It's been a couple of months since one of our favorite top SA designers Nicholas Coutts passed on. If you know of his work, you would know that Nicholas was awe inspiring.
H e participated in Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives programme, showcased at AFI Cape Town Fashion Week and produced a range of interiors for The Guild Group. GLAMOUR spoke to him earlier this year about staying true to yourself and his future collection.
At what stage did you feel that fashion design was your true path?
My creativity was sparked from an early age. I started sketching designs and reworking garments when I was a teen. Fashion and design became my main focus from then on, that’s why I dropped out of high school to pursue it as my career.
What are your preferred fabrics to work with?
Tactile and sustainable fabrics are always first choice. I also love creating my own hand-woven fabrics.
When creating your own textures and textiles, what inspires you?
It’s a process of inspiration. Usually a certain texture or surface design sparks my interest and then I take it further. I like my work to be a combination of unusual surfaces combined with beautifully-handcrafted detail.
As a seasoned name in fashion, what’s your biggest highlight so far?
Undoubtedly, collaborating on a collection with my good friend and designer Lukhanyo Mdingi, which showcased at Pitti Uomo – a fashion trade show in Florence, Italy – in 2016. And attending the Tranoï trade show in Paris, France, in January.
What advice can you give to aspiring local designers?
If this is truly your calling, then don’t give up. Continue pushing and creating your best work possible. And don’t be referential to other designers – don’t imitate others.
What do you feel is lacking in the African fashion industry?
Business opportunities, the lack of raw materials to work with and basic skills training.
What challenges have you faced within the SA fashion industry?
Sourcing of suitable materials, and a lack of interest in high fashion in SA, especially from consumers.
What are your thoughts on creating gender-fluid garments?
It’s essential in this time and age.
Looking ahead, what inspires you about Africa and the fashion industry as a whole?
The variety of creative talent that Africa has to offer is huge, and African fashion is breaking the mould, as it’s driven by young designers who are experimental and take risks to create a diverse aesthetic.
What can we look forward to this season from your brand?
Exploration into new fabrics, and a more sophisticated and classic look.
Nicholas passed away in May this year.