The Threaded Man

“Looking out for the everyday African man”

Picture by ALESSIO LA RUFFA

Pictures by ALESSIO LA RUFFATHE 

THE growth of the men’s fashion market is slowly outpacing that
of womenswear.  market is slowly outpacing that of womenswear. And with the inaugural SA Menswear Week (SAMW) taking place in the city next month, Cape Town is joining the likes of London, Milan and Paris in giving this fast-developing facet of fashion the attention it deserves.

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Siyabonga Beyile, founder and creative director of menswear fashion portal The
Threaded Man, says it’s about time menswear took centre stage in South
Africa. Joburg-based Beyile is one of a handful of young people in the country who have
managed to create a platform promoting local menswear designers. Only 21, his opinion is already well respected within fashion circles, and it’s no surprise he has been roped in as a media partner for SAMW. The Threaded Man will live stream all the runway shows.

“SAMW is so critical for SA because it’s giving menswear designers an opportunity to showcase their work on a platform that is dedicated to them. It will also serve as an indicator of where menswear currently stands in SA, and what tools we need to put in place in order for the industry to grow,” says Beyile.

“In Africa as a whole, we do not have locally grown men’s fashion and lifestyle publications that encourage growth in menswear. The ones that we have focus more on international expensive brands that most men can’t afford,” he says.

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“The Threaded Man is for the everyday African man who wants to be stylish and most of our content can be bought at your nearest store. We support local designers and also challenge them when we feel that their concepts are not executed well enough for the African consumer,” says Beyile.

The portal, which was relaunched in October, is followed by thousands of people.
Its Instagram account has over 3 000 followers.

“Looking at Africa and the social issues that we are facing, I saw an opportunity to
use fashion as a vessel for change – to better men on our continent. Being a Threaded Man is much more than being stylish. It’s also about how the man carries himself and how he treats others, especially women,” he says.

“The 21st century woman seeks a Threaded Man who understands that she
can follow her dreams and that her sex doesn’t stand in the way of what she wants to achieve,” Beyile explains. Having grown up in Cape Town, Beyile says that attending Wynberg Boys’ High School moulded his love affair with
fashion.

“The school prides itself on tradition and for the first two week you get put
through activities to earn your blazer. Once you earn your blazer there is a ceremony
to welcome you into the brotherhood. When I received my blazer my parents started calling me The Threaded Man… not only do the threads I wear make the man but also my actions in society,” says Beyile, as he explains the origins of his portal’s name.

However, it was studying at Joburg’s LISOF Fashion School that gave him the
necessary knowledge to venture into the cyberspace world.

“I didn’t want to be like other bloggers, I really wanted my blogspot to have depth
and credibility. I remember telling my peers that my blog would grow to become an influential part of African men’s fashion and they laughed,” says Beyile.

He counts editor-in-chief of American Vogue Anna Wintour as one of his biggest
fashion influences. “She understands the importance and the message behind what she is doing. With my portal I apply the same logic: that there is meaning behind everything
that we are doing and its importance to African fashion and culture.”

Chelsea boots, printed shirts, rings and oversized coats are Beyile’s current fashion
obsessions. His favourite local brands at the moment include 2014 AFI Fastrack winner Oath by Rich Mnisi, Mute by Jenevieve Lyons and Crowe by Dale
Strime.

“The designers are brilliant. Every season I am inspired by different factors that
affect my style. Last year I was all about deconstructed minimalism and this year I am all about the 80s rock movement,” he says.

Beyile’s international favourites include designers Tom Ford and Christopher
Bailey of Burberry. At the moment he says he can’t live without his white and black V-neck Tshirts.

He explains that Joburg’s current street style is inspired by Gothic Samurai
and the Sartorialist movement that was engineered by New York fashion photographer
Scott Schuman.
“Street style in my city (Joburg) is a bit frustrating because everyone is trying to
be different but they all end up looking the same,” he laments.

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“As with other bloggers who have a strong social media presence, posting pictures
daily on his social media accounts is key to growing his following…”

“Being a Threaded Man is much more than being stylish. It’s also about how the man carries himself”

REFRESHING CHANGE: Nothing can curb Siyabonga Beyile’s enthusiasm when it comes to dress sense.
Siyabonga Beyile’s style tips
●Always keep it simple and well fitted.
●When on a date, always keep it clean
with a crisp white, short-sleeve shirt, a
good pair of jeans and a pair of formal
shoes.
●For the office, keep it casual, yet
tailored. Brogues are your go-to shoes
for any smart or casual look, wear
them with slim-fitting jeans and shirt.
A thin tie and fitted blazer will complete
the look.
●For a night out, wear a nice pair of
sneakers, such as Airmax or All Stars,
with ripped jeans. Add a nice tee with a
leather jacket for that edgy look.

“My life with The Threaded Man has given me influence and access. There’s nothing more frustrating to have a vision and not have the tools to execute.”

Although one will rarely see pictures of Beyile with a smile on his face, he says he
is a hopeless romantic.

“I love the idea and concept of love. It is a motivator for some of the greatest songs, movies, art and novels,” he says.

Beyile’s plans for the year includes collaborating with designers from
across Africa and seeing more of the world.

“Right now I am doing what I consider my dream job. I am a creative director and a shareholder in a company that was my brainchild,” he says.

His advice to emerging bloggers is: “Stay true to yourself as most new bloggers
try to chase the lifestyle they perceive comes from blogging and don’t focus on the craft of what they are doing.

“Also, do your research. Like in any
other business, it’s important that you find a market for the product you are trying
to create.”

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Beyile says that although receiving freebies is nice, he carefully chooses the
brands he associates with.
“I do get free clothes and gifts from brands, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the brand will be featured on my portal. It’s important to have integrity because the brands I feature on the site have to be tolerable of my target market.

“Also, because The Threaded Man is a business, we charge a fee for custom features
and shoots. Free clothes don’t pay the bills.”

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on January 22 2015.

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