Fashion trends: Suit yourself

2014-05-18 15:00

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Zano Sithetho of Skorzch

“We always try to create something that embodies [the client’s] character.

The blueprint of a Skorzch suit is well tailored, slim fitted and attention is paid to detail. We don’t focus on design as much as functionality and comfort,” says Zano Sithetho.

He believes that a well-fitted suit is more timeless than a slim-fitted one. Sithetho says what distinguishes Skorzch are the details: the shoulder pads, the seam on the shoulders, the darts on the front that help accentuate height and the slanted pockets. “A smooth, clean and well-tailored look.”

According to him, Skorzch wants to tell an African story through versatile clothes that last through the seasons.

When it comes to today’s colours, he says there is a trend towards dark navy, black and charcoal-grey, burnt orange, tartan and hound’s-tooth check, “but I’m falling in love with chocolate brown”. He has come a long way since he was a bricklayer and a tow-truck driver’s assistant. He launched Skorzch in 2011 and lists celebs such as Ntsika and Lupindo from The Soil, as well as Theo Kgosinkwe and Thapelo Mokoena.

“A Skorzch suit is a tool to make you look powerful, lethal and dangerous. It’s gonna be the Apple of suits.”

Emerging designer Sello Medupe of Scalo. Picture: Leon Sadiki

Sello Medupe of Scalo

Uppermost on Sello Medupe’s mind when it comes to a suit is functionality through the choice of fabric, texture, fit, styling and colour trend.

“We always give a structured feel and incorporate particular fabrics. For winter, we did suiting, leather and wool with different linings.”

Medupe says the colours for winter are grey, navy blue and black.

For this season, he was inspired by pigeons in flight near the Family Court in Joburg. “I saw greys and navy and that provided the colour palette.”

He describes his winter collection as “modern future”. He says: “We mostly target new job market entrants who want to stand out. What we make for them is a suit you can go to work in and socialise in later.”

Medupe says South African men play it safe and classic with suits. They are afraid of being different and only buy a suit for a matric dance, a wedding or a function. He wishes men could play around with shades and layering, and coordinate their looks.

Medupe started sketching in primary school and was sewing for family and friends by the time he got to high school. He studied design at Sew Africa in Joburg, where he was top of the class in his first year. He had unveiled his range at Mpumalanga Fashion Week by his third year.

Scalo was launched in 2009 and has dressed DJ Switch, AKA and Nigerian music stars P-Square for their video.

He is shooting a reality show on starting a fashion label for local TV.

Maps Maponyane’s OCD Collection features an iPad pocket. Picture: Lesley Mofokeng

Maps Maponyane OF OCD by Augustine

Known as a pretty-boy social butterfly and for his TV work, Maponyane has a suit line known as OCD (for his obsessive compulsive disorder).

He says checks, tartan, quilting and leather are big for winter, along with rich, deep reds and blues. Although OCD doesn’t do it yet, he says formal streetwear, also known as sport luxe, is a big trend in suits this winter.

Maponyane’s label provides an alternative in suit tailoring. He has conceptualised a clever line with nifty pockets and secret compartments to make a suit a practical part of a gentleman’s movement.

“We make classic, old-school, tailored suits but still keep a modern edge and relevance. There are subtleties and added details,” he says.

For instance, his jackets have an iPad pocket for ease of travel. And the lapel has strategically placed holes for earphone cables.

“Everything is about functionality and practicality,” says Maponyane.

The trousers come with a rubber band that runs across the waist and holds the shirt in place like a grip, and a suede coin pocket that serves as a smart hidden purse for the man on the move.

Maps says what frustrates him most is the man who wears a suit because of the brand name, even when it doesn’t look good on him.

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