THE PEDIGREE. James didn’t so much get started in the fashion industry as he was born, three generations, into it: his grandfather was a tailor for Pierre Cardin. The Paris-born designer moved with his parents to Miami, where his family ran outposts of the French label Vertigo. Before he knew it, he was traveling around the US to manage their stores. THE BEGINNING. When Vertigo was sold, around 2002, James felt felt it had lost its special, personal feel—and that it was time to move on. That was just about the time he first fell in love with the neighborhood that would soon become the Design District. And so he decided to open up the first retail store in the area—his own, eponymous menswear boutique, hoping to offer an antidote to bigbox mall stores. THE LINE. James pays careful attention to details, construction and to design that’s at once classic and contemporary. “My background on this business side of the industry has really given me an organic approach to design,” he explains. “I know what my customers like and what they want, and I want to provide it for them at the best quality possible.” Begun as a collection of shirting, Sebastien James now consists of a full menswear line, and is available across the country.