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Q&A: BOYDE’s creative director gives us the lowdown on his award-winning work

by | Mar 26, 2021

Three years after he launched his menswear brand, Joburg-based designer Samkelo “Boyde” Xaba won South African Fashion Week’s Scouting Menswear Competition. His 2020 winning collection, in accordance with the judging criteria, illustrates that the designer reduces waste, uses low impact materials and processes, designs for longevity and for recyclability.

A graduate from Tshwane University of Technology, Samkelo gives us a sneak peek into his life and his ongoing journey as the founder and creative director of BOYDE:

Briefly tell us about yourself and your work.

Since I was a toddler, I have been obsessed with the creative arts. I am curious about clothing’s production process and the end product. One of my motivations is that I couldn’t find clothes that spoke to me or made sense for lifestyle. My design is inspired by geometric architecture, modern interior design and minimalism. My work is about sustainability, utility, functionality, low waste and longevity. I create fashion that is carefully engineered for our day-to-day living in a minimal and ethical manner while maintaining high quality throughout the production process.

What materials do you use and from where are they sourced?

I always choose my fabrics consciously, I use fabrics that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and functional for day-to-day use. I commonly use linens, bull denim, cotton twill, 100% organic natural cotton, cotton lycra, various cotton blends, wool blends, hemp and many more. My fabrics are sourced from local textiles merchants.

How did you feel when you won SAFW’s Scouting Menswear Competition?

It was an exciting moment for me yet overwhelming, and I was honoured to be a finalists amongst very talented fellow South African emerging designers: Bi Parel, Thabo Kopele, Gugu By Gugu, Maklele Farouk, and Xavier Sadan.

What does minimalism mean to you?

It’s a sustainable lifestyle, effortless yet effective. It’s about keeping things simple, focusing on what matters while maintaining and prioritising high quality.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is a popular aesthetic form of expression at a particular time and place in a specific context.

What challenges do you face in the fashion industry?

South African fashion designers have so many obstacles to overcome. The most common challenge is the lack of support. Our industry is not taken seriously and there’s hardly any form of support from government or non-government institutions. People compare designer price points with big fast fashion brands. Consumers should understand that a garment passes through many people in order for it to become a finished product and everyone involved in the garment production has to be paid.  For fashion to be cheap, someone somewhere is being abused. I am still growing my brand, figuring out how to make it work instead of complaining about it.

What is the relevance of Converse All Star shoes in your imagery and styling?

I use Converse’s OG chuck 70s – they are comfortable, versatile and functional, and complement my collection since it is about functionality, utility, versatility, workwear and sustainability.

Name three local designers who inspire you.

What are your three top sustainable living tips?

  • Buy less and care about what you do buy; be conscious about what you purchase; buy garments of good quality that are versatile and that will last.
  • Reuse and recycle your garments, don’t throw away unused garments because that leads to land and air pollution. By recycling your garments you’re more environmentally-conscious and help curb fashion’s waste.
  • Stay away from fast fashion, by supporting fast fashion you are unconsciously promoting child labour and cheap labour.

Notes and credits

  • Follow SA Fashion Week for news about their upcoming Fashion 29 April – 1 May 2021
  • Follow BOYDE on Instagram 
  • Main image by Eunice Drive for SA Fashion Week, the others supplied by BOYDE
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