One look at Michael Edwin and you tell he has a keen eye for fashion. He describes himself as a suit lover which drove him to take up a career in the fashion industry. His taste translates to elegant yet simple suit designs. They command attention from the entire room. Additionally, he describes his style as minimalistic and focuses on the little details when designing a suit. I caught up with him and here’s how it went.
Tell us about yourself and your brand
My name is Mike Edwin, founder and suit designer at 56 authentique. 56 authentique is also an award-winning bespoke suit brand based in Nairobi. We tailor official suits for both men and ladies. We also do wedding suits.
Why the name “56Authentique”?
Well, the number ‘56’ is random just to get you curious to ask ‘why 56’ and the authentique bit is French for the word ‘authentic’ because we tailor authentic suits.
What do you think about men’s fashion in Kenya?
Men’s fashion in Kenya is growing positively and it is a good thing that Kenyan men are finally appreciating fashion. It is a good thing that guys are actually investing in their image and are actually being stylish while at it and that is a good sign for men’s fashion in Kenya.
Why did you decide to choose fashion design as a career?
I have always had a penchant to look good when it comes to dressing. I decided to choose fashion designing as it was something that I enjoy doing so much and suit designing was what I enjoyed most. This led me to a career as a fashion designer as I didn’t want to work a day in my life, you know, do what you love… I am very passionate about fashion.
What according to you is a favourite part of being a fashion designer?
The fact that you get to meet people from different walks of life, get to interact with them, and share ideas and culture is what really fascinates me about fashion.
Who and which things were your inspiration while creating such designs?
I am mostly inspired by the elegance one finds in minimalism.
How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?
I always do that by constantly finding out what is going on in my environment. Additionally, I always try to stay ahead by coming up with new things.
What is the qualification required for a fashion designer career?
Well, in my case, it is a passion as I am an astrophysicist by profession. The passion and creativity that I have are my qualifications.
Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
I intend to make 56 Authentique the premium go-to menswear brand in Kenya with stores in the major cities in Kenya.
How do you handle stress or pressure from clients?
I always avoid this by always sticking to my timelines. Besides, with strict timekeeping, stress from clients is something you would never come across. My clients are amazing. They hardly stress me out.
How long does it take to make a suit and how much does it cost?
We usually take a week for a maximum of two suits and they range from KES 11,000.
What’s the biggest job you’ve ever done?
I did style anchors from a local tv station.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Have fun but take the business side of the business seriously.
What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
Never paying attention to timelines.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Social media has really played a positively huge role in fashion today. It has made it easier to get out work out there easily and has broadened the scope of prospective clients. Additionally, I get clients from all over the world thanks to social media. It also helps a lot with research when it comes to fashion as you can see what you are competing against.
Where are you located and where can people find you on social media?
Our fashion industry is growing every day towards delivering good quality and stylish products, support our fashion industry by buying and spreading the good word about our amazing products. Lastly, your suit collection is not complete if you don’t have a ’56’.
I’m a content writer, bibliophile and travel enthusiast. I have worked in the digital space for over 5 years which has exposed me to a variety of lifestyle topics and peeked my interests in beauty, fashion, travel and wellness.