Monday, June 10, 2013

THE INTERVIEW: Nigerian Fashion Designer talks House of Tzar

Tzar, for me, conjures images of a panther against a dark background, some strange background music and then an emerald green marble bottle of perfume. I think I was about nine or ten when I saw my first advertisements for the fragrance. But this is not at all about that. This is about a Nigerian fashion brand taking menswear in Naija town by storm. Subtle nuances to vintage, feminine tastes of silk and a strong modern pop swing of graphics; this brand presents men with alternative options to their mundane wardrobe staple pieces.

A (fashion) politically correct mixture of styles for day and for night, Tzar presents a capsule collection look book of what the brand has to offer. Firstly, the personality of the brand is on the surface of the shirts. Fun, bold and about today, the shirts don’t ask for any apologies for being so adventurous and trendy. Secondly, their casual cool demeanour further perpetuates how men can be effortlessly on trend, especially since trying too hard has visible traces of evidence that leave the wearer more fashion victim than fashion forward. Thirdly, it’s about understanding personal taste. The shirts are definitely not for every man, but any man who knows who he is in fashion will be able to pick out that one shirt that works for their style and rock it.

At Renaissance Men SA, we used to indulge in interviews, went south for a while on that destination, but now we’re back. To celebrate our return to The Interview, we have a quick cyber chat (this interview was conducted via the world wide web) with Tzar’s Creative Director Ian Audifferen.

Hi Ian, thank you so much for affording us this opportunity to interview you.
Thank you for your interest in the brand Tzar. I must apologize for our scheduling this so late but I have been overwhelmed with work. We’re here now, so let’s get to it.

Describe the brand, Tzar
Tzar is a ready-to-wear shirt line birthed from my love for prints, all things quirky and the ethos of a metrosexual man. It is a representation of my emotions towards my fashion and style.

Who is Ian Audifferen, Tzar’s Creative Director?
Ian is a prospective microbiologist, an optimistic malcontent fashion lover, vintage addict and gourmet.

How would you describe the Tzar man?
The Tzar man can be described as one with insouciant but great style. He embodies the elements of panache and poise.

Why start with just a range of shirts?
Well, I’m not starting with just a range of shirts; I intend to design tunics as well. Most of the shirts are once-off pieces and men enjoy that factor of exclusivity.

The prints are more graphic, Eurocentric as opposed to African prints. Is this a conscious decision or did it happen in an organic manner that developed as you designed the collection?
It is a conscious effort; I feel the market is saturated with a lot of African print. I love African prints and will definitely make use of them in the nearest future. If I do it then I would ensure it’s used in another form, so motifs as to the regular Ankara and Adire.

The collection featured in the look book has a strong vontage feel. Is vintage a style of fashion you enjoy most?
Yes! Yes! Yes! I love vintage. I wear a lot of vintage hence the reflection in my collection. It allows me to be more creative and as involved with the clothes as I can be.

Describe the current menswear landscape in Naija…
I think menswear in beginning to implode here. I also would like to see people who do menswear that aren’t just suits only.

Are guys in Nigeria supporting menswear as much as ladies support womenswear?
The Nigerian man supports the conventional menswear, which is jackets and the regular native attire. But when it comes to the quirky stuff with asymmetrical cuts or sheer outfits…it’s a no no!

How would you describe a Nigerian guy’s general sense of style?
The Nigerian man’s sense of style is very conventional and laidback. He always wants to play it safe.

Which local [Nigerian] designers are you currently buying and wearing?
I wear a lot Orange Culture! I love Orange Culture. Very quirky. I wear Tzar a lot, also Grey and Mai Atafo.

Your Top 3 fashion tips for the stylish guy?
Just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean it’s your style. Find your own style!
Comfort comes first…
Wearing the outfit isn’t enough you need the right attitude and confidence to pull it off…

Your Top 3 must-have fashion items for this season?
Monk shoes
Printed pants
Something white (shirt, pants, jacket, jeans, whatever)

What’s next for Tzar?
Next in line for Tzar is establishing an online platform, besides social media, and working on another capsule collection.

As you can see, fashion designers are once again proving fashion takes a lot more than a flair for fabric but a sense of the world, understanding your market and having an intuitive sense of direction. Success is not a bottle of water that can be bought at a shop. It’s a series of attempts, sometimes calculated and sometimes spontaneous, moving towards the end goal. We see big things coming from the House of Tzar and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the brand, all the way from South Africa.

Ian Audifferen. Image copyright and courtesy of Bella Naija

Follow House of Tzar on Twitter via @byTzar

1 comment:

  1. Go Tzar, go Tzar!!!! Love the designs :)

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