TRENDSETTERS is a new series in Nila Tamaraa Fashion that focuses on people who march to their own drumbeat. Kick-starting the series is the ebullient Yasin Denmamode, a young fashion designer, of menswear, from Mauritius.
|From Boy Groove collection. All photographs in this blogpost is courtesy BOY GROOVE|
Yasin Denmamode grew up in the beautiful island nation of Mauritius where his mother was a stylist. When Yasin was only 14, his mother decided to open a shop of her own. Since then fabrics and embroideries have been a part of Yasin’s life. “I grew up in this environment — watching and silently learning from her,” Yasin tells us from Mauritius, where he is now a young and ‘rocking-the-island’ kinda fashion designer with his own brand of clothing called BOY GROOVE.
Necessity is the mother of all inventions, might be a cliché, but in Yasin’s case, it is true to his leather soles. In September 2012, when he returned home after completing his education abroad, he met his longtime friend David Stafford. “I started complaining that I couldn’t find clothes for me here (in Mauritius),” recalls Yasin. “Everything seemed to be insipid or mass produced or both. David too had the same problem.” The duo decided to do something about it — two months later, on the 12th December 2012, they opened the doors of Boy Groove to the world. “Basically, Boy Groove started over coffee and complaints…” laughs Yasin.
Yasin is not too kind about men’s fashion in Mauritius. “Men’s fashion is highly limited here. There’s a tendency for uniformity and practicality; there’s very little creativity for menswear here.”
He and David, along with Boy Groove, plan to change all that. “People should understand that dressing up like everyone else is NOT fashion,” says Yasin who always stood out in a crowd. (Read what was written about him a few years ago HERE).
Originality is the mission statement of Boy Groove. “When anyone walks into the shop, he should be able to find at least a pair of jeans and something to go with it for an affordable price — and he should be able to be different from the masses." (At BOY GROOVE the price range is between Rs.350-1200)
The signature style of Boy Groove is a blend of Yasin’s and David’s “totally different and diametrically opposed tastes”. David is more pop - rock (think Jeremy Scott, coco Rocha and Naomi Campbell; “He swears by them, day and night.”) and Yasin is glam- chic (think Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins). Yes, Yasin’s inspirations and fashion icons are timeless WOMEN. Inspired by the warp and weave of their style he designs MENSWEAR. Now, how cool is that!
“We do get inspired (by what’s on the international fashion ramps) but we hate trends,” says Yasin. Thank god, for small mercies!
Boy Groove makes it a point to have only limited editions of all their clothing. “We never make more than five pieces of a model,” says Yasin. This season, Boy Groove is focusing on their new line of kurtas — light, airy, with embroidery and sober. The line would be out in June. By December, they are planning a Jeremy Scott inspired collection.
Ask Yasin what’s the one thing about fashion that sticks out for him and he will have you know that it is the ability of the fashion industry being the only industry which still offers possibilities to create. “And has space for originality without many constraints. New ideas, blends, fabrics and methods are always coming up. Also, for ages, fashion has been a way of changing society, helping it move forward. The fashion industry even expressed and supported some movements that have directed the course of history. It is one of the rare domains where influences of many cultures clash to give birth to beauty. All these aspects of the fashion world show that it has many faces and goals than just ‘dressing up people’.”
And in their own way, Yasin and David are making their contribution to men’s fashion in their homeland. They have cast a lil’ stone in this island nation, which is bound to have a ripple effect in times to come.
BOY GROOVE, 10, Dr.Hassen Sakir St (Ex Pagoda St), Plaine Verte, Port Louis, Mauritius.
TEL: +230 5 9710855/ 5 4733798
ON THE SIDELINE WITH Yasin Denmamode
Favourite fashion icon: The greatest fashion icon of all times is and will always be Elizabeth Taylor. She was fashion, fashion was her. She could wear everything and carry it off. In case of doubt, just overload everything with diamonds and it works. Who else would have dared so that? Whatever her look was, whatever she was wearing was instantly a hit of her personality.
Joan Collins also falls in that category, and I admire her for the same reasons. She was the one who made shoulder pads a thing in the 80’s. Without shoulder pads, vintage couldn’t exist today and it’s all due to her…
Then of course, there’s the very under-rated Elsa Schiaparelli. In a time when fashion was rather conventional, she brought the “shocking pink”; she was the first one to have a theme collection. She overturned many rules and imposed her new ones which are still being respected today. Sadly, very little credit is given to her for her contribution…
Favourite garment: My Cashmere cape, without any doubt! It goes with absolutely everything!
One piece of clothing I cannot live without: The day I lose my Courrèges-cut turquoise raincoat, I think my life would be over. I stumbled across it in a thrift shop at a time when my wardrobe was quite limited, and finding it was a sign that the situation wouldn’t last for long. It really has brought me luck!
Favourite accessory: Right now, it is my phone and its various casings.
Favourite designer: Right now, it is Ron Dutta.
One piece of fashion statement men shouldn’t shy away from: Low cut slim or skinny jeans. How come it hasn’t yet become THE modern man iconic wear?
One piece of clothing men shouldn't be caught dead in: Baggy jeans. Never, EVER, EVER, EVER wear those if you want to have your respectability intact. And forget the coloured jeans. It’s ‘has-been’ now.
Right corporate attire that is not boring would be: Classic with a touch of flashy. Once, I advised the Editor-in-chief of a newspaper to wear a black suit, white shirt, fuchsia tie and laces of his black shoes matching the tie. It worked wonders.
The right date outfit for a guy: Skinny jeans. Paired with anything ranging from a slim cut shirt with flowery prints or a body fit T-shirt. Throw on a blazer, depending on where you will be…
Current trend in men’s fashion: Cartoons and video-games characters printed on over-sized T-Shirts. THE look to sport this season.
You’d like to be born again as: Elsa Schiaparelli just to be able to impose new ideas and new trends.
For Yasin’s Native Insight on Mauritius, click here