Thursday, February 16, 2012


As promised, I am doing a series of Q&As with South African menswear designers and the first in this series is Keith Henning of the label 'Adriaan Kuiters'. Here's what he had to say...

There aren’t a lot of independent menswear designers in South Africa. Why did you, specifically, follow this path?
Design is something I feel passionate about. I felt that the current offering in the market wasn't very appealing (and) I Wanted to create a menswear brand that is simple and easy to wear.

What are some of the challenges that you would say you face as, firstly, a designer, and what do menswear designers in particular have to deal with?

Sourcing fabric in south africa is a challenge due to quality and availability, especially within the realm of menswear options. I pride my work on the fact that I produce a high standard design through unique and high quality fabrics.

If you look at fashion week, all 5 hosted in SA, there are always only a few menswear designers. Is Adriaan Kuiters not interested in the concept of fashion week? Will we ever see a collection at any fashion week?
Currently I am still occupied with building a high quality mens' and accessory brand. It is in future planning, so keep an eye out.

What would it take, in your opinion, to cultivate more menswear design talent and why do you think students are barely interested in the category?
Menswear is a tougher industry due to conservative spending and big supply stores, which leaves little space in South Africa for new talent and small brands. Younger generations are however becoming more aware of unique, independent, local design, so there is potential for growth and support.

Do the big retailers have any role to play in terms of promoting independent local menswear design talent?

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