I popped into view Stiaan Louw’s winter collection yesterday at his studio in Woodstock (that’s shared with Maya Prass). The collection is selling like hot cakes and in fact I was already to late to get my hands on any of the trousers but did get myself a splendid hoodie. A couple of interesting things came out of my brief chat with Stiaan. Firstly it looks like he is shifting his focus onto menswear (although it should be noted many of the items could be unisex easily) after being known mainly as a womenswear designer. This is great news for the guys as edgy local mens fashion is hard to come by in Cape Town – particularly if you’re more metrosexual than ubersexual.

The success of the collection (which has pretty much sold out a couple of days into his studio sale) really shows that he’s hit a gap in the market and that Cape Town men are willing to try something a bit bolder. The personal touch of the studio sale is also a great way to try out a new direction as Stiaan gets direct feedback and can watch the decision making process of his consumers.

The other interesting thing that stood out is the power social networking has for local designers as much of the sales have come from members of Stiaan’s winter collection Facebook group. It makes complete sense when you think about it – most designers are catering for distinct niche audiences and Facebook is great for letting these people find you and engaging with them in a very direct and visual way. Stiaan’s not the only designer to figure this out and I’d hazard to guess that more local designers have Facebook sites than actual web pages (web pages are sooo nineties any how). I should point out that when looking for new material for the blog Facebookis one my main sources of information and visuals…

Can’t wait for the summer collection!

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