Several months ago I started researching swimwear brands for an upcoming article on the newest men’s swimwear lines. I came across a handful, but one, in particular, caught my eye. I started to follow the brand on Instagram and then Facebook.
What stood out the most about this one brand was the various bodies they used for models. It’s not often that swimwear brands marketing to gay men focus on all body types. I typically see all the muscled, well-defined white men but that wasn’t the case with Atelier Cavalier. Seeing all body types showing off stunningly beautiful swimwear, I had to find out more about the person behind the brand.
As I dug further, I became obsessed with Atelier Cavalier and the founder/designer of the brand, Edward Murillo Moreno. You can say I was stalking the brand’s Instagram page looking at the designs, the visual presentation, and the overall brand messaging. Men come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s important to embrace your body, and through the brand’s various posts I started to appreciate the brand more and more.
For weeks, Mr. Moreno and I corresponded before conducting an interview, and the more I learned about this fascinating man and his story, the more I wanted to share it with our Kinkster MAG readers. I have found Edward to be charming, smart, caring and a beast when it comes to visual design and building his swimwear line, a line I believe all gay men should be wearing.
I am excited to share with you my exclusive interview with the ever-so-talented designer and creator of Atelier Cavalier.
Edward, could you start by telling us a bit about yourself. What was your journey into the fashion industry? What sparked your interest in swimwear?
Well, about me: I’m a 30 year old editorial designer, Colombian, with a bachelor’s in design from the U.S. A former fashion geek, another popnographer who enjoys the current obsession with media and style, I’m a collector of photography books and magazines and in my free time I draw what I like: fashion and men.
What brought me into swimwear?
Well, first of all, I was obsessed with making something related with fashion. I did a fashion magazine from 2007 to 2014, called REVISTA WILHELMINA. You can find some issues online via ISSUU, but I got tired of the fashion system and its clientelism. I mean, it’s OK to talk about fashion, but never criticize it. So I left that part but in 2015 I started to receive requests from my pornstar friends asking for designs to make their outfits for private shows and clients. So I sent the designs for free and then they started to pay me when their people noticed the bizarre mix of style and fetish of my looks.
For two years I did that, but then last year I decided to make my line because I received a call from a very big fashion firm that produces fashion shows in NYFW to rent a runway space in the calendar due to the excellence of my designs. Sadly I didn’t have the money to pay for the spot, but that moved me to start my line ATELIER CAVALIER. I started as a basic underwear and swimwear line, but everything has evolved into a more fetish and stylish brand and I hope to keep growing always focused in a nice and sophisticated swimwear look.
What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
What I enjoy the most about being a fashion designer is the freedom to do what I like and let people build their image with it. In fashion, people want to sell a certain look. I’m not into that, I’m more into letting my customers play with my pieces, go wild with them, let them use them wherever and whenever they feel cool with it. As I often do in my regular job as an editorial designer: I start with an idea and if the customer likes it, I will keep evolving it until something special appears and the customer feels good about it.
How you would you describe your Atelier Cavalier brand, and it’s aesthetic? Is there anything guys find characteristically original about your designs?
ATELIER CAVALIER is a couture made swimwear, underwear and elastic gear for every shape of a man. That means my pieces’ aesthetic is sexy, stylish and exotic with a very intimate sewing and design process, we don’t invent swimwear or underwear or elastic gear, but we try to make pieces that go along with international standards always focusing on top materials and suggestive patterns. Our clients find our pieces too much of everything, too sexy, too expensive looking, too elaborate, but when they wear them, they enjoy them and they love how it makes their attributes stand out, especially the butt. They love how their butts look wearing our stuff and I’m cool with it.
What type of men do you have in mind when you’re designing?
I try to focus on myself when I’m choosing the fabrics and colors to work with. I’m a big man and not every shape or color fit my body. When I’m sketching I think of all those guys who feel shy with their bodies, but they enjoy being naughty and nasty. I try to do many revealing but sophisticated pieces; and when I’m in fittings or photographing ATELIER CAVALIER campaigns I get inspired by the personality of my models who always add something to the design, so we can have a nice and wild final product.
