The Owner & The Brand: Meet Stefon Goudeau, Owner and Creator of Holy Ghost
Nick Young once tweeted, “Just cuz you can afford name brand dnt make you fashionable.”
Here’s his tweet. -------->
But, he’s right and I agree with him. What's the difference between Zara and Chanel besides the price tag? If I handed you two sweaters, one was Off-White and the other was H&M, and there were no labels, nothing to help you distinguish one from the other, would you be able to tell the difference?
There's more to fashion than just a name.
Fashion, to me, is about the creativity behind the label. It's about pure inspiration and its integration into visual aesthetics that aren't just driven by the fashion designer, but the stylist. What’s so incredible is the way people are able to transform their closets, regardless of labels, into looks that represent their own personal uniqueness, that create their own signature styles and brands.
And that's exactly what Stefon Goudeau has embodied with the creation of his label, Holy Ghost—an up-and-coming brand in Los Angeles that’s gaining both traction and following for its nonconformity and simplistic street style.
According to the Instituto Marangoni in Milan, there's such indelible value within the literal creative energy poured into fashion that it can actually be quantified. While today’s fashion trends and collections are often based on historical references and sources of inspiration, there is such a deep connection between fashion designers and the creative research that goes on behind the scenes before they come up with a collection that their fashion, either created or styled, is, in itself, immensely personal. "Luxury" and "designer" labels are quite literally birthed from the care and intricacies and love poured into clothes by the people who are creating them.
When I interviewed Stefon, I think what struck me most was his story. He has such a distinct voice, and he so artfully crafted a narrative around his brand and passion and mission that it's almost impossible not to latch onto his vision and see it as clearly as he does. His work not only speaks for itself, but it's also a testament to his creativity and style that Holy Ghost represents him as authentically as his own voice.
Going back and forth with him was a lot of fun, especially when hearing his thought process as he curates and grows his own signature style and brand.
Q. Would you mind providing a bit about your background? Where are you from? How old are you? What college are you attending? When did you become interested in fashion?
A. My name is Stefon Goudeau, I grew up in South LA between Central and Imperial. I am 23 years old and I attend UC Irvine and will be pursuing my degree in Sociology (laughs).
I became interested in Fashion when I was Attending the University of Houston, [my] freshman year of college. The styles out there compared to LA were totally different and when I went out to campus parties, people automatically knew I was different or wasn’t from around there. My interest also came from the elevation of Hip-Hop music and how our favorite artists today evolved the fashion industry. From wild hairstyles to wearing distressed jeans and T-shirts, leather biker jeans, or dress slacks with sneakers; that was the style that most interested me and as I went through all phases of looking for my style, people started to notice how “fly” [I was] or how I just pieced colors together. It was a confidence booster for me, so I ventured off to shop in thrift stores and was very surprised at how many cool things I can get out of there and I will never forget the word of A$AP Ferg: “You fly when you walk in a thrift store and get fly.”
Since my first encounter with a thrift store, I always try to find pieces that’re fly. As time went by, I started researching higher-end fashion companies to see how they got started and my interest grew more. I stopped looking at just streetwear brands and got into designer brands. That led to me getting tired of spending crazy amounts on shoes and clothes and told myself why not just make what I like…. so I got into cut and sewing—which I’m mediocre at–(laughs). I have all these sketches I’d drawn years ago and was finally able to drop my first collection this month.
Q. Please explain the story behind your business. Where did you get the idea? How did you set off to start? When did you decide you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
A. The idea of Holy Ghost was something that spoke to me, literally. I was in class and the name just kept speaking to me, I just knew I wanted a brand that fits the style of me; a brand that can be streetwear and a higher-end of fashion. Starting it off was a difficult process because at the time I was a student-athlete and everyone knows how that life is. It’s very time-consuming. But once I dropped Track & Field and just worked part-time, I had more time to focus on the brand a little more in terms of sketches and ideas. I would say my decision of wanting to become an entrepreneur was the peak of Covid. When I moved to San Diego with my fiancé, I was able to actually sit and draw out my collection, and draw up different ideas from the ones I previously had. I was amazed at how much my ideas progressed. I started to write out my plans for the brand, goals, and more, I started to make some small connections and bring some guys on the team and we got things rolling.
