• We love your personally defined style. Could you describe your style philosophy?
My personal belief is that style is a manifestation of your personality. Though there are many ways in which one may appear, a gentleman is consistent with his look. He is respectful in the sense that his wardrobe is timeless, he doesn’t yield to fads but is true to his personal preference (he respects himself). Though this may seem boring (our parent’s generations with stiff collars and pale square suits), the modern gentleman is able to mould his wardrobe such that it is consistent but is still full of life, fun and dandy. Having the courage to experiment and still remain classic is something I try strive for.
• Which key pieces in your wardrobe were some of your best investments?
My key wardrobe pieces (and best investment) are the 5 fitted suits I have. All of them made by the same tailor. I believe that there are 5 basic colour of suits that can be paired with any combination of white and blue shaded shirts.
• Dark Grey
• Midnight Blue
• Flannel Grey
• Summer Grey
The most classic one is the dark grey suit; pairing this with a crisp white fitted shirt, black tie, black brogues and a white pocket square will remain timeless and will always look good. It is also possible to pair the suit jacket with a variety of chinos for a more casual look.
The other piece that I prize is an asymmetric trench coat from ZARA. The asymmetry in the lapels make the trench coat unique and its nature means that it can be paired with a healthy combination of boots, brogues, loafers, shirts, t-shirts, jeans and chinos. I think every gentleman needs a reliable trench coat.
The accessories compliment the look too. Having 2 watches (Automatic Seiko and a TAG link) and 2 different colognes (D&G The One and Blue De Channel) for causal and formal events respectively are a good idea. Cufflinks that are simple and not tacky, together with a simple tie clip is a must for me.
Finally my brown sports jacket also from ZARA can be worn in any occasion and in any season. Its functionality is something that I admire. I am also quite fond of my knitted ties and stick away from French cuffs.
• Who/ What influenced you to become conscious of the way you represented yourself to the world through your wardrobe?
There was a time in my life where I was a slave to fads and being content living in a bubble, I had no courage to want to see more of life or experience more then what I already knew. Thus my dress sense and attitude was as such; boring, bland and like all the other fish, quite predictable.
Then something happened in my life that forced me to assess whether this lifestyle was what was best for me in the long run and so I opted to change. I adopted the executive contour, got rid of my old wardrobe and started fresh. I decided to see more of the world and experience all that I could and still can. It sounds clichéd but I became the man I wanted to be during this phase. I’m glad I had that phase though, otherwise I wouldn’t appreciate who I am now and what I have accomplished.
My mother is a huge influence in my life and taught me that even though looks aren’t everything, they are the first point of assessment and consequently determine how someone’s first reactions are. A clean haircut, smelling good, manners and such etiquette were instilled in me through her.
She also taught me that just because a piece of clothing is branded doesn’t mean that it will look good or feel good. And so this is why I opt for tailored suits as opposed to branded suits.
My father on the other hand taught me to appreciate a good glass of whiskey and how it must be drunk. 2 cubes of ice, otherwise the real intended flavours and taste is lost. Some things have to be done right!
• “Clothes don’t maketh the man, but they sure maketh the man look good.” is a quote The Curator lives by. Sometimes Style and personal substance can seem mutually exclusive. What are the principles in life that you feel underpin your character as a man?
Being a gentleman is not just how you present yourself, it is also how you conduct yourself. Being respectful and having manners is something that I believe are a qualifier for the modern gentleman. Standing when a lady leaves the table or opening a door, being a good sport, being able to laugh at oneself are some examples. Thus style is a combination of appearance and self-conduction.
As such, the above are choices that individuals make, it then defines them and it then is associated with them. I think is quite sad that these qualities are no longer valued in society, if anything they are met with mockery and laughter. But when I see someone who emulates such principles, I admire and instantly recognize with them.
I also believe that it is necessary to help those that are less fortunate. This philanthropist attitude is something my mother taught me (she is an ICU specialist) and something my mentor, Adam Pantan values.
• At which point did you make the decision to dress in a considered manner which was independent from the crowd? What reaction did you receive from people?
When I changed my wardrobe and became the man I wanted to be. Some laughed (e.g. when I ask for only 2 cubes of ice with my whiskey) and I fed of it and become more confident in what I was wearing and doing, because I knew It was something that was different and not normal. It’s as though I was upsetting the natural order of things, and this still keeps me going.
There were and still are a handful of people that appreciate my personal style , and I reciprocate the same admiration towards them. These people are the people I keep close. The rest are just noise, and though I respect their opinions as to who they are, they aren’t who I want to be associated with and they will not deter me.
• Who is your ultimate style icon?
This is a tough question. It’s hard to nail one ultimate style icon (similar to my taste in music) as I admire various facets of designers and models. Guy Robinson (his D&G spring/summer 2010 hair style is what I have taken inspiration from) and David Gandy are two models I appreciate when they aren’t on campaign. Their looks are always classic, smart and very achievable. Tom Ford; I will always appreciate mainly due to the way he designs and accessories his suits.
All fashion items from the personal collection of Nikul Roshania.
Photography: Michelle Oberholzer
Interview: Ryan from The Curator – www.the-curator.co.za
Narration: Nikul Roshania