RANNULU DE ZOYSA IN SURRY HILLS
In collaboration with Australian label SABA, I’m excited to share a new series of profiles focusing on the suited men in this town and how they style their new SABA suit as their own. First up, I met with the man who designed the new collection and talked about what inspires him in life and in work.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born in Sri Lanka but I’ve been to and lived in many countries over the years. When I was a kid, I played professional table tennis and had the opportunity to travel to nearly 60 countries. I was always exposed to different cultures and different people, it was fascinating. I remember going to Tokyo when I was young and observing people with such individual style and I thought it was very cool. You never saw two guys wearing the same clothes.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN FASHION?
I cannot remember a time when I was not ever interested in fashion. I’m the youngest child with three older sisters and an older brother who were always into fashion. My brother had very extravagant taste, if he saw something he liked, he’d buy it in every colour. If I was lucky, I’d get his ‘hand me downs’ which I’d initially make small alterations to. One thing led to another and before long I was making completely new pieces out of the fabrics.
As I got older, I realised that fashion was what I truly loved; I quit table tennis and decided to pursue a career in fashion design.
Next stop was university in London where I graduated with an outstanding designer award & the opportunity to intern in New York, which lead to my first major role, at Calvin Klein.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO SYDNEY?
There is a link between relaxed Australian men’s style and contemporary men’s fashion. The workmanship and eccentricity here is celebrated, that is what I love about it. Men here have a relaxed attitude and are quite confident by nature. I love that.
WHAT IS THE NEW SABA SUIT COLLECTION ALL ABOUT?
I’m passionate about the power of simplicity. I’m all about make and fit; I believe people always need a well-cut suit that will take you where you need to go.
New SABA suits are the perfect example as they explore a sporty attitude. Our suits have been introduced in sporty colours and materials such as: bright sapphire, denim blue and materials like nano stretch Australian superfine wool. All of our suits are perfectly tailored with premium craftsmanship and come in four fits; classic fit our signature Collins suit, half canvas suit, European fit and SABA exclusive cardigan fit. They have all been designed to be worn as separates as well.
I often get my inspiration by people watching. Going to a café and just observing the people around me. This is where I got the inspiration for the ultralight cardigan jacket. Men’s clothing is practical and simple. I saw this guy wearing a denim shirt over a t-shirt and thought we could make something a little more sophisticated but still relaxed. So we came up with the ultralight cardigan fit. It’s very soft on the shoulders, ultra lightweight and is something you could wear on the weekends to go to the markets or for an evening out paired with a classic tailored trouser.
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR DOWN TIME?
I think about clothes almost all the time; it’s my passion and I love making them! At home, I have this little workshop, where I just make and build things. The other day I built a tripled folded bookshelf and pasted this huge hologram map of the world on my wall. My friends always tell me to relax and take it easy but I just like to make things, no matter what it is. It’s my way of relaxing. To each his own.