I recently joined the Rand Club, which holds a couple of black-tie events each year. When it came time to attend our first fancy function, the Club’s 135th-anniversary gala, Thorsten and I considered his black-tie options. He didn’t own a tux, we didn’t like the idea of renting one for one night, and Thorsten isn’t really a conventional black-tie kinda guy. We decided to turn this chore into an adventure and go to downtown Joburg for a funky, custom-made suit.
Thorsten’s friend gave him the number for his tailor, Pape Sidibè. Pape has a studio on the 6th floor of Quebec House, a building on the Smal Street Mall.
The Smal Street Mall is a pedestrian-only street lined with clothing shops, right in the middle of Joburg near the Carlton Centre. Smal Street is not for the faint of heart: it’s chaotic and confusing and you need to know downtown Joburg well, or be with someone else who does, to find your way around. Also Smal Street is a pickpocketing hot spot. But visiting the Smal Street Mall is a thrilling and frenetic experience, with music blaring from all directions and so many interesting people/things/mannequins to look at. It’s worth a trip for the serious Joburg adventurer.
Pape’s Real Disco Super Java Suit
We showed up at Pape’s with a Pinterest photo for inspiration; Pape looked at the photo and got to work. First he took Thorsten’s measurements. Then Pape walked with us to Dianna’s, an African wax print wonderland a couple of blocks down the street. Thorsten chose fabric for his suit jacket at Dianna’s, and we went next door to a shop called Kirsch and Stein to get black fabric for the trousers and trim.
We came back to Smal Street a week or two later for Thorsten’s fitting. I was so excited — definitely more excited than Thorsten was.
The suit fit perfectly so Pape just needed to add the buttons and a few other final touches. We waited around while he finished.
While we waited, Pape ordered us a delicious Senegalese lunch from a restaurant around the corner.
Pape’s Real Disco Super Java suit was a hit at the Rand Club gala, and again a few weeks later at a wedding we attended.
Pape’s Real Disco Java suit cost R4000 (about $230) including fabric, which I think is a damn good deal. Contact him at 073-486-2488.
Wow! How amazing to find that tailor. And that waxprint fabric shop! I have had many tablecloth gifts made from this material for friends overseas. Always a hit. Need to find that shop. Looks like she has an amazing range.
Yes, it’s incredible. Hot tip: You can book a fabric tour with JoburgPlaces and they’ll take you to that shop.
You guys look fantastic!!
GREAT deal on a seriously cool bespoke suit! You look great, too. And so does the bride. Very jealous of your gala!
Thank you Heather for the adventure! You are the best! xxx T
You both look great and I love the bride’s dress as well!
Yes, me too!
The tux/suit is fabulous (I LOVE that print best of all of them) and so is your dress. And the wedding gown- OMG. Is that local too? Thanks for sharing. You guys rock it (and the picture of the two of you is too cute for words)
Thanks Nancy! I think Attiya’s dress came from the US.
Love all the outfits but that jacket of Thorsten’s is just the best. I do wish that one could feel more comfortable in the Smal Street Mall such amazing shops there. I wonder if that wall frieze in Quebec House is not an Edoardo Villa piece.
That’s a very good question! It certainly looks like it.
You both look so beautiful at both events, love Thorsten’s outfit – but you, Heather look lovely in the wedding outfit, just adorable – congratulations – PS a stunning and tasteful wedding dress.
Thank you so much, Anneliese!
Spectacular. Can you send me a copy of you two on the steps?
Thanks Dad. Sure, I’ll email you.