Friday, February 17, 2012

Renaissance Q&A: Nothing left-handed about David West

"How do you introduce a designer whose name speaks volumes for itself. Some have dubbed him an underground Cape Town designer. Quirky, offbeat, non-superficial, creative and skilled at deconstruction; are some of the more prominent descriptions for the designer we sit face-to-face with today. David West, known very little for his personal life but immensely for his personal designer signature. We settle into the New Year, with some time with the designer to find out if we can unravel any secret to his success and what 2012 will be showcasing for him and his label."

Who/What influenced your move into fashion?
The Face Magazine, Bar Do Me (Cape Town nightclub in the 90's) I wanted to study fine art initially, but these 2 things swayed my interest into fashion.

What is your view on the state of menswear in South Africa?
Dire – it’s conservative and boring... But stores like Zara opening here are sure to shake things up a bit and raise the bar.

In your opinion, what is or are the key issue(s) facing menswear in South Africa?
It’s a very conservative market, very small market for forward thinking menswear. On the designer side- limited fabric and lack of quality production are big challenges we face.

What role do the think the David West brand has played in the South African menswear market?
Hopefully moved things forward a bit? Offered an alternative to the mainstream?

Do you think men in South Africa are ready for more variety designer wear catered to them specifically and better brands?
Yes for sure but are they prepared to pay for this? I'm not so sure.

There is just such a lack of it in SA at the moment.

In the business of menswear, who in your opinion are the key role players and why? Business wise its all the big retailers - WW, Truworths, Markham, Edgars and the surf brands. They sell to the most customers and therefore are the biggest players in the local menswear business.

What do you think it means to be a Renaissance Man in South Africa, today?
I don't know. I suppose it has something to do with being more informed and "enlightened" me, somebody who has discovered their own style and is aware of, but not dictated to by trends.

Name the three wardrobe staples no man should be without?
A good white shirt. A grey v-neck knitwear piece. A pair of narrow dark denim jeans.

Who are your top three local brands in men’s fashion?

What’s next for David West?
To go back to the original spirit of the label - a renegade energy inspired by the streets, subculture and contemporary music. I will focus on my way of doing things and let creativity and moving forward rule what I do.  

Lastly, whom do you consider to be a Renaissance Man, and why?
I don't consider myself to be a Renaissance Man...

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