5 Fashion Qs: Nao Serati

The menswear designer specialising in athleisure and subverting traditional roles of masculinity

Nao Serati is a designer at his namesake brand, which specialises in a modern take on athleisure and pushes both gender norms and modern masculinity to brave new places. 

Youthful and rebellious, the LISOF graduate has shown his collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, South African Menswear Week and has been featured in our report on South African Designer Lookbooks and How To Wear High Fashion

We asked the exciting young designer to comment on Beyoncé's messy style, nostalgia, his style philosophy and more...

Neo Serati

1. What are your thoughts on Beyoncé’s, personal style: misunderstood or just a mess?

We need to not forget that Beyoncé is from Texas so her personal taste is questionable. Misunderstood, I think she may even misunderstand it herself. But with that said, she is an icon and these looks will go down in history books. Personally I love the mess that is her personal style, especially when she matches with little Blue. I can’t wait until the twins join the fashion wagon.

2. What type of person do you create looks for and what conversations are they engaged in?

I’m not an entirely confident person. I don’t enjoy random attention, so I design for my confident self, my Sasha Fierce. I design for the person that’s interested in living and owning their reality, whatever that may be.

3. With every Nao Serati collection that I’ve seen, there are always elements in the showcase that make me wonder what you were into as a child (looks styled with pink Wellingtons – almost like a pre-schooler, using the That’s So Raven soundtrack as a theme song etc). How much of your take on fashion is based on nostalgia?

I think it’s important as a designer to throw in real life experience into your looks. Yes, we are in an internet age, but you must find stuff from where you are and were. So yes, sometimes my mom sends me pictures of baby me and I’m like 'yasss baby Serati is dressed!!!!' And as a 24-year-old, shows like That’s So Raven and Hannah Montana shaped who I am and how I think, and will have an influence on my conversations with the world.

4. What’s your personal style philosophy?

Hahahahahaha I know I’m a designer and a stylist but I’m literally last on my list when it’s time to get dressed. But my basic philosophy is: stock your closet with great, timeless and trend-less pieces so that even if you’re having a 'I'll wear whatever is clean' moment you’ll still look great.

5. Where would you say South African fashion is headed, considering the offerings of emerging designers like yourself?

I think South African fashion is headed in a great direction where people are more interested in wearing local, and the streetwear brands are on fire right now. It’s really an exciting time to be a designer because people are willing to play and show off and show up.

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