Chit Chat: Paledi Segapo

2011-10-08 14:24

Fresh from his debut showing at SA Fashion Week, 31-year-old designer Paledi Segapo of PALSE Homme talks male threads and duds with LESLEY MOFOKENG

How has your brand evolved since the days of RjKay?
Thanks to my masters degree in business leadership, the PALSE brand operates as a business with three units.

PALSE Business Consulting assists designers that specialise in women’s apparel with business, marketing and growth strategies.

My clients include Gert-Johan Coetzee, Rubicon and various boutiques.

PALSE Image Consulting offers image and styling services to TV productions, local glossies and the Miss SA Office. I am the personal stylist to the reigning Miss SA, Bokang Montjane.

Lastly, PALSE Homme is a bespoke menswear label.

There is a mutual business relationship for all the three units.

What are the essentials that make up a good man’s suit?
The most pivotal thing is getting the fit right. An ill-fitting suit looks odd. If you take your image seriously, looking like a walking tent can have a damaging effect.

Other secondary but mandatory things to take cognisance of are the right breathing fabric; synthetic screams poor taste.

The length of a jacket’s sleeves should never even come close to the palms. And the hour glass effect on the waist is hard to achieve, and when done it should be subtle.

What are the mistakes men make when they buy a suit?
Men are oblivious to little details – particularly on a jacket – such as the number of buttons and vents at the back.

If you happen to be a short guy, my tip is to invest in a one-button jacket with natural shoulders.

This will lengthen your silhouette, giving a deep V from the neck to your torso. For the skinny guy, a double-breasted jacket is the way to go – it gives more width to an extra slim torso.

For the broad guy, a two-button jacket definitely gives a slimming effect. And for the big, tall man a three-button suit creates a great short V neck effect.

Three essential items men need to have this summer?
A pair of aviator shades such as Ray Ban or Police, and an oversized timeless speed master (a wrist watch). And of course a tailored suit, preferably black and cotton.

Cotton breathes and it will keep you cool in summer and creates a perfect insulation on cold days. Stay away from crucifix neck pieces, they are so yesteryear.

What is your opinion of skirt-wearing men?
Trends evolve; I won’t put down anyone that chooses to randomly wear a skirt, as long as it doesn’t make them lose their masculinity.

Moreover, being fashion forward is a choice. Often I find men would rather stay classically current than look fashionably trendy.

It is important for men to look good for their significant others to retain their masculinity and dress age- appro­priate.

What role does a man bag play in today’s fashion?
Who wants to be caught walking around with stuffed pockets?

Man bags make a fashion statement, and again I can’t emphasise enough that one has to carry their look and fashion identity with masculinity.

Who do you look up to in men’s fashion?
Ghana-born Ozwald Boateng.

He makes suits for Barack Obama, the British royal family and (singer) George Michael. If you’ve made it and you do not own a Boateng, then your closet is starving of beauty.

What do you regard as the greatest loss in fashion – Alexander McQueen’s suicide or Gianni Versace’s murder?
I’m a great fan of both their work. Alex gave women fierce lobster heels inspired by Geisha shoes and Versace made Princess Diana look chic, refined and on point.

What’s going right with SA fashion today and what’s going wrong?
I have profound respect for Lucilla Booysens (SA Fashion Week founder). She has given South African brands an opportunity.

The collaboration between crafters and designers, as initiated by the arts and culture department, is also worthy of applause.

We have designer apparel available at Edgars stores and a special pop-up shop in Sandton City taking fashion closer to the people.

What is going wrong is that designers are still adversely impacted by small profit margins and that is attributed to a lack of business acumen.

Designers need to think beyond the glitz and glam and find ways of implementing business-related strategies.

Finally, the government needs to curb the influx of cheap imports to protect not only local designers but help fashion consumers distinguish quality from cheap.

Can you forecast what’s coming next after this colour-blocking craze?
I’ve been interpreting trends unfolding at the recent New York Fashion Week, albeit I think Paris Fashion Week is the ultimate.

I see a lot of white emerging. I see everyone fully clad in a clinical look next year, like Calvin Klein.

Which local politician do you dream of dressing and why?
I bumped into Minister Tokyo Sexwale at the 46664 fashion launch recently. He was dressed in this impeccable suit and feather-light shirt. I found myself saying: “Minister it’ll be great to dress you.”

Any plans to open a boutique?
Phase one of the business and growth strategy is to ensure PALSE Homme is marketed like no other men’s apparel.

There are a few buyers interested in placing orders, so we wait and see because my brand is about accessibility and wearability.

Of course in future there will be PALSE Homme shop.

My client Gert-Johan Coetzee and I are off to Angola for their fashion week in mid-October. When I get back, I leave for Brazil for a week.

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