Many people talk about South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and his shiny tailored suits – few know they are designed by an African and made by an Italian. They are the work of designer, Linda Makhanya.
I am well aware that the branding of Italy and London are stronger than the branding of Africa because they’ve invested a lot in their craftsmanship and it goes through generations. They’ve mastered their arts of craftsmanship, that’s why they are the world’s best
When we meet Makhanya at the Marion on Nicol Hotel, in Sandton, he’s sporting a well-fitted grey suit he designed himself. “When I stand in the mirror I feel like nothing is impossible, like success is my potion and that I deserve the best just by wearing a suit,” says Makhanya.
The 31-year- old Makhanya started LM Tailored Suit in 2012 and has been flourishing ever since. He sells up to 50 suits a month. His clients include the Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula and Bheki Cele, South Africa’s former head of police. He now wants to design suits for women in boardrooms.
Makhanya says he used to wear his suits every day in Sandton, Africa’s richest square mile, and it led to a chance encounter in 2011.
“I met a guy through a friend and I was wearing a suit. He complimented me. He gave me his business card, I contacted him and told him that I am going to give him the best clothes that are not in this country, and for us to start I need R50,000 ($3,900). It was enough to source clothes and buy more stock to sell. Then the money started coming,” says Makhanya.
It hasn’t stopped since then.