A man is only as good as the suit he has on his back. The quintessential uniform of the modern day gentleman, a well-tailored suit is the ultimate fashion statement — and practically a second skin. The man behind Kimono Kollection, Hakeem Balogun has got the “style meets comfort” thing down pat. As we await his runway showcase at Lagos Bridal Fashion week, we speak with Hakeem Balogun, the bespoke tailor favoured by African stars and the elite, on the cardinal rules for a well-fitted suit, his new collection and what to expect at Lagos Bridal Fashion Week.
Q1: Congratulations on an amazing showcase at ARISE Fashion Week. Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
Hakeem: The collection galvanised a generation of moods inspired by the Millennials resurgence for the good old times in menswear fashion, the self-expressive collection parades the Our Man as more Individual than narcissistic, neatly hemmed with a youthquake of cool.
Q2: Do you design with a certain type of groom in mind?
Hakeem: With each man comes a different personality, a different story and of course a different form, and what we love to do with our “Weddings by Kimono Kollection” label is to be inspired and to celebrate all men without bias.
Q3: Three words that describe the Kimono Kollection groom?
Hakeem: The Kimono Kollection man is polished, He’s very keen on details and of course possesses a one of a kind impeccable taste.
Q4: What do you think are the most important things a groom should consider when they’re choosing their suit?
Hakeem: Every groom should take note of what we love to call the Important fives .
The Brand. The Budget. The Suit Fabrication. The Fit and Finishing.
Q5: What top mistakes do men make when buying a suit?
Hakeem: One of the biggest mistakes men make with picking the right suit is when tightness is often mistaken for perfect fit. No suit should choke so much that you can’t breathe.
Q6: Men do not always pay attention to the way they dress. Give some advice to men – How should they dress to be stylish?
Hakeem: Goodbye to those days when men paid little or no regards to their appearance, we are more conscious these days but to men who consider it vulgar, kindly invest in wardrobe staples, that’s always a good start for the man. ( a classic shirt in white and another in black, a pair of denim that fit, a well-tailored kaftan, a good pair of brogues or oxfords, and a complete black suit or a navy blue blazer)
Q7: What are your proudest moments workwise?
Hakeem: Every moment we create is one to be grateful for cause it comes with different moods which we archive our experience. But I must say showing our AW18 Collection at Arise Magazine Fashion Week was pretty much humbling for my team and me.
Q8: If there was an opportunity to collaborate with another design house or retail brand, who would be your choice and why?
Hakeem: A collaboration with Tzar I will consider cause I find his aesthetic very interesting and it appeals to a different market entirely, creating a shirt feat with TM Lewin or Thomas Pink would be surreal, a leather collaboration with Ferragamo or Prada would be a dream come true and Being stocked at Mr Porter or Farfetch or Thread would be the cherry on the icing.
Q9: How do you feel about showcasing at Lagos Bridal Fashion Week
Hakeem: We are ecstatic and humbled to be showing and sharing our second fashion narrative at the Lagos Bridal Week. It’s a feeling I won’t get over and an experience worth noting.
Q10: What should we expect from your runway showcase at LBFW?
Hakeem: Timeless Style with a more contemporary take on tailoring also minimalist yet dipped in an elaborate array on the art of suiting.
Q11: What trends or themes influenced the design of your new collection?
Hakeem: You can’t have experienced the lagos party and business scene and not be inspired by everything and everyone in it.
Q12: What are your thoughts on the future of fashion?
Hakeem: There is no such thing as the future of fashion. Let’s not forget it’s all recycled and living in the present. Straying away from philosophy, it is calming that Nigerians are starting to believe and move with the vibe of proudly wearing Nigerian Garments.