Friday, March 1, 2013

Blog Focus: Renaissance Men

South African fashion blogs tend to be built on the ideas of successful international blogs, that have been crudely adapted to fit the market further South. And while the intention behind it seems reasonable,  the coverage and focus on these half-arsed sites is incredibly disheartening. 

A camera does not The Sartorialist make. Designer goods do not a Tala Samman make either. Luckily, there is hope for the young blogosphere in South Africa, and that hope comes in the form of fashionistas like Monde Mtsi, founder of Cape Town scene pulse monitor blog, Renaissance Men.

Think of it as the blog to visit if you want to know where you should be going this weekend, and where you should have been last night, all while tempting you with news-worthy fashion line promotions. You know how far too many labels get caught up in being positively sub-standard? Monde manages to shed some light on the lines worth noticing.

Tell us more about Renaissance Men and the inspiration behind the site.

Renaissance Men is an online portal for men (and women) that focuses on providing great content related to men's fashion and grooming. Its primary focus is South African designers and brands, then African, then International of African-descent.

I don't want to isolate those looking for news about your Tom Ford's or Louis Vuitton's but there are plenty of other blogs for that. 

The inspiration behind the blog has been selfish from the beginning. It was and still is, about writing about all those things that genuinely interest me. Menswear + grooming + Africa.

You seem to have your finger on the pulse of the SA fashion scene in a big way, particularly menswear. What is your take on the evolution of the industry thus far and where you'd like to see it go?

The menswear industry in SA is coming along very well. A lot of the times you never notice any developments in an industry unless you're active in it. 

Before I started my blog I only knew of the department stores selling men's clothes and literally three designers with their own labels. Now I see all the other, smaller players who are active and providing men with alternatives to the regular mannequins we're so used to seeing. 

I would personally like to see the industry develop even further and for men in SA to support it by buying local designers and talking about them. I'd like to see more brands for men showcase at fashion weeks and would like more cooperative workshops and expos on menswear and grooming.

Does street style play a big part in your blog's focus? How so?

Street style and my blog are not exactly the best of friends. For street style to have a genuine content/interest factor it needs to be aligned with analysis and commentary on why it works, where it stems from and how one can adapt it to their own individual style. 

A lot of street style blogs I come across merely photo-blog. They don't talk you through the look and why it works and how to recreate it with your individual twist. I personally don't enjoy that kind of content development and therefore have not consider running street style posts on the blog.

Now I would call you the most in touch blogger I've ever seen, what sets the fashion scene in in Cape Town apart from the very gritty vibe that sums up Johannesburg?

Oh wow... I think there is no real benchmark to answer this question from or against. I believe what sets the two cities apart and what predominantly comes across is the fact that Cape Town has a larger European influence and there is a larger more visible community of old money. Cape Town is much smaller than Joburg so these fashion styles are evident. There's less anxiety to prove a point, we have a much more Mediterranean climate which means much more relaxed clothes and styles. 

Cape Town people also pride themselves in a less blinged-up fashion scene. A focus on tailoring, quality, comfort and less demanding brands.

 In Joburg, there's this huge hip hop genre permanently floating in the air. Girls look like they live in music videos and guys look as though they run the BET Awards. It's about a heavy punch of fashion. Also, the adrenaline rush the city constantly experiences encourages a much more aggressive consumption and expression of fashion.

Lastly, if you could wear one outfit, and have one dinner party guest before you kicked the bucket, what and who would you choose?

This is a highly unfair question. I would wear something by Stiaan Louw to dinner with Tom Ford.

I may not be a fortune teller, but with blogs like this, who needs self-portraits of mediocre styling?

images courtesy of Monde Mtsi and Renaissance Men


  1. This is a good collection for boy and men here. I would like to share you this address for more styles and color of men's clothing with high quality and cheap price. mens designer clothing.

  2. I have much crazy about to fashion-ate my self. Some time I buy the things and give them the style according to my likeness, I have prepared pretty good designs only for me.
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