Suzaan Heyns | Acclaimed South African Fashion Designer
Suzaan Heyns is a South African fashion designer who launched the Suzaan Heyns luxury label in 2008. Since then she has won the Anglo Gold award for the ‘Most creative range’ at the Africa Fashion Week, was elected by Glamour Magazine as the Style Star for its Woman of the Year in 2011, was honoured in 2012 by the Design Indaba as “Most beautiful Object in South Africa” and in 2013 won the 16th Annual Business Day BASA Innovation Award.
My Definition Of Success | I think as one gets older the perceptions of success changes a lot. As a student starting out, the idea of success for me was to one day show at a fashion week. From there, showing at fashion weeks turned into one day owning a retail space. By slowly building a platform of stability in my career I am happy to say that success is being able to do something that I love, every day. Creative freedom is the ultimate form of success.
What Drives Me | At the beginning of every project I ask myself: have I seen this before? My drive comes from exploring the unknown. The more I think it impossible the more I want to break the boundaries. If it scares the crap out of me and I have no way of even beginning to think of how it’s going to be done, I am in. Why? Why not!
My Highlights | My approach to fashion has always been rooted more in the arts. This year I have been very fortunate to supply a collaborative piece for renowned artist Frances Goodman for her nail her exhibition at the Goodman gallery. This has been a professional and a personal highlight all in one. After always having wanted to be a sculptor, but then choosing fashion as another medium of sculpture, I find this project to have been a fulfilling way of life going full-circle.
The Difference Between good And Great | People who are good at what they do are close to personal perfection . People who are great at what they do are the risk takers, the wild cards, the savants, the ones that challenge. Often they fail but when they pick themselves up they are the ones who inspire us to be the best that we can be.
My Key Talent | I firmly believe in my gut when it comes to any aspect of the design process, something is either right or wrong. I can only ever be true to myself and my design ideals. The talent lies in understanding yourself and from there trusting yourself with a process that is an inexact science. On the odd occasion when I have been influenced by outside input it has not been as successful as I had hoped. Always go with your gut. It’s the only way.
Characteristics Of Success | I often say ‘why not’ more than I say ‘why’. Try everything once. Move on fast if it doesn’t feel right. I have never been scared. Scared to try, ask, challenge or offend. Fear of not living up to ones ideals is not the same as a motivating exhilarating fear of the unknown.
Critical Skills I Have Developed | I used to be a very shy awkward young inquisitive being. Which is all fair and well until one enters the grown up world? People skills are of vital importance, recognizing every individual for their unique skills, talents and contributions. Butch up, learn to talk but above all, learn to listen.
How I Use My Mind | I think the only way I know how – I get inspired at random intervals and start to set a pattern of thought into a certain direction. There is no formula; there is only observation and implementation.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Friends can be found in the most unlikely places, nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Never assume, don’t regret, pay attention and make mistakes.
Dealing With Doubt | Fear is a great motivator. Every single project has an element laced with fear. Will I finish, will I do it right, will they like it? Everything always tends to work out in the end. But in the thick of things one never knows. I will always embrace fear but never let it over-run me. It’s what makes us human.
To Perform At My Peak | I look and smell and hear and touch and taste everything around me.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Everything is inspiring! Being stuck in traffic and seeing how other commuters live in their bubbles of life, street vendors dancing in Brazil , mielies in the Freestate, your grandmother’s cooking. The mundane can be magnificent.
The Meaning Of Life | Do what you love and play nice with others.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Never stop asking
Advice On Building Wealth | Don’t chase riches or wealth, rather let it be the jealous lover that covets you.
Inspiring Others | I can only lead by example. If I am passionate and motivated it has a trickle-down effect. Also some fun music, a little wine and dancing never hurts as a break in between a large project with long hours.
My Role Models | Are not one specific type of person but rather the fearless who have gone against the grain to push boundaries and innovate.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | Do things for the pure unadulterated hell of it.
Useful Links |