Luxury menswear designer Carlos Campos didn’t look like much of a tailor as a teenager, when he worked at a bargain menswear shop in New York’s Garment District. One night, alone and working late, a client arrived for a last-minute, after-hours alteration job. Campos recalls seeing the man on the phone with Campos’ boss.
“I’m at the store but nobody’s here,” the client said. A pause. “The tailor’s here? I see a kid but no tailor.” Another pause. Then the customer looked closer at Campos. “You’re the tailor?” Campos, now 48, learned the trade from his father, a master tailor in his native Honduras. He arrived in the U.S. in the late 1980s at age 13, after a remarkable nearly yearlong solo journey, walking and hitchhiking thousands of miles, fueled by the fearless assurance of youth and a sense of destiny.
After attending high school, putting himself through college (New York’s esteemed Fashion Institute of Technology), and becoming a U.S. citizen, Campos is now living the American dream. As designer of his eponymous menswear label, Campos has dressed his share of celebs, including Ethan Hawke, Ricky Martin, and Justin Timberlake. He was a finalist for the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2011, and in 2017 launched the Carlos Campos School for Fashion & Design, Honduras’ first design school.
Campos, his wife, and 2-year-old son live in Manhattan. Despite last year’s business challenges, he remains upbeat, expanding his bespoke wardrobe service. RESIDE caught up with him in November, shortly after Honduras was slammed by two back-to-back hurricanes.