Thursday, May 17, 2012


Naked Ape is known for its fine tailoring, the use of quality fabrication and attention to detail. This menswear label made its SA Fashion Week debut at last year's autumn/winter collections and immediately earned a place among the best. In our third menswear designers' Q&A, we speak to owner and designer Shaldon Kopman.



SN: What are your thoughts on the South African fashion industry and the position of menswear within the industry?

SK: SA Fashion Industry, we are growing at a pace we wish would be more rapid than current. Menswear, ah well, we are trying to break ground and get consumers to understand and believe that local is the future. We all know that massive challenges we are faced with, variety of fine cloth and skilled manufacturing etc and these often delay production and delivery.

SN: Who are some of the menswear designers, besides yourself, that you think are doing great things in the industry?
SK:  All of us are working hard and we all faced with the same obstacles. Understanding of your target market is key and designers should stick to this. I applaud all SA menswear designers as we are trying to grow a difficult sect of fashion industry, we are a new market with lots of conservatives after all.

SN: What would you say sets Naked Ape apart from other brands? 
SK: We enjoy trends but seldom follow. We try not to compromise on quality at any level - design, fabrication and assembly.

SN: And how would you describe your ideal customer?
SK: There is no ideal customer, we love them as they come, we have the ability and patience to accommodate many but not all.

SN: Naked Ape is one of the labels that was on the Edgars shop floor at Melrose Arch. What would you say have been the benefits of this, if any?
SK: Being on a floor for 1 month in one store is not very beneficial to any brand, it takes a lot more time to create awareness of exclusive brand in commercial space, as the consumer needs to relate and adapt. Also the floor’s predominant feature was ladies wear, not quite fitting for exclusive menswear. It was however a great opportunity, just need more time and more affordable merchandise for this particular market.

SN: What are some of the biggest problems that face menswear in South Africa? 
SK: The attitude of consumers needs alteration. And we are as good or even better than some of our international rivals. Give us marketing budget and government please understand and expand our platform for luxury brands.

SN: Besides Melrose Arch Edgars, where does Naked Ape retail? 
SK: We have been selling from our showroom but will be available at House of Fashion from June onwards.

SN: Do you see online as an alternative retail space for South African designers? 
SK: Not alternative but additional, it is needed for international clientele. It is also important to feel and fit (the product).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely interview!

im for designers that strive towards putting men's fashion desires up in the same level as women.

I hope the brand gets stronger and becomes easily accessible accross the country