How The Threaded Man Built An Online Fashion Destination For African Men
South African Siyabonga Beyile has brought new focus to African men’s fashion through his fashion blog and fashion marketing consultancy, The Threaded Man.
Beyile, 23, is the founder and creative director of an online destination showcasing fashion. The Threaded Man also works with brands on communicating effectively with African millennials.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Beyile studied trends and garment construction at Fashion Design School & Retail Education Institute in Pretoria. It was there that he noticed a void in the fashion world. The focus tended to be on women’s fashion. No one was really paying much attention to African men’s fashion, he said.
In February 2013, he started blogging about men’s fashion. Eventually, The Threaded Man blog took on a life of its own and Beyile dropped out of school and grow his company.
Soon major brands such as H&M were reaching out to Beyile for advice on how to market to the African millennial.
Word got out about Beyile’s fashion expertise and he was appointed fashion director for the South African Music Awards and the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards.
Beyile told AFKInsider why he thinks The Threaded Man has changed African fashion forever.
AFKInsider: What prompted you to start The Threaded Man?
Siya Beyile: I started The Threaded Man because I felt that in Africa we didn’t have a platform that was formed by Africans for Africans that focused on fashion. As Africans, we depended on American or European platforms to cover fashion in Africa.
AFKInsider: How did you get into fashion?
Siyabonga Beyile: I got into fashion through starting The Threaded Man blog when I was in in my last year of school.
AFKInsider: Why the name The Threaded Man?
Siyabonga Beyile: The name was coined by my mother. She used to call me “Umfana Othungiweyo” in Zulu which translates to the Threaded Man. It is the concept that you are not just “threaded” through the clothes that you wear but also how you carry yourself. It’s the ethos of The Threaded Man.
AFKInsider: How did The Threaded Man evolve from a blog to become a consultancy agency?
Siyabonga Beyile: It was a natural evolution based on the platform being a phenomenon among African millennials. Brands saw that we can effectively communicate with this market and wanted our skills. That’s when we launched the Threaded Man Agency.
AFKInsider: What services do you offer?
Siyabonga Beyile: We offer market research and trend reporting; event concept and hosting; full production company for stills and film; styling for brands, productions, and award shows; as well as content production.
AFKInsider: How would you describe the South African fashion scene?
Siyabonga Beyile: It’s amazing and so versatile. There’s so much culture here and I hate that international media doesn’t showcase that.
AFKInsider: What challenges have you faced being a young entrepreneur in South Africa?
Siyabonga Beyile: Among the challenges we have faced include a lack of funding and brands not wanting to pay the going rate for our services. Also, clients paying extremely late is a big challenge.
AFKInsider: What are the pluses of having a small business in South Africa?
Siyabonga Beyile: The pluses of being a small business owner here in South Africa are: the market here in the South African business community is open to new ideas and spaces; the market is more agile and quick turnaround time; and it is easy to adapt to the changes in the market.
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