We want you to be the best-dressed version of yourself,” says Taire Avbovbo, the founder and CEO of local menswear brand Odrin – based at Joburg’s 44 Stanley Avenue. “We say, ‘better dressed, effortless’, so it’s about getting you better dressed with the least amount of effort,” he continues. This said, his range of clothing may just be the answer to all your wardrobe conundrums.
A stylish and hardworking wardrobe is all about starting with a solid foundation — and that’s where Odrin comes in. “We put together our collections based on our view of the way people should build wardrobes. So there is the core — which is the basic 60% to 70% that everyone should have in their wardrobe. And then we do the layer on top, which is a bit more seasonal,” Avbovbo says.
His approach to fashion is not only smart, it’s also thoroughly considered — a rare and endearing quality in the current landscape of fast and fickle fashion. Take a pair of chinos, for example. They’re a simple and classic staple for any man’s wardrobe, but Avbovbo and his team have been developing what they consider to be the perfect pair of chinos for almost two years. From finding the perfect un-dyed, off-white fabric to choosing the right wash to ensure colour fastness — Avbovbo tweaks and refines endlessly to get to what you see on the shelf.
He frequently refers to the idea of left- and right-brain thinking, and his approach to fashion design is proof that he taps into both — a skill he got from his creative, fashion-designer mother and technical, geologist father. With a degree in engineering and an MBA to his name, Avbovbo clearly used to gravitate towards the technical, but his creative side has always had a powerful pull. After his MBA, he decided to tap into his right-brain thinking in a more meaningful way by creating products that had the modern man in mind — because, for Avbovbo, human-centred design is crucial.
“People don’t wear individual items of clothing: they wear outfits for occasions. So if you are a brand or a clothing store, you need to get people from point A to point B — get them from who they are to be the best-dressed version of themselves, with the least amount of stress. It can’t be a matter of just pressing a button, and someone hands something over to you, it needs to be emotional,” he says.
The first item of clothing you were excited to own? I was six years old, and it was a multicoloured rugby shirt that my mom bought for me.
Your style icon? Ryan Gosling: he’s a bit more edgy, but he makes it look effortless.
Best style advice you’ve ever received? Be yourself: don’t try to be someone else. Know what you like when it comes to colours and proportions.
The last item you bought and loved? A magazine on contemporary African art and design called Luxe Noir.
What are you listening to right now? A podcast called Slow Burn about US presidents getting impeached; also an NPR podcast called Left Brain, Right Brain.
Favourite restaurant? Alara in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s a concept store and restaurant that serves contemporary African cuisine.
Favourite fragrance? Tacit by Aesop.
Favourite city? New York.
- From the November edition of Wanted.