MY FATHER’S SIGNET RING

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You know how they say that women are prone to choosing partners who are like their fathers? I have a theory that men are prone to choosing fashion that reminds them of theirs. Growing up, my dad worked a lot. The kind of man who worked until the job was done. I remember thinking of my father as this giant, this great man I hoped to be some day. He was naturally athletic and enjoyed sports and drinking whisky; a real man’s man. He had a solid build and would walk through town with such confidence. People loved his fantastic sense of humour and appreciated his kindness. I was a decade away from growing facial hair myself but my father’s gorgeous, full beard epitomised masculinity to me. I distinctly remember him driving me to school when I was quite young. He would wear knitted ties under a pullover to work and combined with that beard and his aviator Ray-Bans I thought he was something unstoppable. On weekends short-sleeved shirts and shorts were customary but his gold signet ring remained on his pinky every single day.

Of course by the time I was a teenager I rebelled, and in searching for my own personality, clashed with his. I was in no way athletic and we battled to relate to each other. My brothers are both much older than me and there came a time when he decided to make them their own gold ring with their initials on it. Knowing everything at the time I scoffed at the idea of ever wearing one, but there would come a time when I would change my mind. Both my brothers wore them for a while and before long left them in a drawer and forgot about them. My father figured I would go the same way, discarding the tradition he hoped to start, and never made one for me.

While this was happening I had started to grow a beard and experiment with my own personal style. I tried it all (and I have years of style posts to back that up) but nothing fit quite right (I have even more posts about skinny jeans than I care to think about). At 30 years old, passed the phases one goes through to find what it is they really like, I arrived in a pretty good place. I learned a lot from observing my father, such as how to be a gentleman and the value of your word.

My father passed his ring on to me this year before he and my mother immigrated to America, he said I could melt it down and make something I would wear but I could never do that. It means far too much to me. I figure I would not feel the same way about this ring if it carried my own initials. In a world of selfie-awareness and the need for validation I feel pretty darn great wearing a ring that reminds me what I really want to strive for as a man; hard-working, smart, reliable, strong and kind. Often you grow up hoping to be the furthest thing from your father or mother, but I embrace our similarities and hope I wear them well.

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MICHAEL CHANDLER X MR PRICE HOME

IMG_8779Since ‘good ideas don’t keep business hours’ it’s no surprise Michael Chandler keeps his ideas locked down on paper. The notebook collector recently joined up with Mr Price Home to design a capsule collection,  and since I think both are doing wonderful things for decor I asked him to share a few images from his prized notebooks. His signature drawing style was of course a major player in designing his pieces for the collection, but you can see for yourself by watching the video below.

Click here to view the available pieces from the collaboration and here to visit Chandler House.

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HEAR THIS: YUNA – MY FAVOURITE THING

g-star-raw-amsterdam-netherlands-dutch-episode-collaboration-musician-malaysian-yuna-zarai-2013-2014-fall-autumn-winter-womens-looks-head-scarf-denim-jeans-04xIt’s a rainy Saturday morning and as I drink my coffee I find myself bopping in tune with the music playing on my laptop. It’s suddenly obvious I should share this with you. Her name is Yuna, a Malaysian singer-songwriter with such an easy and enjoyable sound. You may already know her but it wasn’t until last week, as a dinner party wound-down to a YouTube have-you-seen-this session, that I was introduced to her.

Yuna is hard to pin-point, but sometimes I hear Regina Spector and other times Imogen Heap. Basically, just the kind of slightly off-centre music I like. Here’s my personal favourite, entitled ‘My Favourite Thing’, but you’ll probably enjoy Mountains (which sounds a bit like The XX) as well.

Image from GStar.

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SOUTH AFRICAN MENSWEAR WEEK

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South African Menswear Week is here. No, really. Three days of solid menswear will feature the likes of those designers we expect to see (Craig Port, CSquared..), but lots of newcomers like Chu Suwannapha, crowd-pleasers like Ruald Rheeder and even Swahili Fashion Week exports.

South African Menswear Week will launch on Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th February 2015 and features the collections of over 25 leading menswear designers in Africa. They plan on having this become a biannual event, with February and July showcasing the Autumn/Winter (AW15) and Spring/Summer (SS15) collections respectively. Having our own menswear week was created to celebrate the creative and commercial importance of South Africa and Africa’s menswear industry. More importantly, South African Menswear Week will work alongside the designers to develop business and profiling opportunities, according to their release, helping African talent to build brands and labels, increase exposure, which supports sales and assists in expanding business by creating job employment. I sincerely hope they are able to see success from this venture, but also to have our hungry fashion-crazed male audience attend and support the brands. Will you?

