GQ South Africa’s new Editor-in-Chief, Molife Kumona on grooming + workwear must-haves

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Words: Hayden Horner | Images: Supplied

With over 10 years’ experience in print and digital content creation at some of SA’s more reputable fashion and lifestyle magazines, the newest editor in chief of GQ, Molife Kumona chats about workwear and grooming for men, and what works and doesn’t work under these unusual times.

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Congratulations on your new appointment as GQ Editor in Chief. What has that been like with the limitations of the pandemic, and how are you settling in?

Thank you so much for the congrats. The settling in has been quite seamless, and the team has been great and supportive. Special mention to Lesley Mathys (Group Managing and Syndication Editor) and Walter Hayward (Managing and Syndication Editor) who have been making the transition less stressful. And, of course, my boss and CEO of Conde Nast South Africa, Mbuso Khoza and Head of Finance Paul Myburgh, who have been extremely supportive. In terms of limitations, I would say not being able to travel to meet clients and prospective collaboration partners has been the main thing, but we have found ways around it. Not ideal, but we make it work.

Are you working from home and, from a fashion and grooming perspective, how much do you put into getting ready for virtual meetings?

I am working from home. In terms of grooming, it’s mostly making sure I wear something professional on top, groom my beard and have a background with great light. I also make sure my Wi-Fi network is stable.

Which fashion essentials do you feel every working man should possess?

A well-fitted formal/semi-formal shirt is great for meetings and also on those days you want to look dressed up. A great pair of comfortable jeans, one that you can dress up with a blazer and dress down with sneakers or loafers, depending on the occasion. And lastly, a pair of brogues are a must. You can wear them with anything from suits to jeans, and casual shorts. The whole idea of these three items is to make sure they are multi-functional.

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Then when it comes to grooming, which items can you not do without?

A good face wash and moisturiser. Your face will thank you for years when you get the right skincare products. It’s trial and error. I am about 80 percent there with getting the exact fit of what my facial grooming requires. Next is a great smelling cologne. Apart from making an impact when you enter a room, smelling good makes you feel good too. And then lastly great dental hygiene and lip balm should be right at the top of your daily routine. You can’t have stinky breath and ashy lips.

Do you think remote work has fuelled the casualisation of workwear?

Definitely. I do, however, think that over the years, depending on where you stay and what line of work you are in, casualisation of workwear had already started a while ago. I stay in Cape Town and, even before Covid, most people were dressed very casually in offices.

Whether in the traditional workspace or home office, men’s workwear is moving easily from Zoom meetings to outdoors. What are your thoughts on this?

Yeah, this is definitely something that is growing, I mean we have been at home for so long, so this is somewhat of something expected.

With stricter Covide-19 mask policy, is grooming still important or can we wing it?

I am guilty of winging it many times, but I maintain that grooming is still important. When you are well groomed you automatically feel better. And I am not talking OTT grooming, that has it's time. I am talking about a basic haircut, clean cut nails, moisturised skin and smelling good.

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What shopping advice do you have for men looking to revamp their work wardrobes?

Don't be afraid to try out new styles and colours. Go for fits that work for you and if needs be, you can always tailor something you buy to fit you the exact way you want it to.

How much is enough when it comes to accessorising, especially for work?

Again, depending on your industry, less is more. I love the idea of simplicity with statement pieces. An example can be a simple blazer and chinos with a fitted shirt and a statement watch. You can make this monochrome look pop with a colourful pair of sneakers.

Other than the current smart-casual work trend, what directions could men’s wear be heading in for the upcoming seasons?

I think more fitted relaxed looks than very slim fits. If you are like most of us who gained weight during lockdown, you need extra room in your clothes but also the more fitted loose-fits look better when being photographed for the Gram.

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