SA Fashion week and Edcon collaborated on the Edcon Design Innovation Challenge that sparked the interest of the Fashion Community in South Africa. The runway was ablaze with the work of young talented designers like Siyavuya Roqoza who studied Fashion design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

His branded named Roq, is inspired by “culture, craft, and adventurism”. The simple designs are geared to the retail market and adds a much-needed and fresh take to menswear in South Africa. The story behind it is that “I have always ignored culture, mine specifically. However, as I continue to evolve I am beginning to understand its significance, not only to the society, but personally as well. Culture gives you the best meaning of who you are … that, therefore, influenced me to create a brand that will portray and celebrate that part of my life, linking it with a few other things I enjoy, such as craft, adventure and knowledgeability.”

He is not looking to merely fit into any industry, every designer has their story even though they’re always mindful of the consumer. His brand aims to create questions and to spark curiosity. He tries to use the most comfortable materials possible, making sure that comfort and design go hand-in-hind.

Siyavuya used quite a lot of cottons and linens with a minimal quantity of polyester in the Roq SS18 Mens collection. “The print in this collection was designed by me, it is inspired by the Xhosa geometric artwork. In quite a number of items in the collection I incorporated the Xhosa tapework with the silhouettes inspired by the Japanese culture, for example, the soft shoulders and the kimono sleeves.”

For a young designer, opportunities like this are the perfect time to not only elevate his own brand but to learn and develop from the mentors who are part of the process. He noted that apoint of growth for him was realising that anything is possible with the right research and planning.“I have learnt that the consumer is the most important person in this business. You want to build a close relationship with your end consumer in order for the business to be profitable and remain relevant.”

Photos by Henry Marsh