We are on a lockdown due to this Corona Pandemic, but thanks to technology I can still keep in touch with fellow gents in the sartorial sphere. So I thought of having chats with a few in the fashion world, particularly menswear and hear how this outbreak has affected them.
Brian Lehang: How has the lockdown or rather the outbreak affected you?
Samkelo Xaba: The business and everything has stopped, I can’t produce anything at the moment
Brian Lehang: And with regards to SA Fashion Week, since you were supposed to debut your collection for the Menswear Scout?
Samkelo Xaba: The show has been postponed, I am not done with the collection, somehow I will have to improvise but currently I am stuck
Brian Lehang: And how is SAFW assisting designers since they cannot do anything during this time?
Samkelo Xaba: They’re planning to make the show digitally but having technical difficulties with the host venue. At least they share our work on their social media platforms and give us ideas on how to overcome this situation, they even call and email us daily to check up on us
Brian Lehang: That’s good of them to keep in touch. How are things financially?
Samkelo Xaba: It’s really bad, considering the fact that I was funding the whole collection for the show from my own pocket
Brian Lehang: Are you still studying, and if so what are you studying and at which institution?
Samkelo Xaba: I graduated last year. I was studying Fashion and Design Technology at Tshwane University of Technology
Brian Lehang: We got to know each other through the sartorial sphere, but lately I see you in different styles. How would you describe your design style and your personal dress sense?
Samkelo Xaba: I am into classic fit and easy fitted silhouette to give the garment more space for movement, unstructured suits for functionality, contemporary soft tailored suit that you can wear for a business meeting and also wear it with your sneakers and T-shirt then be able to ride a bike. Lately I have been dressing based on my mood, I’m in a process of experimenting a combination of tailoring and street-wear, I am trying to interlink the two to come up with something that’s functional, versatile, sustainable and eco-friendly. With that said I have to master the fit and silhouette through pattern construction and manipulation to produce something functional. I hope I make sense.
Brian Lehang: Make sense…especially that I’ve been seeing the whole mix. So I’m guessing your collection would be a mixture of the above statement?
Samkelo Xaba: Yes
Brian Lehang: And where do you get your inspiration from with regards to your designs and as well as your dress sense/style?
Samkelo Xaba: My designs are inspired by modern architecture, sustainability, interior design, minimal space, simplicity and 60s silhouette.
Brian Lehang: And figures (individuals) that you look up to for style inspiration?
Samkelo Xaba: I get style inspiration from a lot of figures with different styles. Just to name a few: Alexis Foreman, Philip Conradsson, Brittany Bathgate, Andreas Larsson, Saman Amel, and Dag Granath
Brian Lehang: Quite refreshing and pleasing that you also have females that you draw inspiration from. Looking at the people you mentioned as well as your style, it’s more like a certain genre within the sartorial menswear. Would you say so and what kind of genre would you call it?
Samkelo Xaba: Yes! I personally call it Minimalism and The Minimalists
Brian Lehang: It’s not the first time I hear of the term, how would you define it?
Samkelo Xaba: Minimalism is more than just clothing but a lifestyle of individuals who prefers quality than quantity, and believes in simplicity. He or she doesn’t seek attention or to be noticed.
Brian Lehang: I went through the pages of the “minimalists” mentioned earlier, some of them I follow and noticed the color factor. Tell me more about that?
Samkelo Xaba: It’s all about going with neutral colors that are versatile and won’t limit you when putting together an outfit on any day. Artistically one can repeat clothing items and still look relevant and elegant.
Brian Lehang: For minimalists, what would be the winter colors and summer colors?
Samkelo Xaba: Winter – dark shades of grey, black, navy, khaki green, shades of dark brown, camel, sand, warm beige, Taupe and many more…
Summer – shades of white, lighter shades of grey, light brown, navy, sky blue, beige and many more
Some of the above colors are all-season, the key difference is fabric choice.
Brian Lehang: And your view of the opposite, (peacocks)
Samkelo Xaba: Well personally I feel like we all have freedom to do or dress however we want you. I respect other people’s choices, if they feel happy in their dress code or sense of style why not, who am I to judge other people’s decisions?
Until next time, stay safe at home