Hello lovely people. Today we have an innovative self taught brand owner from Swaziland called Sgonia. He is the founder of the Sgonian Republik [SR] brand that specialises in urban contemporary clothing . I was quite interested in this brand because of the quality and time taken to develop the SR concept. I can see it being an African Hollistar or Abercrombie & Fitch.
Let's talk to Sgonia :
Otherwise known as Sgonia, I am a 20-something years old Swazi fashion creative, self-taught marketing, branding, brand architecture and management fundi who runs Swaziland’s foremost urban contemporary chic lifestyle clothing brand, SGONIAN REPUBLIK [SR].
Tell us about your brand?
As slightly hinted on above, SR is an urban contemporary chic lifestyle clothing brand, with a catalogue that strikes a careful balance between his and her made-to-measure-strictly-on-order and ready-to-wear sartorial necessities, from your basic round-neck t-shirt up to that finely cut and tailored dresses and so forth.
What makes your brand unique?
Besides the inimitable attention to detail we always invest in every garment we tailor, as executed upon some of the finest quality fabrics around by some of Swaziland’s finest fabric artisans, there is that persistent obsession to give all SR connoisseurs [present and prospective] garments they can be proud to own and don every day, an end we always strive to achieve by tailoring clothes that will emphasise and celebrate one’s personality through obviously, what they wear, in quality. This way of doing things is thanks mostly to one of our guiding philosophies; “Dressing the personality, and not not the person.”
inspired you to start your brand?
It was a balanced love for entrepreneurship and fashion, both seeds planted in me by my Mom, she, through the family’s low-scale enterprises she initiated, taught me most business basics and there planted the lovely seed of entrepreneurship, and then growing up from there, to the fore came the love for fashion, which was sparked mostly by an in-born creativity I believe.
So, in essence fashion proved itself to be the most ideal medium through which I could burn up thise entrepreneurship calories and beyond this, reliably prove itself as thee most ideal means through which I could share my style and fashion opinions with the world through every niceness SR avails to the world.
Which industry icons do you admire and why?
The two Italian gentlemen Giorgio Armani and Brunello Cucinelli, there’s also the great Tom Ford alongside Ralph Lauren and ultimately, Lapo Elkann [a grand-son to the late great Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli].
The WHY is simply, courtesy of their incomparible mastery of their trades, their levels of artistry as can be seen and properly appreciated through everything they share with the world through each garment they give out, line after line. And with Lapo Elkann, it’s the things he does style-wise, consistently defying convention towards a proper establishment and appreciation of his person brand and his entrepreneurial and corporate accomplishments at his age inspired me since the day I knew there was Lapo Elkann.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start their own brand?
Essentially, first define why you want to do it? And for whom do you want to do it? These two premises, answered honestly should form the basis on which you move ahead to produce and retail whatever you want to retail through the brand you want to start.
Once you have started that brand, ask yourself, how your brand is going to be different from all those in the market? And how you are going to achieve that distinction? As you proceed to produce, do not produce stuff you saw in another brand’s line, always remember that a brand is like an individual, hence a need for distinct distinction in it and all the rudiments and nuances that define it, down to the smallest detail.
Then from there, but importantly do not compete with anyone in the industry, unless it’s again yourself towards beating your previous best. Follow your guts, shut your ears to the voices of the detractors, or better yet, let whatever negatives fired your hustle’s way fuel your hustles, because, honestly, sometimes our environments and those around our hustle can be too harsh at times.
What inspires your creative processes, like what influences your work, from the conception of whatever idea up to delivery?
Primarily, my creative processes have always been, so I believe influenced by end-products that'll do their bit in defying convention, sartorial or otherwise. I believe creativity, especially in this trade is about innovation and tailoring garments that will spark a pride in anyone wearing them, a feat that can only be achieved by tailoring and delivering the different, and not just the ordinary different, but the different that celebrates the individual in their space, and this can only be achieved through a flawless attention to detail in the client and their garment, this drives the creative processes at SR in a major way, always have and always will, gets even better if an order is delivered and received with a smile. This is just almost about it.
Where can our readers buy your stuff?Currently, SR retails exclusively at Swaziland’s only Swazi brands-only emporium, Cherry-N, as situated at Summer place Shopping Centre, just past Manzini Police Station, Shop#.11, but to those who aren't anywhere near this point, we have the brand’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SGONIANREPUBLIK?fref=ts through which one can also get a visual tour of all our catalogues, through the page we are also always happy to address any inquiries, take orders and all issues SR, these can also be forwarded to email@example.com. Otherwise, we are in the process of availing an even more comprehensive online medium through which SR stuff can be purchased.
Well I love Sgonia's ideas and I have learned something valuable from this interview. My personal favourite is the tartan dress. I want ^_^. I truly believe we will be hearing and seeing great things from his brand SR.