Be. Brave. Love.
Following on from recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival victory, South African born Brisbane designer Rumay Oosthuizen gives us a glimpse of the unique boldness behind her clothing label Roux May. Oosthuizen likes to challenge and create experiences through her designs, whilst retaining the all-important qualities of humour and heart.
TGW: Tell us about the Roux May journey, including any early influences that made you want to design and make clothes.
RM: Born in a small town in the heart of South Africa’s farming community, I learned about fashion from my mother who loved to play dress-up with me. Although I found fashion to be a wonderful and gratifying form of self-expression (I spent my days looking more like a stage actress than a regular teenager), Fashion Design was not something one studied where I grew up. So, I started my working career as a mathematic teacher. I soon realized that I only had one dream, and that was to be a designer. So, with a lot of courage and some much needed encouragement from friends and loved ones I went back to being a full-time student in my mid 20’s. It was wonderfully liberating! After graduating and a one-year internship, I found myself in beautiful Brizzy and knew the time was right to start my own label.
“Although I found fashion to be a wonderful and gratifying form of self-expression, fashion design was not something one studied where I grew up.”
TGW: What, to this day, still drives you creatively?
RM: The idea that I’ve barely scratched the surface and that there is always more. So much more. More to explore. More to experience. More to grow. More to give.
TGW: We loved seeing your Be.Brave.Love collection storming down the runway at the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane. It was joyful to watch and a touch avant-garde. How important is it to you to be able to communicate these revolutionary qualities in your designs?
RM: Effectively communicating our stories is really central to the brand and our vision. Not only is the story authentically ours, it also engages people in a conversation and almost challenges them in a way that demands a response: either good or bad. Our focus is always to create an experience.
TGW: “The brand constantly and intentionally seeks to capture that which we love and loathe about our life and times, using it as inspiration…” Tell us more!
RM: The world is at once such a beautiful and tragic place. I am often profoundly moved by what happens around me and I sometimes experience the world’s sadness and joy as my own. It would be impossible for me to separate that from what I create since all my emotions, ideas and creativity comes from the same place – a heart that feels everything!
“The world is at once such a beautiful and tragic place. I am often profoundly moved by what happens around me and I sometimes experience the world’s sadness and joy as my own.”
TGW: Roux May only officially launched at the start of this year. What are your best sellers?
RM: Oh yes, our Coat Of No Arms, Victory Vest, Shake On It Polo and No Compromise Shirt look to be hot stuff!
TGW: Describe to us your own personal style.
RM: My style is quite bold, fairly androgynous and very much focused on comfort.
TGW: Who are your own favourite fashion designers and why?
RM: Agatha Ruiz de la Prada- I found her while researching ideas for my graduation range and immediately fell in love with the way she interprets even the most controversial topics in an optimistic and fun way.
“I am incredibly inspired Thom Browne’s interesting take on menswear and his clever use of shapes and proportions to elevate even the most basic piece to something unique and interesting. His exquisite tailoring also makes me go aaaah!”
TGW: You’d be enjoying the increased media interest in Roux May. What is next for you?
RM: For now, my plans are quite simple: I would like to walk past random people wearing and loving their Roux May pieces.
Shop the collection here