An innovative KAMERS Incub8 young entrepreneur is carving out his spot in the SA men’s fashion industry. This is his story.
In December 2012, Paul Whitehead, an architecture student from Bloemfontein with a keen eye for fashion and acute entrepreneurial skills, followed an idea into a small timber workshop. This is where the first of what would become a series of authentic handcrafted timber bow ties would be created. Two years later, these bow ties found their way into a local store in Bloemfontein, and the name Major John was stamped on a box containing one of Paul’s bow ties for the first time.
Major John… the name rings with pride, and pride appropriately describes what goes into every phase of producing these bow ties.
First, recycled timber sourced from different locations all over South Africa, is cut into thin planks. Each plank gets a unique design drawn onto it. The planks are then shaped, each according to its design, and sanded by hand to create the proper finish. Deep-penetrating wax is applied for protection against stains (a handy feature for the less cultivated members of the family at dinner time). The strap and centrepiece are hand-sewn to the bow ties by a seamstress, and finally, each box is stamped with the Major John logo and a number, with which each tie can be traced back to its exact series and issue.
Major John has expanded throughout South Africa and is sold in five stores from Cape Town to Johannesburg. This week, the exciting fifth series of Major John bow ties will appear for the first time at KAMERS in Johannesburg. A special KAMERS edition, which consists of ten bow ties made from rare timber, sourced from Malawi and Namibia, will also be available.
Major John is a brand with one grand value at its centre – an uncompromising commitment towards creating individual products in a unique way. And although a bow tie seems a small object, these have managed to embody this vision entirely. A quality product and a proud accessory.