You have a unique background from the typical fashion designer! What came first: The sewing machine or the machine gun?
Great question! Depends on perspective. My grandfather was in the Navy serving in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. My Father is a Vietnam Veteran, so the machine gun is apparently in my blood! But on my personal journey, it was the sewing machine that came first. I enrolled in sewing classes in Jr. High and Highschool, but my father pulled me out of those electives every time. It wasn’t until after the machine gun that I got the opportunity of a lifetime and really sharpened my sewing machine skills. I used the military’s GI Bill and learned how to sew while studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles.
Tell us a little bit about your military background and how it’s impacted your brand.
I proudly served as a Machine Gunner in the United States Marine Corps for eight years. I served with 2ndBattalion 7th Marines and was on an Inspector Instructor staff for 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines in Los Angeles. Needless to say, my time in the Infantry really impacted the brand. The refined ruggedness exhibited in the brand was certainly inspired by my time in service. Everything from the first set of camouflage I wore (and noticed were made by American Apparel), to my Dress Blues and infantry experience undoubtedly shaped the brand. You can see it in the details; rugged garments with elements of luxury. I also started attending Fashion School while on Active duty in Los Angeles. I was honored to meet a fashion industry and fellow USMC Veteran, Joe Lafko, who is our Managing Partner. Our paths crossed and our Marine mentality have been crucial to the expansion of the brand.
“Honestly, I’ve always been obsessed with jeans, so it has been amazing to see my dream come true!”
Why did you name your brand "Trinidad3"? What is the significance of the name?
It started as homework assignment at FIDM in Mr. Isaac Walkers class. I had to design a logo and come up with a name. This collection was based on my experiences and my life, so I named it Trinidad 3. My full name is Trinidad Garcia III. Trinidad is the first name given to my father and grandfather.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated with fashion. In Jr. High and High School, I was voted ‘Best Dressed’ and ‘Trendiest’. Since Kindergarten, I dreamed of having my name on a pair of jeans. My favorite time of the year was back to school shopping. We had limited resources, so I had to get creative to appear to have more. I didn’t want other kids to know my family was struggling financially. Honestly, I’ve always been obsessed with jeans, so it has been amazing to see my dream come true!
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Tell your story and mission; the clothes are secondary.
What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?
Whoever works with us has to be onboard with our brand mission: Powering Veterans.
How do you define fashion?
Fashion is an artistic expression of who you are. It’s an emotion and impacts how you feel. Look good, feel good. Fashion to me is living.
“Right now, we have to focus on relationships, not transactions.”
How do you want men to feel when wearing your clothes?
I want men to feel confident and empowered. To feel refined without compromising ruggedness.
You've made some incredible efforts to assist during these troubling times of COVID-19. Can you give us more information about how you've been able to make an impact?
We donated masks to an organization that is delivering food to disabled people in Los Angeles. This allowed them to safely further their mission during these times. Shout out to Robert “Sarge” Perez for doing amazing work in L.A. We are currently in the process of producing cloth masks that will be donated to organizations on the East Coast.
We had a successful launch online with our jeans and are proud of our customers supporting us in donating to various organizations. During this time, we have inspired the Veteran community by showing strength and purpose. We have inspired others to make a difference during this time. No matter the magnitude, there is always something we can do.
What advice or encouragement would you give to others to make a difference?
Find purpose and use your talent to make a difference. This will put you in a “briar patch” and will get you through hard times. I’m driven with my mission to power veterans and the designing is fuel.
Right now, we have to focus on relationships, not transactions. Utilize your talents and passion in service to others. The difference you make will be a byproduct of sticking to what you believe in. I encourage everyone to find purpose during this time and grow it. Doesn’t matter how big or small.