Sheria Ngowi is to Kenya what Mai Atafo is to Nigerian fashion. A bespoke suit maker who divested self of the expectations of design labels, simplified the craft and perfected the art of the bespoke suit. Ngowi however has taken it a step further by aping the Saville Row method of eschewing fashion showcases and ready to wear collections altogether for one-on-one service and a waiting list. Which is why seeing the designer as part of the Couture D’Afrique showcase at the Mercedes Benz Fashion WeeK Johannesburg showcase delights us and brings forth a lot of questions.
Is the designer abandoning his reclusive business model and embracing the fast paced world of fashion once more?
Is he shaking things up or is this merely the designer taking the opportunity and publicity a high profile event like this can/will offer him and his brand?
Whatever the reason, we’re glad to see his work on a runway again, and Ngowi is sharp as ever, offering velvet blazers and sharp cuts, contrast ties and crisp shirts, everything a great suit should have. But he also shows a softer side to his label with henley shirts with bishop collars and lapel-less jackets. The diversity is subtle, but the best work always is.
We’d wear one of his suits any day.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo