shirts and pants and square shoes to the office,” he said. “I realized I wasn’t a sharp dresser.” One of his co-workers referred him to his tailor, Badger & Welsh Bespoke, in Midtown. “As I made more money, I started to buy more suits,” he said, “and I realized my business was getting a big boost from that.”
It would be especially relevant to say that Mr. Musika and Mr. Petit-Frère have no intention of stopping at suits. “We want to do a whole lifestyle brand, à la Ralph Lauren,” Mr. Musika said.
Mr. Petit-Frère sent friends to Badger & Welsh, and he was eventually offered a line of his own, P. Frère, under the company’s umbrella. “In the beginning, I was more of an apprentice,” he said. “I learned about measuring, tailoring, the construction of suits. I learned the lingo and the history.”
As a boy in Philadelphia, Mr. Musika noticed that his father, a teacher, commanded respect by dressing up daily. “From the janitor to the principal, they all addressed him a certain way,” he said. Like his father, Mr. Musika became a teacher, but he worked in retail to make extra money to afford the clothes he wanted. His career path took him from a job at an AllSaints store in Miami to the Tom Ford Made to Measure program.
“My mom used to give me my oldest brother’s clothes to wear,” he said. “Being scarred at a young age from wearing his clothes forced me to be obsessed with fashion.”
Most importantly, they used fabrics sourced from the same mills as Europe’s tailoring establishment ranging from a herringbone to navy with latte pinstripes. Hence, such suits add something new to old school continental style.