Q. What was your career path before starting your own business?
A. My career path prior was Track & Field. It was a sport that I’ve been doing since the age of 8.
Q. What is your daily work routine?
A. My daily work routine…I don’t really have one…I sit and think of ideas all day and do my work late, late at night. My cut and sewing, drawing my vision board, setting up meetings. I stay up late but still manage to wake up at 7, 8 AM. It's ridiculous. Everything is still new to me and I'm just kind of living in the moment.
Q. How do you plan on growing Holy Ghost? Where do you see your business heading?
A. The plan on growing the brand is 100% promotion of course, (crazy visuals). Everything is different. We just want to change the game on another level. Although some things may have been done, we are going to do it better. And in terms of seeing where the business is heading…PARIS FASHION WEEK. That’s the one true goal—to sit alongside many favorable fashion designers and watch people see my vision.
Q. What was the inspiration behind your first line?
A. The pants came from zero inspiration (laughs). It was all my creative thought and just thinking outside the box with just fashion. The crew necks that my team and I dropped were inspired by Ian Connor's “Sicko” brand, how he expressed his clothing with women, and gives it a ratchet vibe (laughs) but in a classy form. I wanted the collection to be somewhat similar to that.
The style of the crew necks with the cut-off elastic on the sleeves and the body were somewhat inspired by Vlone. The only difference is I cut the elastic off the sleeves. The artwork behind it is inspired by Ian Connor [too]; how he has his work look like a painting. With Holy Ghost, our style looks more like a pencil drawing.
Q. You recently moved from LA to San Diego. Some say that a change of scenery sparks creativity. How has the move impacted Holy Ghost?
A. Coming out to SD was a great choice. Outside of just living with my fiancé, it brought me into a space of just being to myself, not being with my friends who live in LA. I was able to sit and concentrate on the visions that I’ve always had. Quarantining also played a part, social distancing and being on lockdown gave me so much free time after school. So I somewhat thank that.
Q. How many people do you currently have on your team?
Q. What are their roles?
A. CJ: he’s another creator, he helps me with ideas. Isaiah, who we call "Dubbo," he’s the promoter, and Johnny he’s the business brains, he helps come up with business plans on how to grow the brand.
Q. So many creatives end up juggling a workday with their passion projects. You're headed to The Academy, will you still continue with Holy Ghost when you start work?
A.Yes indeed, fashion is a true dream of mine, and law enforcement will just give me stability.
Q. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who have a vision for starting their own brand?
A. Stick to your vision, don’t let nobody convince you to make an alteration. Be true to YOUR vision. Aim for the stars. Plan, set a goal mark.
Q. Y’all just had a pop-up on Melrose, and while you’re about to have a new one (on Halloween), how can people support you and your brand?
A. We had a pop-up shop yesterday. I actually should’ve told you about that, you could’ve got to see us in action.
But a good way of supporting was when people just came and asked about the brand, or just stuck around to hear our vision. We got a lot of great feedback from people and sold a lot of merch. We even had a store that’s been there for 30 years try to get us off the block because we were “taking customers." But I felt a lot of support from people coming to check us out and taking our business cards. People can also give us a repost; they see a product they like and give us a small shout out. Pushing the name is big for us at this time the sales will come from good promotion and good feedback.
We are actually working on our next drop.
I know I’m excited.
I think Holy Ghost goes crazy. It envokes the same familiar air of West Coast streetwear while still feeling like something completely different, completely new. Something we haven't seen before.
Anna Wintour said, “Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others," and I think that perfectly summarizes what Stefon has done with Holy Ghost. It all just fits, doesn't it? It's fitting for this era of fashion. It's fitting of Stefon's vision for its growth; I can already see this collection coming down a fashion week runway. Can't you?
If 2020 has taught me anything, it's that the things we love, those things that ignite the spark of yes within us, those things must be addressed, and I commend and celebrate everyone previously and right this moment who have decided to take the courageous leap to put action behind that intuitive spark of creation.
Check out Holy Ghost's Instagram, and follow its owner! If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I would also highly recommend you swing by their next pop-up. Stefon and the team will all be situated between Melrose and Curson Ave on Halloween from 1pm - 6 pm. Go interact with the brand and fall in love with evolution.