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  Clark Pauyo, Fashion Designer  

Imagine a self-assured, brown-skinned man, whose softly accented, measured tones conjure images of tropical breezes and warm Caribbean nights. Imagine an easy, unhesitating smile, and a crown of dreadlocks piled high behind the forehead. Imagine this and you will have envisioned Haitian designer Clark Payou, whose innovative lines, like him, merge the romanticism of the Old World with the opportunism of the new.  Born in Part au Prince, Haiti, Clark Pauyo moves to Brooklyn, NY with his family at age 11. The younger of two children, Clark’s creative and experimental nature is evident from the start. Nurtured by the artistic influence of his father, a musician, and motivated by his innate sense of style, fashion seems a natural conduit for Clark’s emerging artistry.  

Clark’s dream of one day becoming an internationally renowned fashion designer begins to gain momentum after he is accepted to one of the most competitive design schools in the country: New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). At F.I.T., Clark majors in Buying and Merchandising and minors in Menswear. It is during this period of his life, at a time when the media is painting fallacious descriptions of Haiti as a disease-ridden nation of refugees, that Clark begins to imagine creating a fashion line that will fully represent Haiti as the thriving source of creativity and pride it has been to him. As Clark explains, “What people see in the media almost never captures the essence of Haitians, their passions, their creativity, or their identity.” Moreover, as a Haitian-American struggling to navigate his newfound “American-ness” while still maintaining his Haitian roots, Clark searches for an opportunity to merge these oft-alienated two worlds. 

It is this motivation that leads Clark to found CP Design Studios in 1994, and to launch his signature sportswear line, HaitiNY, in that same year. Adamant about including references to the two locales in the label for his line, skeptics nevertheless predict that the name will handicap Clark’s marketability by limiting him to a solely Haitian audience.  Hyperconscious of the challenge that faces him, Clark knows it will be difficult to create a brand that can be a source of pride to Haitians without alienating other cultures.  Inevitably, it is the clothes themselves that negotiate this balance most effectively. Combining breathable, comfortable fabrics with chic European cuts, HaitiNY manages to celebrate its Haitian roots while acknowledging French influence on the culture. Clark’s incorporation of the Haitian flag into his pieces provides an innovative signature for a line that maintains a balance of comfort and style.


The colors of the flag itself—blue and red—elicit a sharp contrast that is intensified by Clark’s innovative patterns and cuts. Boasting 15-30 looks and over 200 pieces to date, HaitiNY offers denim jeans, skirts, and shorts adorned with rhinestone or colored flags, and casual linen separates for both men and women.  

In early 2000, Clark launches his sophomore line Fierte with the help of designer Nadia Dubois. Bordering on haute couture, Fierte offers an en suite collection for both men and women, where tradition is redefined and translated into an innovative, exclusive personal style. Fierte means “pride” in French, and reflects one of Clark’s most important motivating factors. The Fierte logo, showing a man bent backwards blowing on a conch shell, is also a Haitian import, and symbolizes the unknown freedom fighter, or Negre Marron, who blew on a conch shell to mobilize slaves during French colonization of the island. By choosing such a recognizable image from Haitian culture to be the logo for his higher end, sophomore line, Clark continues to assert his cultural roots without sacrificing mainstream appeal.

Since their inception, Clark has successfully introduced both lines at several major fashion shows and charity events including the One Heart Foundation Project Medishare event hosted by supermodel Tyrone Edmond in April 2002. Clark’s creations were also well received at the Ralph McDaniel sponsored Phat Fashion show in July 1998 where critics observed that the HaitiNY  line was “a breath of fresh air” and was sure to “leave a lasting impression” on the fashion scene. Today, Clark continues to work with notables such as Wyclef Jean, Louis Oliver of the Miami Dolphins, and Tommy Ford, formerly of the hit FOX show, “Martin,” to develop and promote his lines. Also in the works is a new denim line—NY Blue—featuring casual, upscale sportswear for men and women.


Read Article about Clark Pauyo


New York, NY, – Clark Pauyo stands out in the NY fashion scene. Inspired by the two locales that shaped his creative talent, Clark launched his signature sportswear line HaitiNY in 1994 to rave reviews. In 2002, Clark introduced his sophomore line Fierté, an en suite collection for men and women bordering on haute couture. Busy making the fashion circuits in New York, Miami, and Haiti, Clark plans to host a themed fashion show in NYC next month to introduce hot new looks from both collections.          

Described as a “breath of fresh air,” HaitiNY combines breathable, comfortable fabrics with chic European cuts. Clark’s incorporation of the Haitian flag into his pieces provides an innovative signature for a line that maintains a balance of comfort and style. Fierté, which means ‘pride” in French, further capitalizes on Clark’s Haitian roots. The Fierté logo is a Haitian import, symbolizing an unknown freedom fighter or Negre Marron, who blew on a conch shell to mobilize slaves during French colonization of the island.

Clark is part of a growing group of Haitian celebrities and artists seeking to transform the way people think about Haitian culture through media and arts. As Clark explains, “What people see in the media almost never captures the essence of Haitians, their passions, their creativity, and their identity.” With the Haitian Bicentennial fast approaching in January of 2004, Clark Pauyo’s designs take on a special significance. Already working on his third collection, a new denim line, entitled NY Blue Clark continues to create pieces that manifest his personal struggle to reconcile two diverse worlds. As he explains, “Haiti is my inspiration, New York is my opportunity.”  
     By Adrinda Kelly.

Contact Clark Pauyo                   Clark Pauyo's website




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