Ruald Rheeder gives men`s fashion hope.
“It’s an amazing feeling to transform fabric into something spectacular that you would want to wear. I have always been fascinated with clothing, especially the design and production part of it,” says Ruald Rheeder about his profession.
At 27, Rheeder is primarily associated with men’s fashion that’s sophisticated and modern. But that’s all he’s known his entire life. While growing up, Rheeder was surrounded by fashion thanks to his family’s clothing business in the Western Cape. That’s how he uncovered a passion for design. He also gained great insight into the industry and how it works.
After completing a Public Relations course at Cape Town University of Technology, Rheeder entered the retail industry as a Truworths’ fashion buyer, focusing on formal menswear. That experience gave him further insight into men’s fashion. He stepped away from the buying aspect and took a six-month break. During that time he applied for a design position within YDE. The YDE exposure proved to be a career-defining move for Rheeder whose collection was stocked in 19 stores nationally. A year of designing under the YDE banner rewarded Rheeder with a coveted title: Most Promising New Designer Award in 2011.
He quickly followed that accolade up by launching his eponymous line. But no one could have predicted how quickly his career would progress, landing him a slot at Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week.
Choosing menswear, he notes, is simple and personal: it’s like he is designing clothes for his wardrobe. And, a gap in the market, he adds.
“The Ruald Rheeded man is sophisticated and confident,” he reflects. And, the spring/summer 2012 collection showcases all of that and more, with a selection of hues complimenting the season. The collection was themed ‘Summers of the World’, and showcased a lot of bright hues in tailored suits with two toned jacket. Shorts and sweaters with bowties featured too. The preppy appeal also included check shirts and coats teamed with drop-crotch pants.
“Our African continent served as inspiration. A recent summer holiday in Europe also opened up more colour. The different tones of yellow and red in both sunrise and sunset are remarkable, juxtaposed against shades of the blue sky and ocean, not forgetting the luscious green meadow against a backdrop of an earthy toned mountain scape,” he says.
But, to keep things interesting, Rheeder also used Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week to launch his women’s line. He did that because of his desire to expand his reach. The women’s line uses chiffon, silk and lace. Gowns feature peplum, sequin and low-waist design detail, and swimwear is an added extra.
So how would he sum up his Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week experience? “The preparation process was intense with many sleepless nights. There was a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and fear. It’s always so hard to put your feelings and passion out there for others to see and judge. But the show was a huge success and the stress was well worth it.”
His biggest challenge… “My biggest goal is to bring fashion to everyone.” But, it needs to be a quality product with an affordable price tag, says Rheeder.
He has learnt that… You should follow your heart and dreams. If you really want to, you can!
His top designer is… Tom Ford. “I love his design aesthetic and interpretation of trends. Tom Ford himself is a true example of what every man can look like.”
He’d love to dress… The Beckhams. “They are fashion icons.”
His next move is… “Expanding abroad.”