See who is showing here.

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HEAR THIS: BLOOM – THE PAPER KITES

THE-PAPER-KITES-IMG-12New year, new music! I am thrilled to have discovered The Paper Kites and their song Bloom will forever remind me of Christmas 2014 with my family in America. Having taken a good break over the festive season I am ready to get back into the swing of things here on Man of the Cloth. More fashion, more decor and certainly more music is on the way. Watch this space.

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MY TOPMAN HOLIDAY WISH LIST 2014

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With the holidays in full swing it makes sense that we need to be thinking about Christmas wish lists and what to buy the guy that has it all. I went to TopMan in Sandton and chose two themed wish lists, one for the preppy guy and one who favours a more sporty look. The selection is pretty great and the styles varied, so you will have no problem picking something out for you or someone special.

I don’t overthink the December season with its sweltering heat and festivities. T-shirts and shorts go a long way and still have me looking and feeling great. TopMan has plenty of awesome new swimwear in-stock!

Since the holiday season calls for new threads I’m going to help you get some. A R500 TopMan voucher could be yours, and all you need to do is this:

Follow me on Twitter.com/manofthecloth then tweet me using the hashtag #TopManHolidaySA and tell me which item from these two wish lists you wouldn’t mind owning for yourself. It’s that simple. Competition closes Thursday 18th December 2014! 

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FABIANI FLAGSHIP OPENS IN SANDTON CITY

the Fabiani Cafe, Sandton City, JohannesburgSandton City, known for its vast array of menswear, from luxury retail brands to the high-street variety, recently saw the opening of the Fabiani Cafe. Shot by Blake Woodhams , the beautiful interior answers that old question once and for all: Where are all the menswear boutiques? There was a time when a menswear store offered a selection of pointy leather shoes for a seemingly Central African market, ill-fitting short-sleeved shirts and polyester suiting.

I’m proud and relieved to say that is no longer the case. Fabiani’s Designer, Nat Iqani agrees, “There is far more choice in the market now. With brand’s pushing to consistently increase their online presence and international operators pouring into the country, men now are becoming more selective, but in the same breath they are also buying more because they are in the know.”

From Fabiani merchandise to Happy Socks to the ever popular G-Star, you officially have no more excuses. As you may not know Fabiani was recently bought over by the Foschini Group (which means you can always charge it) but Arie Fabian still lends his expertise as Brand Director.

What do you think about the store layout? I could very, very happily own the commissioned Chesterfield myself.

the Fabiani Cafe, Sandton City, Johannesburg the Fabiani Cafe, Sandton City, Johannesburg the Fabiani Cafe, Sandton City, Johannesburg the Fabiani Cafe, Sandton City, Johannesburg the Fabiani Cafe, Sandton City, Johannesburg

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HOW TO WEAR DOUBLE DENIM – TAKE TWO

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Here is a fun and easy way to show you how to wear double denim. Six years ago, on my 24th birthday, I wore this cranberry Paul Smith jumper. It was my favourite item hands down. Sadly we can’t wear the same thing over and over again without it losing its allure. I bring it out on cold days from time to time and it always keeps me feeling good. I use this as the main player in the ensemble, it brings all the focus to itself and allows the denim to sit well together. Then I threw on some tan leather veldskoene to go with the jumper. Not an overly dramatic look, but another example of how you can wear double denim comfortably. The jeans are GAP 1969 Skinny jeans. They are probably my favourite pair of raw denim I’ve ever owned. So comfortable and they haven’t lost their colour in all the months I’ve worn them.

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ISLAND STYLE – WITH TOPMAN

IMG_6929Few of you know this but I work in advertising. I spend a fair deal of my time at a desk and rarely enjoy clothing like shorts and t-shirts. Recently I went to Mozambique with a group of friends for a much-needed holiday, it was the lightest I’ve ever traveled. I stopped by TopMan to see their brand new collection and stocked up on some awesome swimwear and t-shirts for my holiday. You may recall I used to live in Italian brogues and I swear, ten days in my TopMan swimmers ensured I was not only tanned, but convinced me that this simpler lifestyle suited me pretty well. Inspired by palm trees and the local rum, I took to Tofo village and have a couple images to show you a couple items I picked up from TopMan in Sandton. Just check out my dynamic lean-pose to see how good I felt in their gear.

What continues to impress me is that Topshop and TopMan continue to deliver high quality fashion that is replenished often, up to date and reasonably priced. Fashion shouldn’t be inaccessible; it is not some exclusive club. If you’re not as put together as you’d like, there are virtually enough styles to suit every man. Plus, you can consult any of the trendy staff members for help. I recall my days as a shoppy and I thought we dressed up, we had nothing on the guys and girls at Topshop and TopMan.

