One of the many articles printed about Simon Rademan

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Simon Rademan - a man for all seasons

"Simon Rademan -  Man for all seasons"
about Time


  • Story by Shannon Manders

  • Photos in the original article:  Elsie Folley and Marcó Whal

A celebrated South African fashion designer, Simon Rademan’s vocation suits him down to the ground, on which he takes good care to keep his feet. Besides his obvious charm and affability, there is one characteristic that he possesses that is an indisputable asset: the man has style.

Specialising in eveningwear and wedding apparel, Simon designs enchanting garments that have graced the country’s catwalks for more than a decade. Inspired by Coco Chanel, his signature style may be described as gloriously glamorous, stylish, simple, elegant and feminine.

Simon’s newest range – his Classic Couture Collection 2007 – was recently launched at Gallagher Estate. The range is predominantly black and white, with elegant touches of blue. “Within black and white, you can see any colour,” explains Simon, “and the colour I saw was blue.” While the black and white depicts clarity, which, according to Simon refers to “how clear life is at the moment,” the blue lends itself to that which is natural and calm – his portrayal of a type of rebirth. The inspiration for the intricate beadwork and finishing of the exquisite garments Simon derived from the multitude of African cultures.

Unlike many other designers, Simon favours a more personal approach in his work and his relationship with his clients. It is for this reason that he has not launched a multitude of shops worldwide – preferring instead to satisfy the market’s need for a ‘personal touch’ to fashion design. Simon considers himself more of a ‘style co-ordinator,’ and insists that he has a “desire to do the right thing for the right person”. As such, he commits to recognising the inherent differences between the various clients he designs for, and treats each client as a unique individual with distinct requirements.

Simon was born and grew up in the small town of Ceres. Both his parents were deaf, so Simon learnt sign language before he could speak English or Afrikaans. While he confesses to being a businessman, Simon says he is not always certain that he wants to take on the role and describes himself as “slightly eccentric, though ‘together’ at the same time.”

A true testament to his eccentricity, he divulges, are the 18 pairs of identical black denims in his wardrobe. It is not surprising then, that the designer always wears black, which he does so as not to visually interfere with the colour of the garments that his clients fit. Simon appears to have taken this maxim to the extreme, as he confesses to having purposefully ‘deleted’ colour from his life – evident not only in his black wardrobe, but also in his purposeful choice of both a white house and car.

Boasting the smoothest of manners, Simon is both engaging and intriguing. His strength of character is most certainly evident in his calm temperament. Simon believes that each new day brings a fresh start, and so he ensures that every morning he is in the same mood, having forgiven any transgressions the night before.

Having been a judge for Miss SA, Mrs SA, Miss Deaf SA and other highly acclaimed beauty pageants, Simon is respected countrywide for his vast knowledge and honest opinions on fashion, beauty, style and etiquette. So much so, in fact, that he is writing a book on these very topics, which he hopes to finish early next year. Certainly knowledgeable on the subject, this rather tongue-in-cheek book will delve into all aspects of etiquette and divulge all that can and has gone wrong.

Simon highlights one of the proudest moments in his career to date, as his involvement in the 2006 Rainbow Nation Bears Banquet – where teddy bears were auctioned off to raise funds for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. Simon designed all of the “rainbow” bears’ cultural attire – each of which represented one of South Africa’s eleven official languages. The event raised a total of R408 500.

Simon fervently believes that we are currently living in the most wonderful period of fashion and he is eager to impart several style tips for summer. He points out that there is no specific item of clothing that one should own, but is adamant that outfits – including accessories – should not be too matching. Simon is convinced that the unisex style no longer exists, and that both men and women should wear their own clothes, stating that it is a veritable “no-no to put the two together.” His rather sensible advice to people is that they ought not to attempt to hide the real shape of their figures.

When asked what he would still like to achieve in his life, Simon states – in a most unassuming manner – that all his dreams have already come true. Which is entirely believable, as everything he sets his mind to achieve, he does – and in most spectacular style. A top South African designer, Simon is devoted to helping others realise that fashion really is for everyone.


© Simon Rademan Fashion Design Studio CC


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One of the many articles printed about Simon Rademan

Copyright © Simon Rademan Fashion Design Studio CC 93/15533/23