Some of the many articles printed about Simon Rademan

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"My stylish life"
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Article by Gareth Coetzee, photo by Lisa Hnatowicz

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Simon Rademan's designs have been worn by some of the most popular celebrities in the country.   We visited the guru at his home in Brooklyn to discuss his stylish life and get advice about how to look amazing.

His designs have donned the covers of many a magazine and his two decades spent in the industry has won him popularity and respect worldwide. Now, Simon Rademan continues to do his magic from his home in Brooklyn and feels that he still has a lot to offer.

Since my early days I have become an excellent trend-spotter and now know what to take from fashion to make it work for the individual.   "I now have so many qualities to offer", says Mr Rademan.

My experiences up until now have also helped give me a much broader understanding of fashion and people. I still bring this wisdom and knowledge to the industry today.

The thing is, fashion in general does not have a long lifespan; something is only in fashion when worn for the first time, then it becomes `so last year' the second time you wear it and the third time, vintage. So I find this fact a great reason to continue designing and innovating.

I approach each individual differently. It is in this way that I am inspired to innovate further. No two clients are alike. This individuality moves mountains for me. Each `like' and `dislike' a client might have creates a brand new vision, and I thrive on the honesty a future bride shares with me. I have a great sense of responsibility and understand that once a client has given us a framework of what her needs are, our primary goal is to provide her with a unique custom-made garment.

 If I am given the freedom to experiment and explore looks then there are a few things I make sure never to forget: Perfect pattern making and fit, never over design, emphasize the good, acknowledge the figure, dress within age groups.

Over the year's I have noticed that fashion is influenced by what is happening in the world. When Aids was discovered garments became more conservative. During World War 2 garment design had a uniform look and during global warming most design is approached from a more 'green' angle.

One of the things I have enjoyed the most over the years are those moments somewhere during the design process, either sketching, pattern making, shopping for the right fabric, fittings, accessorising and styling, the client gets a look in her eyes and often a slight tilt of the head that says to me `I love what you're giving me.' That is one thing that has heated the ground on which I walk.

When it comes to my own fashion though, I have a very real style that is simple and unimposing. This helps me to stay focused on the designs I am busy with. I wear only black and I love jeans. I have countless pairs and they are all the same fit. They range from unopened, worn once, worn a few times and worn through. A brand new pair of Levi's, I will wear with a formal jacket and know one would realise I am wearing denims. Although this helps to keep the perspective on my clients, I also do it simply because I can.

I buy all my jeans and shirts locally but shoes and ties and jackets I buy from all over the world. I am known for spending a fortune on one single pair of shoes, mainly Van Gills and Salvatore Ferregamo among others.

I believe that figures should no be concealed and instead their facets enhanced through design and fit and I have no exceptions in my case. I often have my friends dress me for an occasion but they must include denim and black. My one trait I would always look to compliment are my expressive, playful eyes.

When I'm not designing I spend time at my home, which is a very eclectic, stylish and comfortable place, feeding my ducks, plan my next dinner party and sleep when I can. I also paint, study law, travel and spend some time gardening.

 

Other than that I love to enjoy a lovely bottle of Chardonney at a local restaurant. I support any restaurant that has white table clothes, any day.

I wake up every morning with the belief that this is the first day to the rest of my life and as I get older I realise that more and more it is about others. I live in a world, surrounded by massive egos. I nurture them and when they're happy, I am happy.

Favourites

* Designer -John Galliano from Dior. His vision is vast, his imagination enigmatic and his custom made fits: extraordinary. Up-and-comer - The best in the business is undoubtedly my Protege, Niko Grobler who has a gift of waving a wand of transformation.

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Simon Rademan Fashion Design Studio CC

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