Who is LINDA MAKHANYA and why Tailored Suits are a major part of your life.
I was born and bred in Durban Umlazi, raised by my grandparents in a household where my grandfather was the kind of man who wore a suit every day. It was from his gentlemanly approach of dressing that I mustered a passion for style. Along with this came the values and wisdom which govern a gentleman and these are principles that I live by till today.
Why did you start a suit tailoring business?
Being in the fashion industry for almost 8 years now, I discovered how the physique of an African male is fundamentally different to that of an Italian or European male. Having formally worked as a Fashion Editor for men’s publications, I often found it to be a painstaking task when one needed to source clothes for our African male celebrities who had to grace the cover of our magazine. There was always an incessant need to use loads of pins to make the suits, jacket and pants fit on the male personalities and I wasn’t happy with that. I wasn’t happy that it was such a struggle to visit over 30 boutiques and still not be able to find a suit that fits perfectly especially for men who are not a model size. This is where the business opportunity of tailoring emerged from.
What makes LM TAILORED SUIT the perfect suit to fit the African Man.
Our suit tailoring service is strictly bespoke. We record about 25 body measurements, paying attention to the client’s shoulder size, the abdominal area and his jacket height. Our shoulders are high sleeve to enhance the wearer confidence; we create enough allowance in the bodice area for our clients to move freely in our suits; our jackets are longer in height which covers the client’s seat area and we prefer a slim comfortable fit rather than a skinny fit.
Your clientele includes the likes of CEO’s, Cabinet Ministers, Millionaires and Billionaires. What is it like creating suits for such influential men?
It has been greatly rewarding, and this is because I realised that men at that level of success or influence don’t have the luxury to go shopping so I had to create an environment that will save them this rare commodity—time. This also entails offering privacy and an accessible space with enough parking for their VIP protection. Our studios are situated in a Sandton Penthouse where we consult, record client measurements, understand our client’s personality and create an easy working wardrobe which ensures that they look good every day, thereby simplifying the task of thinking what to wear to their shareholder meetings in the morning and for their black tie events in the evening.
What inspired LM TAILORED Suit?
After attending several high-end weddings, I noticed that a large amount of detail is invested in the bride’s dress, which is well and good, but far less ornate designs are found on the groom’s suit and often to his detriment. My eye’s focus was always on the groom because I wanted him to look better, I would wish that he could have worn a tailored suit that fits him well instead of wearing a hired suit or wearing a suit off the rack which doesn’t begin to enhance his features. And so I created a suit that is well-fitted for the groom, for a King, because I personally believed that a groom deserved that service.
What do you think about the current state of menswear?
Globally, menswear has grown drastically and I am glad to see men all over the world being more creative in terms of their style. I like the idea of a keeping the suit classic as I believe suits are an investment; so a classic colour suit is a better investment than a trendy colour. I appreciate adding style to a look by wearing a check double-breasted waistcoat from a different cloth with a classic suit and a great pocket square. It’s important to follow trends but style is eternal and it shows over a period of time, in essence I am happy with how menswear has evolved.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Look your best every day, serve people with love and invest in your spiritual being.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
There has been several. I enjoy hearing the testimonials from some of our clients once they start wearing our suits. Most of our clients have become even more successful in their careers, experienced financial growth, gained even more confidence, they enjoy wearing suits almost every day and they appreciate our quality craftsmanship which comes with nods of approval from those around them.
Speaking of craftsmanship, how is the quality of your suit compared to other International brands.
From day one, I wanted to create a suit that I myself would want to wear and so I couldn’t compromise on our quality offerings. It was hard for most of our clients at first to believe that it’s possible for an African brand to create an amazing, quality-tailored suit, that can be on par with a TOM FORD or a Brioni suit. Not only do we make amazing quality suits but we also source the finest fabrics around the world, we use full canvas for our jackets and we offer handmade button holes.
Complete the sentence: ‘One day I’d like to be remembered for…’
Creating the most beautiful tailored suit which represents the character and personality of the African Man. I believe our men deserve the finest quality of made-to-measure suits which are on the same breath as a Zegna suit, especially because African men have worked very hard as a collective on the continent to achieve success and they deserve better than wearing a suit that was not designed for their unique body frame!
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Definitely night a night owl, I design my best suits at 2am while burning the proverbial midnight oil.