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Global Designer Spotlight: Skorzch from Stutterheim, South Africa


 

Zano Sithetho at the finale of his show during Autumn/Winter 2013 South Africa Fashion Week

Zano Sithetho at the finale of his show during Autumn/Winter 2013 South Africa Fashion Week

 

Fresh on the scene and (now) award-winning designer’s future is tailor made.

 

By: Hina P. Ansari

 

Hailing from Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, designer Zano Sithetho knew that fashion was his calling even though he didn’t formally pursue it. Thanks to ample education in trade in Johannesburg and inspirations drawn from his love for all things GQ  — all buoyed by his love for creativity — it wasn’t until he actually learned how to sew when his fashionable destiny was finalized.

 

He made it official when his line, Skorzch officially launched in 2011, and cemented the fact that he’s the one to watch, by also winning the South Africa Fashion Week Renault Talent Search during the recently held South Africa Fashion Week, Autumn/Winter 2013 collections this year. Sithetho has firmly planted his feet in the tailored world of bespoke and menswear — and he’s not looking back. In our exclusive one-on-one chat, he shares with us his love for the cut, the creative expression and how sometimes it’s good not to go big in a small town.

 

 

What made you decide to get into the fashion business?

 

I’ve always wanted to do something outstanding with my life, a career that would be a form of expression to me; a sign of creativity. I wasn’t aware that I was going into fashion until I learnt how to sew but I’ve always had a creative mind.

 

 

Who inspired you when you were just starting out? Who are you inspired by today?

 

I used to read a lot of GQ and gradually it became an inspiration, so primarily that was my first inspiration. Today I am inspired by Ozwald Boateng, for his ability to fuse British tailoring with contemporary design. His outlook on style and his drive to create the perfect suits. Giorgio Armani for his ability to create a timeless brand, reinventing the suit and making it successful, creating trends and sustaining his brand. Kanye West. What I’ve noticed over the years is that my inspiration is linked to my dreams and my ability to achieve, so once my goals have been realised I automatically set on to new frontiers.

 

 

What’s the story behind such a unique name, “Skorzch”?

In the villages or kasi, the tartan or check pattern we call it “scotch”. In my younger years I always loved the pattern and the phrase also “scotch never dies”. I love the pronunciation of “scotch” so I decided to call the brand scotch. I played around with the spelling, throwing in a few letters thus I came up with “Skorzch”.

I wanted a name that was exotic and beautiful to pronounce. As the brand progressed I picked a few other meanings that blended in with the brand like scorch— meaning “hot”.

 

 

What is the storyboard/inspiration behind your latest collection for Autumn/Winter 2013?

 

The whole idea was to create a very sophisticated, young, fresh and elegant collection baring in mind that we had a theme to adhere to, the collection had to represent Skorzch more than anything else. Since it was our first time show-casing at South Africa Fashion Week we wanted to focus more on the functionality and feel of a tailored suit. It was also inspired by the perfect gentleman back in the 60′s in Sophiatown.

 

 

Zano Sithetho

Zano Sithetho

 

 

Your present collection of menswear has a fantastic array of colours and what I call the ‘Dapper Redefined’. Of course your fondness for the bespoke tradition can’t be ignored. Please explain your vision.

 

The whole idea behind Skorzch is to build a world class brand that creates stylish, functional and classy suits to cater for the modern gentleman who is style conscious not necessarily fashion forward. We want to focus more on the creation of a perfect suit, comfort and the image thereof.

 

 

How did you feel when you won the South Africa Fashion Week Renault Talent Search?

 

Wow… it was such an awesome feeling and an unbelievable experience. It was the realization of dreams coming true. It took me quite a few days to come to terms with my victory.

 

 

What are the next steps for you in this business?

 

I’d like to focus more on creating the perfect suit, learn more about the philosophy behind style and expanding the business.

 

 

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

 

 

How do you unwind?

 

I love singing, so I do quite a lot of that and watch Fashion TV and browse through fashion magazines.

 

What part of the day best inspires you?

 

Twilight.

 

Where do you gather your inspiration?

 

London street style, Ozwald Boateng and The Godfather Trilogy.

 

 

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

 

 

Who is the ideal ‘Skorzch’ man?

 

He is a young gentleman with a taste for the finer things in life. He goes about living in a unique, eloquent and petite way. He is very conscious about his wardrobe and understands the power of a suit.

 

 

What made you decide to focus on menswear?

 

I felt that it’s what I’m good at, but more…it excites me, I love making men look good.

 

 

How does social media play a part in your overall branding?

 

Social media serves as an engagement tool, to grow our client base and helps with brand positioning.

 

 

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

 

 

What makes the South Africa fashion scene unique?

 

The diversity in cultures, we have the contemporary designers and cultural designers and South Africa has a lot of ethnic groups with their own traditional gear, so we get designers that focus on Tshi-Venda print, wool knits for Xhosa’s prints and designers that are influenced by international trends, so all-in-all we have a variety of creativity.

 

 

What makes the South African fashion forward man unique?

 

The fashion forward man now have evolved to paying close attention to detail, the fit and combining colors. They are the first to wear trends before they hit our runways.

 

Will you be doing a collection for womenswear?

 

No.

 

 

What advice would you give to up and coming fashion designers/ designer students who are interested in following this career path?

 

Work hard and never stop believing that you can make it.

 

 

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

Skorzch Autumn/Winter 2013

 

 

What is the best advice you received that you still treasure today?

 

Don’t go big in a small town.

 

 

Now that fashion week has wrapped up, what’s next on your schedule?

 

There’s a few big things we are working on including client orders, a photo shoot with Anthony Bila and I’ve already started preparing for my next collection at SA Fashion week for next season to mention a few.

 

 

Ramp 1885.com’s mantra is to celebrate and recognize global fashion perspectives from countries and cities that aren’t traditionally on the fashion radar. With today’s global culture being so closely connected how do you feel about the current fashion savvy consumer being more aware of contributions from other parts of the world?

 

It’s beautiful in the sense that it harnesses our ability as designers to create something that’s on an international level meeting and exceeding the consumers’ expectations.

 

 

You can find Skorzch at Twitter @ZanoSkorzch ; on Facebook at: facebook.com/SkorzchByZano. And directly o his site at www.skorzch.com (under construction) but you can check out his tumblr page here: www.skorzch.tumblr.com.

 

 

Photography courtesy of South Africa Fashion Week

 

 

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