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Tazanian Designer Brings Dapper Back To Men's Fashion

posted 4 Apr 2013, 08:03 by Mpelembe   [ updated 4 Apr 2013, 08:04 ]

He has been called East Africa's answer to Ozwald Boateng - the famed British-Ghanaian designer of imperious elegance. Tanzanian designer, Sheria Ngowi, maker of luxurious and sophisticated men's clothes blends modern trends with classic vintage looks brought out by a unique palette of bold colors.

 DAR ES SALAAMTANZANIA  (REUTERS) - Sheria Ngowi would never step out in anything less than elegantly fashionable. Style comes naturally for the Tanzanian designer and its a statement he plans to make when he launches his new store in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam later this month.

"My designs are very expensive so.. you can see the place how it will look like. I used very expensive decor," he said as he inspected the decor of his soon to opened store.

Bringing "Sheria Ngowi" - his internationally established fashion brand back home is a dream come true.

Born, Walter Thomas Ngowi, the 31-year-old designer has had a penchant for fashion all his life, but he never took it up as a profession until 2008.

While studying for a law degree in India he discovered elegant fabrics that were easily available and decided to make men's clothes in his free time.

Ngowi has over the years grown his business into a full service custom clothing brand that even provides a wardrobe planning service tailored to career and social needs with a wide variety of suits, sports jackets, pants, topcoats and shirts.

"Most of my customers are high class customers and I have only 100 of them so far... but each one of them, they can order 10... five suits. So and men's suits range from 800 dollars and above, and I have a suit which is even 2,000 dollars a suit," Ngowi said.

Critics have compared him to British-Ghanaian designer, Ozwald Boateng.

The Tanzanian says his fixation with detail and quality are what make him a cut different from the rest, and why his big-spending customers always come back.

"In my design I mostly just... I just, look mostly for the fabrics then the more the fabrics become expensive the more the suit becomes good and expensive as well. If you go for the cheap, even the cut and stitching of the suit will look cheap. So for me I am just targeting high quality fabric, Italian fabrics and British fabrics, so those are the fabrics which I know they are the best in any cut and anyone who will buy the suit from me I know 100 percent, I have the guarantee the suit will last for long," he said.

Ngowi's style blends vintage classics and modern trends that make use of bold colors and clean lines.

In 2011, he was featured in men's magazine, GQ's Italy edition.

When it comes to professional inspiration, Ngowi says he looks up to Gucci's Tom Ford, Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren and Boateng.

But Ngowi says greatest fashion influence was his father, a stylish man who wore suspenders instead of belts. His second collection, launched in 2009 - "the year of the Gentleman" was an ode to his father's passion for fashion.

His brother and business mentor, Haki Ngowi, says Sheria has had his eye on fashion since he was very young.

"In all the years that our father was alive until his death, Ngowi was the one who taught him how to dress and fashion. So I have been depending on him to advise me on what to wear. He is the one who tells us "this is in, this is what to wear to work"," Haki said.

The Sheria Ngowi label is now available online on an interactive platform that give customers the option to put together their own look from a wide selection of cuts and styles available on the website.

With a client-base that spans from the US, Europe and Australia, Ngowi says he wants to redefine men's style in Tanzania.

He has just concluded a fashion line for the hugely popular national football team, "Taifa Stars", a project he said he was honoured to take on.

"I am speechless... seriously because I never dreamt that one day I will dress anything concerning my country, but I was dreaming of being the best designer so for me in another way it was not a very big shock as well," he said.

Ngowi's Dar es Salaam store will also include women's designs. In 2011 he designed a collection for Miss Tanzania that confirmed him as one of Africa's more versatile designers, able to do both men and women's wear with much ease.