Designer Showcase: Morne van der Schyff

Morne is the dashing gentleman in black with a red pocket square
I really wanted to get back to featuring some local designers on my blog mainly because there is just so much talent in the Mandela Bay Area it would be a shame not to highlight it…. This thought was at the back of my head for some time, but I realized I need to get cracking when Designer Morne van der Schyff loaded some pics on his Facebook page… We met while working on Miss Port Elizabeth, his personality makes you instantly comfortable and he is ALWAYS up for a good laugh…At Miss PE he was in charge of the back stage goings on , but he is actually an amazing designer in his own right specializing in drool worthy bespoke men’s attire  …admittedly some of his designs are a bit daring for the  jeans and t-shirt type of guy, but he does cater for “your style” so could probably turn any couch potato  into a “man about town”. I had intended to write up the following interview like an article, but I could not bring myself to add my own voice to it… Morne just has such a way with words, so here is what he had to say:
I’m Morne van der Schyff, I was born and raised in Port Elizabeth.  I’m the oldest of 3 children – I have 2 lovely and supportive sisters. I was born to the most amazing parents, who’ve supported and encouraged me to always try and do my best in whatever I set my goals on. I studied fashion design at the NNMU and graduated with 24 other classmates… me being the only guy!
I started my  clothing label and brand after working in retail, gaining valuable knowledge of store merchandising and window dressing, at Truworths and Barney’s Menswear. By doing this I learnt how to deal with various customers and building on customer relations – which has proven to stand me in good stead. Also on basics of running and managing a business. Hence Morne Originals was born.
How did it get started

I started by making occasion wear and evening dresses for family, friends and a very small client base…. by word of mouth, my business has grown over the last 12 years. I also started making men’s shirts, trousers and waistcoats for a very good friend and well respected businessman, Heinz of Heinz menswear and In-Style boutique in town. He runs a very successful hire business for as long as I can remember…
With so many designing for the fairer sex, I saw a gap in the market for couture menswear. Bespoke men’s attire, hand crafted and made to measure.

What inspires you
I’m inspired by so many things. A piece of fabric…beauty all around me, nature, the sea, a summer breeze, the hiestiness and dancing bubbles of champagne. Travels local and abroad. Smells of whiskey, flowers, a beautiful fragrance a lovely pair of shoes. Other designers and the directions they’re going in. Coffee.  A handsome man or beautiful lady. By people and their various combinations of style…I’m intrigued by the psyche of humans and can sit for hours and just stare at people passing by. Flowers and gardens with the vibrant colour combinations. The confidence and “positiveness” of a man or woman. That’s why when I first meet someone for a consultation – I sit and chat to them find out:
* what are their requirements
*  will they wear the garment again
*  what are they expecting
*  will the intended item suit them
I am always Honest and upfront with the clients as I think its important to feel comfortable with someone who is going to be creating a special piece for you. I always tell them that if they leave my studio and don’t feel that I am the right person for them. To please feel free to shop around and to call me to say that they’ve decided to go somewhere else… it’s human nature. We can’t satisfy everyone all of the time. I have certainly tried my utmost though to always have a broad smiling customer.

What totally saps you from inspiration (pet peeves)

The inability of indecisive people…not knowing what they like or want.
Trying to look like a size 0 model when they are real people with different body shapes and sizes. Models and celebrities are there for inspiration. Something or someone to aspire to – not to mimic!!!!!
People that think that you have to stop and only attend to their needs there and then.
Rude and obnoxious people. Slow drivers. People who don’t love animals.
People who live outside of reality and are self obsessed and all they think of is Me, Myself and I. Some people have too many ideas and want to put everything into 1 garment.

What would you describe your personal style as

My personal style depends on my mood when I wake up….generally very good though. I love looking and feeling good. Be it in a suit that fits well a lovely crisp cotton shirt, pocket square and sexy sexy pair of shoes… At the same time I’m very comfortable in shorts and a T with slops or sneakers.
Lately I’ve found that I love a pair of jeans that I made from stretch denim in a beautiful dark blue with bright yellow stitching detail, a collared shirt and smart shoes – that’s become my work uniform…lol! I would say that I’m a combination of old school gentleman’s club, James Bond and international man of travels…hehehe with a twist of African inspired college stud. The older I get the more comfortable I am in expressing myself through my clothing and ever changing looks…salt and pepper seems  to have matured me! At all of 40 I might add…Harvey Specter meets madmen meets the upper east side of Manhattan, a bit of James bond and a whole lot of the Hamptons.

What do you fill your days with

My days are never the same…but I am a creature of habit….
5.30 alarm – Wake up
Brew my own coffee on the stove top and cook oats
Shower shave and shampoo
Summer – morning gym session
Winter – evening gym sessions
7.30 in the office checking my diary
8.00 staff arrive and my day begins – making patterns for clients, consulting, fabric shopping and seeing clients either for fittings, measurements or consultations. If I’m busy working on shows my days are a little more hectic…in between everything I take tea, lunch and a coffee break. One has to eat a few small balanced meals a day for energy and drinks 1.5 litres of water….I try my best but sometimes its very difficult.
My staff leave at 4.30 and my day continues to about 7 pm almost every evening. I always try to be in bed by 10 pm. Rest is important! I do my best thinking in the morning before my staff arrive. Also try and make time for my Family and Friends as they are all very special and dear to me…so it really is all about balance.

What’s new?
I’m planning a men’s range soon and doing a collaboration with Dieter from Silver Spoon Clothing
Morne can be contacted on: or on facebook: Morne or

some back stage fun

Backstage with a clipboard “this is how I met him” 😉

Some “out of the box” designs

Are you man enough?

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