Interview with Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur | Jeff Alpaugh

Like most fantastic and innovative people Jeff is a bit of a character. Not only are his dress shirts "dangerous" but he also once locked himself in a stairwell in Buenos Aires where a group of us had to aid his escape.... which consisted of us standing around drinking beer and taking photos. Eventually the local authorities arrived only for us to realize that there was a guy with a key working in the bar next door who was able to set him free. Jeff also gave me a set of amazing and snazzy dress socks along with the rest of our G20 YEA delegation at last years summit in Buenos Aires, nothing says "nice to meet you" like a good pair of socks.

Jeff's fashions have been featured on Dragons Den and he even rubs shoulders with Prince Harry from time to time (no big deal). When Jeff is not hobnobbing with royalty or trapping himself in stairwells he is designing funky and unique fashionable items that will take your boring dress shirts from zero to one hundred.

Continue reading below to find out more about this talented Canadian fashion designer pushing the envelope by bringing life and colour into the fashion world.

Jeff & His Lovely Wife

Ottawa Arts News - "What got you into Fashion Jeff? Were you always designing ? What was the first piece you designed and who wore it?"

Jeff - "I used to be a terrible dresser. One day someone put me into a well fitting suit and I learned the transformative quality of clothing. I learned that what you wore impacted your personal psychology and feeling of self worth and it also sent signals to others about those things. Other people would pick up on it and treat you in accordance and it you would feel better and it became a very virtuous loop. Once I learned this I experimented with different looks and I would insert myself in situations where I would meet strangers. I could see the noticeable impact my clothing had on how I was perceived, treated and how much fun I had. My first piece would be the shirt I wore on Dragons Den, pictured below"

The First Shirt Jeff Wore & Made (Jeff is in the middle)

Ottawa Arts News - "Who are your inspirations and favourite designers?"

Jeff - "My inspirations tend to come from personalities and personas. For instance Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be someone I would think of when we make a Dangerous Dress shirt. Would he wear it and tell someone “Take your hands off The Rock’s $500 shirt!” I also love finding inspiration from athletic designers. I especially love the designs of Nike and Lululemon. I love the idea of ensuring that clothing is working for the person and not the other way around. I always try to think of what my clothes will look like on the street, at work or at a party. I never design for the runway and I never will. Only real life"


Ottawa Arts News - "How would you describe your line?"

Jeff - "Strong, Courageous & Dangerous"


Ottawa Arts News - "What is your creative ritual? Your creative process?"

Jeff - "I do a semi meditation / yoga session (not too intense). I like to breathe, relax & stretch. I then visualize the person I am designing for. This is usually and actual person in my life. Not a celebrity. I try to put myself in their shoes and think about what type of attention and attraction they would be comfortable with and want and design to meet those desires"

Ottawa Arts News - "Any big plans for the future or announcements you would like to share?"

Jeff - "YES! I love talking about the future. We are getting close to finalizing a capital raise. This will be relatively small, a seed round as they call it as the business has been boot strapped thus far. The result will be a much better website and a second store in Waterloo, Ontario. We have found a lot of traction from the tech and cyber communities and think the community in Waterloo will love our product and our unique in store on-boarding process. This will also allow us to create more products. For instance I have a design for an undershirt that I believe will be a huge hit. I see so many people in this space and most are really missing the mark. You’ll know it when you see it"


Ottawa Arts News - "What is your biggest barrier right now and how can the local fashion community and those in Canada support you as an emerging Canadian designer?"

Jeff - "Just getting the word out. We do well in The Atlantic Region because there are many Dangerous Dress Shirts out there doing the talking for us. I would love to conduct interviews with more fashion bloggers"


Ottawa Arts News - "We recently were on the same delegation representing Canada through Futurpreneur Canada and the G20 YEA in Buenos Aires, how was that for you?"

Jeff - "It was really great for me because I got to meet 20 or so other Canadian entrepreneurs and many of them were a few months or years ahead of me. Typically when you have talked to folks who have “made it” their tactics are now outdated and it can be difficult for them to truly remember what put them over the top. The ideas and advice I was getting from the folks just a bit ahead of me was really relevant and I could apply it instantly"

Jeff & Prince Harry

Want to check out Jeff's designs? Click here!

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