IMG_6906IMG_6934IMG_6905Visit them on social media too:

  Twitter: @Topman_SA

Instagram: topmansouthafrica

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THE LIVE IN LEVI’S CAMPAIGN CAPTURES TASTEMAKERS AROUND THE WORLD

levis-live-in-levis-campaign-1This is how I Live in Levi’s. These are the words that describe the media campaign from the world’s most iconic jeans wear brand, Levi’s. No surprises, the Live In Levi’s campaign is making waves throughout the internet. It’s a digital campaign which encourages fans to share their Live in Levi’s moments on social media. For the video shoot they chose to feature a host of notable cool-kids from all over the world like, colette social media manager Sandrine Tonye, dancer Zhu Jiejingi-D Magazine editor Julia Sarr-Jamois, Philippe Zda of musical duo Cassius and Himm Wonn of Urban Magazine. They’re all wearing (naturally) a lot of awesome clothing from Levi’s denim jeans range.

There is a full-length clip available from Levi’s YouTube channel, but you can watch a shorter preview of the coinciding documentary-style film below.

levis-live-in-levis-campaign-9 levis-live-in-levis-campaign-4 levis-live-in-levis-campaign-3How do you Live in Levi’s? Send in your pics and if they’re awesome I’ll feature them here on Man of the Cloth.

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HOW TO WEAR DOUBLE DENIM – TAKE ONE

MARCORIEKSTINS1 A lot of people have asked me how to wear double denim over the years. Up until recently I had pretty much worn my share of denim shirting, as for the lower half I probably own 30 pairs, but a denim jacket? Never. I got myself a denim jacket to challenge myself since this isn’t ordinarily what I would wear. This made me decide to do a three-parter on how to wear double denim, hopefully they help a little in showing how you could do it too.

For this I threw together a very similar palate of blues, but the shades allow it to look un-contrived (hopefully). The fold-up on both the jeans and the jacket work to separate the blues, the white brings the eye down and connects with these blues and helps the tones work cohesively. For a more commercial take, there’s no reason you can’t wear a more colourful or patterned shirt underneath, and with a thinner denim jacket you could even layer it under a leather jacket.  The jeans are 1969 skinny jeans from Gap and fit super well. My trick to wearing skinny jeans so that you don’t look like you’re trying too hard is to go up a size or two, this way you retain the style without comprising your groin or dignity. Click the image for a closer look.

For more style concerns, email marco @ manofthecloth.co.za or comment below and watch this space for more!

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RICHARD HAINES DRIES VAN NOTEN PRINT COLLABORATION SPRING SUMMER 2015

The Richard Heines print collaboration with Dries Van Noten is one of my favourites details about fashion week. Haines has always considered himself an artist, more than the fashion illustrator he has come to be known as. From 2008 his blog What I Saw Today worked as visual diary for the street style and models he witnessed in New York and fashion week around the globe. Because of his signature style it was easy to spot a Richard Heines drawing versus the others that appeared online, people (including me) were desperate to have their own style immortalised. DRIES3

Fashion design is not exactly a departure for Richard, who started out as a designer for Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein. For spring/summer 2015, Dries Van Noten unveiled a gorgeous collection inspired by Richard Nureyev, and the ballet for which the former is famous. Richard very graciously answered a few questions about the collection for Man of the Cloth exclusively below.

driesHow did the Dries collaboration come about? Furthermore, what can you tell us about the conceptualisation process? 

The people from Dries had contacted me originally a few years ago when they began work on the book to correspond with his exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. They decided not to go with illustration, and said they would contact me again when a new project surfaced. Then a few months ago they reached out and asked me if I wanted to collaborate on prints for the s/s15 men’s collection – of course I was thrilled. Dries and I met once when he was here in New York and he shared the initial concept, then I spent a week in Antwerp working with him and his team and we really got down to the details of the collection. It was a wonderful process working with him and his team, and I think the results speak for themselves.

Menswear has certainly broken its boundaries over the past few years. Where do you see it going next, especially with print and colour being major players right now.

Whoa, that’s a big question. Menswear is changing and evolving as men change and evolve and their habits of shopping change with them. I think with the Internet men have learned to be more creative about  how to put themselves together, how to be creative, and how powerful the art of dressing is. I don’t see that reversing any time soon.
Any plans to collaborate on this level in the future?
I’m super discreet and never reveal the work I’m doing until the people I’m working with want it released. So, I never kiss and tell…
Images from Richard Haines and WWD.com
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