A Fashion Revolution activist is one of the top 50 best-dressed men in South Africa. GQ magazine recognized Cyril Naicker for his sharp local and sustainable style. We asked Cyril how he keeps up with fashion while being conscious of what he buys.

When I do buy new, I need to know where the garment is made and with what fabric the garment is made. Fashion Revolution highlighted the importance of this in 2013 after the Rana Plaza collapse. We must know who made our garments and where they come from. I can confidently say that 90% of my wardrobe in locally made. I do have items made in China and other parts of the world but I feel it is important to support the local industry.

You don’t have to buy new clothing to be fashionable. I recycle what I have in my wardrobe by tailoring the pants and shirts for fits that are relevant to a season.

A good tailor will understand your look and fit. Find someone who is reliable and can offer you good advice on fabric. Tailoring affords your clothing longevity and in the age of excessive consumerism, it is great to know that you are not contributing to landfills or excessive consumerism.

I look for natural fibres – cotton mainly as it is easy to wash and it’s a breathable fabric. I love linen but it creases so easily. I avoid synthetic fabrics at all costs.

I am a huge fan of designer Mzukisi Mbane’s Imprint ZA. But, there there are so many others I support.

I often find what I like at Woolworths and Markham. But I look at the care label to see where the garment was manufactured and will buy it if it is made in South Africa.  This means I am doing my part for job creation. We have amazing clothing manufacturing companies in South Africa that are doing phenomenal work.

Durban and Cape Town used to be the textile and fashion hubs of South Africa. Sadly with job losses and factory closures, this isn’t the case anymore. I support local because I know that the designers and the workers are getting fair pay and I know that I am contributing to the industry in a positive manner.

I buy my shoes for their style. I also buy them on the basis of comfort and longevity. I mostly wear John Drake brand, made in Eddels shoe factory in my hometown, Pietermaritzburg. I also enjoy New Balance – they are doing okay when it comes to their ethical practices (they can still do a lot better) but it is a brand that fits in with what I look for in terms of comfort, style and where it is made and how.

I saw a pair of shoes recently that I wanted to buy. The price wasn’t bad – R500 – but I remembered that I had three pairs of shoes that needed mending. I took these to Barksole in Sea Point and had three pairs mended for R400. Instead of buying one pair for R500, I had three pairs repaired at R400.

My mother inspired me. I am the youngest of 4 children so I would often wore clothing that was handed down. I would watch my mother shop. She always bought quality and never shopped according to fashion. I still have clothing in my wardrobe that was bought by my mother. This speaks to the quality of the fabric and the choices she made many years ago.

When it comes to grooming, find a barber that you like and support him. I have interesting conversations with my barber and can highly recommend Sorbet Man in Green Point.

There are a wide variety of skincare products that are locally made. Environ has a good grooming range that is manufactured in Cape Town.

 Cyril’s Little Black Book:

  • Jamal at Sorbet Man, Unit SHA 05 Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village is my barber. 021 418 2261
  • I use this ethical The Good Shopping Guide for shoes
  • I take my shoes to Barksole in Sea Point. They are on 365 Main Road Sea Point / 021 434 361
  • Mzukisi Mbane’s Imprint ZA is at 17 Woodlands Rd, Woodstock, 084 802 0682
  • See more about John Drake shoes here.

Follow Cyril on Instagram @cyrilnaicker. Cyril is the chief executive of Imprint Luxury, a PR and marketing business for luxury brands.