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Q&A: Floyd Avenue says an African way of life is the most eco-friendly

by | Aug 7, 2020

South African menswear designer, Floyd Manotoano creates under the label Floyd “Avenue” as a nod to the inspiration he draws from the infinite paths that make up life’s journey. The moniker also speaks to Floyd’s multi-layered design aesthetic which comes from his understanding of the fluidity of fashion which he captures in his design. Floyd is launching an online store in September with a Spring/Summer collection called UKUZIKHUPHULA.

We caught up with the designer to find out more.

Why do you call your brand Floyd Avenue?

Avenue is a descriptor of one’s life journey, the hardships, the triumphs, the love, the hate, the choice we make and the choices life makes for us and how they eventually carve out the person we were yesterday, the person we are today and the person we will be tomorrow.

Which cultural references inspire the clothing you design?

Born and bred in Soweto, I’ve enjoyed a multitude of cultures and living in this era of shared spaces through digital media allows for further cross-pollination of cultures, which is directly reflected in my work.

Are you thinking about environmental and ethical sustainability in design?

Being an African designer, by default anything I produce is ethical and sustainable for the rest of the globe. The very fabrics we use to create our amazing pieces is shit the rest of the world doesn’t want and we still turn it into gold.

What challenges do you face?

Manufacturing was a big hurdle and we’ve sorted that out. The next is consumer mindset and their understanding of micro-economics and how they can create a better quality living standard within their environment by consuming local.

As a designer, why would you want be a manufacturer too?

Being an independent manufacturer is a strategic decision, which will place my business, not the brand, at the epicentre of the textile industry. The long play is to own my whole value chain. This will see us expanding in opposite directions: retail and manufacturing.

Who are your design inspirations?

Not into brands but these are people I absolutely love for their style: Andre 3000 (rapper André Lauren Benjamin), Felipe Mazibuko, Lenny Kravitz, Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh of Art Comes First and Jimi Hendrix.

What do you think of the cultural narrative of Beyoncé’s visual album “Black Is King”?

I haven’t watched it yet, but I’ve seen a couple of snippets here and there and it looks like a great production. I think Beyoncé was very intentional about her approach to the project “work with African creatives, put on as many as possible and shine a light on amazing talent our continent has to offer” and that’s all I care about.

Top 3 eco-brands that you are following right now?

All things African. Our way of life is still the most eco-friendly in my view. We don’t produce anything more than what we need.

What’s next for you?

Our online store launching on the 1st of September. With a spring summer collection titled “UKUZIKHUPHULA” which is township slang for ‘thinking’ and the actual meaning of the word in Zulu is ‘to uplift yourself’.

 

  • Follow Floyd Avenue Apparel on Instagram 
  • Images: Supplied
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