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.