The men’s fashion and lifestyle maven is more than just a blogger
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Chisanga Mubanga
“I don’t care about the fame that comes with what I do,” says Siya Beyile, who is far more focused on the business side of things. In fact, what Siya does these days can’t even really be considered blogging anymore, having grown his men’s lifestyle and fashion portal into an agency where he employs a team, while still working alongside them as a stylist, consultant, model and influencer.
Coming from humble beginnings, Siya was born to a police officer father and school teacher mother in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape, and he’s quick to credit his parents as his biggest inspiration and the reason for his success.
“My parents grew up very rural, didn’t have much, and they gave their everything so that we could move to Cape Town and I could attend Wynberg Boys. They’re traditional people, and don’t really understand the creative industry, or what I do. Like, my mom knows I make money, but she doesn’t understand how. I suppose their main wish for me was always just to work hard and create a better life for myself.”
While still in high school Siya would plough through magazines, which he considered handbooks to better living – GQ and Men’s Health in particular – despite feeling that they didn’t really speak to him as a young, black man. Something was missing, and so after studying fashion at LISOF Siya started The Threaded Man.
“Growing up my mom always used to call me ‘Umfana Othungiweyo’, which in English means ‘the threaded man’ and what she meant by that is while it’s one thing to go to a good school and dress well, you still have to have manners, treat people with respect, carry yourself in a certain way… And that’s what Threaded Man is about. It’s more than fashion; it’s a way of living.
Currently trying to bring more of his culture into how he dresses and the work he does, Siya embraces his Xhosa heritage wearing the traditional beadwork that his grandmother makes for him with a suit. Same goes for how he wears his Levi's original denim, which he uses as a canvas to write his own story - simple, smart and self-expressive. And while he’s always had an interest in fashion and style, Siya credits two events that helped shape him into the man he is today.
“Wynberg Boys is a traditional boys school that prepares its boys for manhood; from how you wear your uniform to how you treat others. Then, because I’m Xhosa I went to the bush, and that’s all about transitioning into manhood. Afterwards you must dress properly and you’ll see initiates doing the top button up on their shirts, wearing long trousers and a hat. So taking these experiences I wanted to do something to inspire other men, black men in particular, about all the things I’d learned about manhood.
Despite having built his brand on tradition, the young style maven isn’t afraid of the new, and at time of interview he’s wearing jewellery in three types of gold and there are several tattoos peeking out from under the rolled up sleeves of his a Levi's chambray shirt.
“These are my badges. I’m slowly building up a sleeve. There’s an anchor to represent how people can either keep you grounded or pull you down, which is there to remind me to differentiate between the two. Then there’s a hanger for fashion, the Holy Trinity, these roman numerals are the date when my company officially became a business, air and water to represent my two favourite elements, my clan name… I love aesthetics, and if my body is a temple then I need to decorate it with the things that are important to me and that represent who I am.”
No surprises then that the daily gym goer is equally proud of his body and trains not just for health and fitness reasons, but as a way to clear his head.
“Having a good body allows you to dress better, too. I’m someone who is very aesthetically driven, and believe that certain things should look a certain way. I feel better if I look good and I look better if I feel good.”
But the guy goes deeper than just surface level appearance, and sees what he does as a way to open up the industry from within and make it more inclusive. Blogging as a way to break stereotypes and bring down barriers? You better believe it.
“I feel that fashion is very classist. At fashion week you see these cliques, like, ‘we’re the cool people and this belongs to us’, when fashion is for everyone, whether you live in Constantia or Soweto. Also, as black people we always get appropriated. I’m well educated and at the same time I know my culture to the T, so I get to experience a lot of things from living in a suburban area and then going to the rural Eastern Cape for holidays. Because I’m a mixture of both these worlds my audience is really big and there’s a lot that I’m able to share. I’m not a coconut, I’m this guy in front of you who has experienced all of these things and now wants to inspire others.”
Siya started out our interview saying how he’s not interested in the conventional blogger trappings, but surely there are some perks that the 22-year-old must enjoy, right?
“Ha-ha-ha, well, I suppose I get a lot more attention now and I’ve become one of those ‘boyfriend goals’ kind of guys, but still, I really don’t do this for the fame and if social media had to shut down I’d still be able to do what I do. Which for me is about touching lives. There are kids living in dire circumstances who look up to what I do. That’s what I care about. Showing them that anything is possible.”