Art and Design

Chic shirts that are right on the button

Zaza Motha

The bluecollarwhitecollar brand is about distinctively designed shirts that draw inspiration from the past.

Hot under the collar: Stylish shirts on sale at the blue–collarwhitecollar store in Rosebank. (Madelene Cronjé)

Owned by award-winning fashion designer Paul van der Spuy and clothing and textile industry specialist Adrian Heneke, the store carries blue-collar (industrial worker) and white-collar (office worker, evening) shirts in cottons and linens.

Said Heneke: “There is no great message, no specific target market — just clothing that makes the wearer feel good and look stylish.

“I love the timeless style and quality of old garments — the attention to detail and faultless finish.

“I use this philosophy in our clothing. Our garments are not governed by fashion trends but are about a classic style with quirky details.”

The “quirky” is evident in the retro prints — moose, eagles and forests, curved cuffs with triple-angled buttonholes and pointed shapes at the back of the collars.

The first bluecollarwhitecollar store was launched on Kloof Street, Cape Town, in 2008, followed by the Johannesburg store in Rosebank in 2010. They also sell at the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein on Saturdays and at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town’s industrial neighbourhood of Woodstock.

The range includes T-shirts, retro board shorts and tailored women’s shirts.

The beautifully crafted shirts include 15 stitches an inch whereas the conventional shirt has 12. Semi-bespoke shirts — based on existing styles but tailored to fit according to individual requirements and taste — are also available.

Said Van der Spuy: “We have a large selection of unique fabrics and trim details, which will give an individual look to each shirt.”

Heneke was selling his one-off ties at Greenmarket Square when he met Van der Spuy. That was in 1991.

“We connected instantly,” said Heneke. “The magic in our friendship was awesome and it never stopped”.

Van der Spuy learned the basics of his craft working with Indian tailors in Durban in 1974. He went on to found and co-own Carducci, Frank B Ernest and Wylde Oscar.

Heneke, who was general manager at Wylde Oscar for Van der Spuy, created the Carducci brand for the House of Monatic and co-owned a tie business with Young Designers Emporium.

When Wylde Oscar was sold, the duo parted ways for a while, but reunited when they realised they worked best together and had the same vision.

“We felt that no one was catering to a man’s need for unique limited clothing at a good price.”

Even the catchy brand name, bluecollarwhitecollar, was chosen for how it played up to their different, yet complementary styles.

Said Van der Spuy: “Adrian is the more practical, serious business partner and loves golf (very white collar) and I am more eccentric and creative (blue collar) driven by passion, colour and style. It’s a perfect combination.”

Visit bluecollarwhitecollar.co.za or call 021 426 1921

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