Meet Gavin Rajah, icon, trendsetter, celebrity and connoisseur of the finer things in life. After all its Just Luxe!
Featured in such esteemed publications as L’Officiel, Milano Finanza, icon, Luna, Avant Garde, Harper’s & Queen, Uomo Collezioni, London Sunday Times, London Financial Times, The Face, Donna, Citizen K, BBC, CNN, Vogue (Italy) and the Los Angeles Times. It would be difficult to describe the achievements and scope of what he’s done in just a few words. And to say that Gavin Rajah has broken barriers would be an understatement, he has smashed them.
Though he is well known and loved as a fashion designer his accomplishments across various industries has made Gavin a giant in South Africa.
What he has achieved over the course of his illustrious career makes our eyes water:
- Curated an exhibition on Traditional Art and Crafts in the US for Steven Spielberg and received worldwide coverage for the various empowerment groups that exhibited their work. His interests range from socio-political theory to esoteric psychology. He is engaged in ‘CEO’ activism.
- The only African to speak at the Global Luxury Goods Conference in Milan and his paper on “Creating an Identity in Design: South Africa the future of fashion?” made headlines in the Wall St Journal and Milano Finanza.
- Successfully mentored various designers and 3 of the 4 young designers he took under his wing in 2007 have now become firmly established as brands both in SA and abroad: (David Tlale, Craig Jacobs, Thula Sindi & Thabani Mavundla). He single-handedly found the sponsorship for this programme and largely funded this via his business as at that stage their was no support from the private sector.This was a turning point in the landscape of South African business for it was the first time that black creative professionals gained recognition by local and international media. He continues to work with young talent as a mentor and gives them the opportunity to train in his studio in Cape Town.
- Conceptualised and initiated POSI+IVE for Sun International, the largest Pan African collaboration of art, fashion and music; an event which aims at raising money for HIV/AIDS causes. This event has attracted the support of artists such as Seal, John Legend and Kelly Rowland to name a few.
- Appointed a UNICEF Ambassador by the United Nations for the work he has done to uplift the lives of vulnerable communities in South Africa thus joining the ranks of Roger Federer, Shakira, Ricky Martin and Angelique Kidjo in working for children’s causes.
- Listed as one of the top 40 most influential leaders in the country by FinWeek.
- Recipient of the Designer of the Year Award for 2009 and named by Vogue (Italia) in Jan 2013 as one of 31 designers to watch around the world.
- Branched out into corporate identity development, interiors and luxury amenities under his own brand name. He is also a consultant to numerous companies on design concept for hotels, spas and restaurants and is fast becoming known as a “concept specialist”.
- Developed product ranges for various entities and is involved in the development of homeware products using local artisans and craftsmanship that range from candles to tea.
- Conceptualised the SA Designer Collections, Cape Town Fashion Week and the Cape Town Flower Show.
- Served on the Advisory Board for the Cape Town Routes Unlimited on Conventions and Incentives and the Events Advisory Board, the legislative body that is responsible for the tourism and marketing of the Western Cape
- In 2005 he sold a 60% stake in his event business to MIH Holdings in order to pursue his passion – bespoke projects, thus selling his shares in CT Fashion Week and CT Flower Show which he founded. He has consulted to numerous cities in the formation of their fashion weeks (Dubai, Stockholm, Shanghai).
- Established a catering company with the Bukhara Group.
With a range of clients from Nike, Investec, Banque Rothschild,De Beers, AngloGold Ashanti, Distell, BMW, Sun International, HSBC, Tommy Hilfiger, Jaguar, Glaceau, One&Only to name just a few, Gavin has earned a reputation in the industry second to none. He prides himself in associating with only the best in the industry and delivers above expectation.Today Gavin’s work is largely based on creative direction, design in any industry, marketing strategy and product development with a strong focus on social development. His clients extend into Africa, Middle East, China and a large part of Europe.
With such a lauded resume we had to just had to get to know more about the man behind the Gavin Rajah brand:
- What did you want to be as a child – Musician
- Which SA celebrity/ies do you think are the most influential – I only count influence to be something that can foster positive change or bring relief to a situation/community – it’s not based on self aggrandisement, posing to be ‘mentors’ or chasing ‘likes’. So no one comes to mind really other then people like Thuli Madonsela, Magda Wierzycka and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and off course there will always be Madiba!
- What projects are you currently working on – Creating new home fragrances and a lounge/wellness/sleep collection.
- What item in your closet do you wear the most – My cotton knit Hanro lounge pants.
- What is on your bookshelf – At the moment:The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee and Creativity, Inc, by Ed Catmull
- Best advice you’ve ever been given – “focus on your own shit and deaden the noises around you”
- What brings you the greatest joy – Creating stuff
- Describe yourself in one word – Maverick
- What was the last gift you gave someone – A book – ‘Sleep Revolution’ by Ariana Huffington
- If you were a fabric what would it be and why? – Silk because I am known for using the best fabrics