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Clyde Ray, 23, the talent behind fashion brand Gentleman Black

Clyde Ray, 23, the talent behind fashion brand Gentleman Black talks to Manuel Ntoyai about his love for fashion

Manuel Ntoyai @Manuel_Ntoyai

Talk to us about your company, Gentleman Black.

Gentleman Black is a brand that began earlier last year with two minds interested in fashion and ready to change the industry. We have split duties as each one of us has different roles to play, from marketing to sales and meeting up with clients. We also have extra hands on board for tailoring and distribution.

What’s the biggest misconception men have towards fashion?

Men try too hard. Fashion is more than just brands. Style is something that comes from within.

In recent times, we’ve seen quite a surge in suit designers. Why do you think that is?

Technology advancement is a key player. The so-called designers are present to fill the gap between tailors and clients. Gone are the days when one would go to a tailor to make an outfit and end up collecting the outfit after months.

What would you say sets your designs apart from the rest?

My outfits are unique. I ensure with each piece I focus on small details for as they say, the devil is in the detail.

Did you have any training in the world of design?

No. I am self-taught fashion designer. I have always been passionate about fashion. However, I read a lot of fashion magazines and articles to help engage my knowledge and improve my expertise.

What’s the most expensive thing in your closet?

That would have to be my Hugo Boss cologne.

What do you splurge most on?

Shoes. I am more of a shoe addict.

Where do you shop?

Everywhere and anywhere. If I come across something nice, trust me, I’ll buy it.

What advice would you give someone green to the world of suits?

Fit and fabric are key. They could mean the difference between comfort and looking like a clown. A perfect suit comes with a magical confidence.

Your line specifically caters for men. Why no interest in creating female dress pants and such?

I feel I understand more men’s wear compared to female. I would easily know what kind of suit a guy would want for a certain occasion unlike with women.

As a player in the fashion industry, what are your thoughts on the local market?

The fashion industry is steadily growing. Way back people looked at fashion as a side gig, but it has now become a business for many.

Designers you look up to?

Renowned Kenyan designer Zeddy Lukoe, Davidson Frere, Tom Ford and Sheria Ngowi. They are amazing.

One thing you can’t leave the house without?

My watch.

What’s one must-have every guy needs in their closet?

A black suit. You can have every colour on the rainbow, but if you don’t have a black one, well, you need to work on that.

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