Designer Kat van Duinen launches men’s accessories range
Traditionally known for creating luxury, ready-to-wear women’s fashion collections and accessories, designer Kat van Duinen recently launched a premium men’s accessories range that continues her proud use of ethically-sourced leathers as well as impeccable craftsmanship and timeless design.
Underpinned by a minimalistic aesthetic, accented by vibrant African influences, the men’s accessories range showcases Van Duinen’s unwavering attention to design detail, yet also pays homage to Africa by highlighting its uniqueness. “This is where design was born, and the love of beautiful clothing and accessories is deeply part of African heritage,” says Van Duinen.
“The range has been designed for a modern man that appreciates style, quality and the finer things in life,” adds Van Duinen. “From a briefcase for the office to a duffel bag for a weekend away, there’s something for every man and every occasion.”
The men’s accessories range – as well as other Kat van Duinen garments and accessories – are available to purchase online as well as at the Kat Van Duinen Premium Boutique in the Silo District, V&A Waterfront, and Kat Van Duinen Essentials Boutique in the Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock.
At its heart the Kat van Duinen brand is proudly South African, guided by a commitment to nurture local artisans and industry, as well as to source materials, whenever possible, from within this rich, eclectic country. Closely intertwined lies the label’s faithfulness to premium, authentic materials to promise the ultimate in quality and luxury; from genuine exotic leathers to natural-fibre textiles.
“I believe in a well-curated, quality wardrobe that is not brimming with trend-based pieces, but rather carefully filled with garments and accessories that are timeless and versatile, and that will be passed down from generation to generation,” adds Van Duinen.
After relocating to Cape Town from Europe, Polish designer Van Duinen’s passion for effortless elegance saw the birth of her eponymous label in Cape Town in 2010. The label has since grown to become an iconic fusion of her European heritage and love for the richness of South Africa; a place she now calls home. What began solely as a luxury leather brand quickly grew into a fashion house that evolved to offer ready-to-wear garment collections as well as couture to private clients.
Van Duinen believes that South Africa and Africa at large is still a gold mine for designers. “I look forward to being part of the rise of African luxury fashion. So far, for me, it’s been an exciting and exhilarating journey,” says Van Duinen.
RUAN: You are well known for creating luxury, ready to wear women’s fashion collections and accessories where would you say your inspiration come from?
KAT: My inspiration comes from this beautiful continent and its people, art and lifestyle. I am very interested in investigating what is best for certain occasions and situations – therefore my stories take me and my audience places.
RUAN: I am beyond excited you are launching a men’s accessories range, what is the reason behind it and why did you decide to only launch it now?
KAT: I feel I have been approaching more and more the unisex aesthetic in the past few years – slowly releasing styles than could apply to both men and women.
The contemporary design is very much gender fluid, therefore it was only a natural extension to our already existing fields of expertise.
Men are wonderful customers. Very informed and independent in their purchases. I am extremely pleased to welcome more of the male audience in our boutiques.
RUAN: What kind of man would you say you are designing for?
KAT: I design for people who are confident, sophisticated, fearless in their ways of living. Who make informed decisions, who seek non-mainstream things, who enjoy beautiful objects, who don’t see art and design as luxury but necessity.
Those who go for the real thing, who don’t mimic, don’t follow,…
RUAN: Why would you say it is the right time for launching your men’s range?
KAT: (lol) Is there ever a right time for anything?
RUAN: You have shown us there is no stopping you! What are your next few plans that you have up your sleeve?
KAT: Thank you for the lovely complement… Very much appreciate your kind words.
Next on my list – definitely swimwear and active wear… Some wonderful collaborations with local talent, some smaller bags, some much needed new beginnings…
RUAN: We have so many aspiring youth who would love to create collections as you have. Do you have any inspiring words of wisdom for them?
KAT: Hard work beats talent would definitely be one of those things… Also work for someone else first, it will spare you some heartache…
RUAN: Do you believe South African Designers have what it takes to make it on the international platform?
KAT: I think every designer is different some people have it all, some have a long journey ahead…
South African industry representatives have definitely more obstacles to overcome than their fellow creatives from abroad – to name a few – exchange rates, availability of materials, equipment, educational programs, mentorship, governmental support, point of reference…
The list goes on. In the same time for every disadvantage there is an opportunity. Sometimes instead of seeking international approval one should assure one can deliver locally.
RUAN: Looking back over the past few years and growing your brand to the house hold name it has become today, what would your hashtag be right now?
KAT: (lol) I have two hashtags – one is #katvanduinen the other one is #nobodycaresworkharder.
Get in touch with Kat Van Duinen on the following social media handles.
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Diaan de Beer and Mike Rose