For a while my photographer / tech assist / husband had been talking about how cool it would be to feature a male guest on the blog and to be honest I had brushed the idea aside given that no one had really come to mind. Well, that was until i came across Palmer’s Instagram page one fine day. It had been a while since I’d seen a Zim brother ( besides Tapi) who actually took pride in his appearance. A guy who got excited about what to wear, passionate about fashion and proud of the fact that he could name a fabric, fashion era and designer at a mere glance of an outfit. As we sat down in a coffee shop for this tell all interview, he simply ordered a pot of ginger and Lemongrass tea with a tub of honey on the side…I quickly realised I was in for a quite a few “aha moments”.
Q: Who is the man behind the suit?
Palmer Mutandwa, fashion stylist, style influencer, sales and corporate strategist for fashion retailers and Founder of Button Brothers.
Q: In just a few words, how would you describe your style?
I have quite an eclectic style, which is elegant and sartorial as you can always see me sporting a wide lapel jacket, English hand-made shoes and a Fedora or Panama Hat. Although on occasion when I get bored with suits and jackets I like a BLACK androgynous, grunge style , I enjoy a few pieces by Rick Owens, Ma Julius, Ann Demeulemeester and Yohji Yamamoto…( errm who the…is Yohji Yamamoto though??)
Q: How did Button Brothers start?
After I won Fashion of The fields at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2013, myself and business partner Marvin Holder saw an evident amount of attention and interest in the styling space so we set out to take advantage and created BB.
Q: When do you think your interest in fashion began?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved fashion, but the first evident memory was when I was about ten years old and I’d always wished that I dressed like my fathers best friend Mr Smart Moyo who you’d often see rocking turtleneck sweaters with double-breasted Italian shoes and suits. ( hmm not sure how I feel about men using “double-breasted” for anything.. the word breast belongs to women…don’t mind me)
Q: What would you say you love about fashion?
I’ve never been a good public speaker and only in the past few years with practice that I have managed to hone in on the skills to fully express myself through speech. Before that, fashion was my release, now I see it as a fantastic medium to express myself and show people who I am without speaking…oh and lets face it, a well-dressed gent always gets the girls.
Q: To Those around you, family and friends, how do they feel about Palmer or the Palmer you are today?
Like every other human being out there, I’ve evolved and maybe I’ve done so faster than usual, but one thing I maintain is my personality and respect for people. To those that are close to me I’m still the same Palmer from Harare who loves and laughs hysterically.
Q: Ok, so the question on everyone’s mind. Who/what are you wearing? Take me through your outfit.
- Navy jacket – Oscar Hunt made to measure, Canali Shirt, Salvatore Ferragamo tie , Canali pants, Paul Smith socks and Loakes shoes. ( are ya’ll seeing dollar signs?? Me too)
Q: Please can you give the men out there at least five tips on how to pull off this kind of look?
- Be confident
- Be adventurous, play with colours and textures
- Research looks and trends through men’s blogs and fashion magazines. ( i promise he said that)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- And the biggest one, SPEND $$$ on clothes!!! The economy needs it. ( i promise he’s real)
Q: What is your vision for Button Brothers?
I wanna be like Steve Jobs and say BB will change the world, but that probably won’t happen although we would like to change the minds of men and elevate the standard of dressing for men in this country. ( preach) We want to help create a modern gentleman who not only dresses well but behaves in a similar manner. (amen)
Q: If you could say you live by a motto or saying…what would you say it is?
Progress over perfection. Make use of everyday and make sure you learn something new from it and also be consistent.
Well there you have it, the man behind the suit. I couldn’t resist the running commentary…Oprah wouldnt do that. That conversation could have gone on for days but the best part of that Saturday morning pot of tea was the birth of FreekA Runway. Palmer and I will be collaborating in creating FreekA Runway on the 13th of June this year . An African inspired runway production in celebration of how far we have come as Africans in the creative space. Look out for ticket sales launching on the 13th of May. I hope to see you all there! For now, here are some more shots of the man behind the suit. Mr Palmer Mutandwa.