Do you remember what the first swimsuit you ever designed was?
Yeah, I had this obsession with swimsuits as a kid. I remember my first sexual desire was when I was 9 or ten years old and I watched this water polo match and all those guys fighting underwater made me focus on male beauty. At that point, I started to have fantasies of making skimpy speedos and I started to draw men having sex wearing them and my mom discovered that. She burned that notebook and gave me a long talk about gay sex and why I should be careful with what I was feeling, not in a bad way. But that image of that swimsuit was like a message I could not take it out of my head and that design is the “Castell” swimsuit, a very revealing swimsuit with a very nice shape and easy to make in every possible color.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs and what captures your attention when looking for the materials you use for your swimsuits?
I hand draw every piece I make, then if my mom approves it and she can make the patterns I use my digital tablet and make a vector illustration of it. What brings my attention when I shop for the materials for my gear is first and foremost the quality and then the mood of the collection. Sometimes I break the law and if I like a pattern or something that does not relate to the brand I will buy it and it works. Soon I hope to print my illustrations and patterns on custom-made fabrics.
What has been the most challenging aspect of getting your brand off the ground and how did you overcome that?
Well, there are excessive brands in here. There are too many labels focused on men’s swimwear and underwear, but I focused on 3 things: exotic designs, elastic gear, and a very couture process to avoid massive production. That means that you are not going to find tons of our gear everywhere, we do what we can do with the materials we bought and that’s it. If the reference is accepted, we repeat the formula, but if not, that design fades away and we make custom stuff. If you have it in your mind and libido, we can make it a reality, so most of our competitors are out of our lead right now, because they want to have a name and fame, and in this moment and in the future what I want is top quality processes and pieces to keep customers happy.
What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned since you’ve started Atelier Cavalier?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from ATELIER CAVALIER is to love myself and to respect my work. Sometimes I thought my stuff was too out and too loud, but when customers started to thank me and tip me for my pieces I learned to love my brand and respect myself. I had this idea of myself as a fat old dude, but by wearing my pieces I started to embrace myself. I even posed for one swimsuit ad and people went nuts. Some hated it, but most of them loved it. I felt very proud of being able to show my designs on my own body. That to me was the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my business.
How important is social media in the development of your brand? Do you feel social media has helped your career and brand?
Indeed, social media is the heart of my brand, without social media, I would have to start a very rough process. Social media lets me express my ideas faster and to share the products with my clients. Sometimes I get more orders from my social media than from the website.
Recently you partnered with the consumer-based media company, Kinkster Brands NYC, how and why did you decide to collaborate with them and what can we expect from this collaboration?
Well, to me KINKSTER is a manifesto. It’s a way of being yourself and embracing yourself and your masculinity as a homosexual man. You don’t need to be a Grindr match to be Mr. Kinkster or wear KINKSTER NYC MERCH. You need to be you, no matter your style and body shape. So when I reached Corey Wesley I was ready to make a standout proposal and we got along. The brands got along and we started to work on the pieces of the capsule collection #KINKSTERKREW. In the beginning, we thought of something easy to wear and now we have almost everything to wear and have fun wearing it.
What’s the game plan for Atelier Cavalier?
My game plan with ATELIER CAVALIER is to let men know that it’s OK to be sexy no matter your size, that you are handsome and hot if you don’t feel like an underwear advertisement (that is why I work with real customers as models instead of average models). I’ll also keep developing a very sophisticated product that has a fair price for every budget. Also to develop more products like t-shirts and gym gear.
Tell us one thing about yourself people might find surprising?
Well, there are too many, so I will make a nice list:
I’m a porn videographer and I’m proud of it. I only shoot gay porn of course.
I DJ sometimes 1980s and 1990s Japanese pop and vaporwave, but not in public for quite a long time.
I was a gay magazine editor in Colombia but the project was too much ahead of its time back in 2012.
I used to work in several gay porn companies as stylist, photographer, videographer and casting director, so I know the real deal of this business.
My work as an illustrator has been published for several companies like Marc Jacobs, Moschino, Loewe and Tom Ford to name a few.
And that’s it! … 😉
Edward Murillo Moreno: Website