The award-winning men’s fashion designer on the business of fashion and dressing up no less than the South African president.
1. Who you would like to dress and why?
I would like to dress our [South Africa’s] head of state Cyril Ramaphosa; that would be really good on my CV. But not only that, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. When you look at ministers and presidents, they look simple yet sophisticated. What people don’t realize is the most simple outfits are the most difficult to make. You can’t over-accessorize, you just can’t over-design. You have to keep it very clean and minimalistic and also in harmony with the person’s character…So I am ready for that challenge.
2. As a designer, when is the right time to start expanding to retail?
As designers, we all have different business strategies. What works for one designer does not necessarily work for the other. But the best time to start is when as you fully understand the business of fashion and have completed your internship. The one thing I always advise upcoming designers is to not be too much in a hurry to establish their brand, because you will end up being an overnight sensation.
3. What does it take to build a brand like Palse Homme?
Blood, sweat and water from the moon. It’s a long journey that does not have milestones in between, the reason I say that is that it’s like running a marathon that does not have a finish line. You have to strive to get somewhere and the day you get there, that is when you get to retire.
4. How do you stay disciplined with your money?
I am very prudent when it comes to my finances. As an entrepreneur, you cannot do it all by yourself… so I have outsourced my public relations and finance services to the experts.
5. What is your most expensive indulgence?
Sunglasses. I once spent R6,000 ($450) on them. I am a hoarder of good sunglasses; I don’t even know how many pairs I have.
6. What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the fashion industry?
It’s very difficult for designers to attract potential investors. People don’t understand that to be able to showcase my designs during fashion week, it means we have to pay to be part of fashion week, most importantly, we have to raise capital, and the overheads become extremely insane because you have to come up with money to be able to put together your collection. Simultaneously, when you do that, you are even unable to take orders. You are stressing about that fashion week night that will take only five to 10 minutes. Mind you, while you are working on that, you have overheads like salaries and rent.
7. What do you spend your money on?
Traveling! I always say to people I enjoy being out of the city and the country. There is something about traveling that just shifts your mind-set and makes you more appreciative of what you have back home [South Africa]…You realize that we have it all, in terms of food to the most amazing hotels; the energy people exude is phenomenal. We live in a very beautiful country.