Renner adds style to fashion

HE IS one of the most revered men's designers - and Ian Renner is especially recognised for his innovative tailoring.

The Cape Town designer is responsible for introducing swanky tailoring to the new generation of fashion seekers.

He is known to use traditional concepts in a nontraditional way. He also makes cummerbunds out of neckties, creating an accessory that can absolutely make an outfit, and describes his clothes as innovative, adventurous and "now".

Dripping with refinement and sophistication, Renner's collection of suits, coats and blazers - among other pieces - in luxurious fabrics and plush colours bring the perfect amount of panache to any man's closet.

Renner has a very unusual background for a designer. He designed his first garment at the age of 12 for a religious occasion and has been working professionally for five years.

"I didn't want wear something similar to anyone else." he recalls. "How is that for precocious?

"I had been planning for a career as a concert pianist and composer. I attended the Julliard School of Music in New York and obtained an MBA."

Renner did not go to design school. While he does not have technical skills, he employs qualified technicians.

"I believe I have a sense of style, I understand marketing, the supply chain and how to read a spreadsheet. So my unusual background seems to be working for me."

He says has always wanted a mentor and has never had one.

"No one ever said it was going to be easy. So I do a lot of research. I study my competition. I study the industry. To succeed you have to have talent, drive and guts."

Renner says he's out to change the way we view men's clothes.

"Take the standard button-down collar shirt. Why not make it out of terry cloth, which is absorbent and perfect for hot, humid weather? Take stripes. Why must they be either vertical or horizontal? I like them at an angle. It creates far more drama."

Who does he design for?

Renner says he designs for self-confident men and women who have a passion for clothing.

The 48-year-old adds that his client base is international in scope.