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A perfect 10

  • Published at 04:00 pm June 13th, 2018
  • Last updated at 04:08 pm June 13th, 2018

Samuel Hoque celebrates a decade in the fashion scene

The stark white walls put all the focus on the racks of clothes hanging around the Style Sanctum – just how Samuel Hoque wants it.  On the eve of his Eid-ul-Fitr 2018 collection reveal, the menswear maverick is a mass of nerves and caffeinated energy, obsessing over seemingly trivial things like room temperature, the sequence in which the clothes are displayed. It is this attention to (“obsession, darling, call it what it is” he chastises me) detail that translates into his work and makes Samuel Hoque’s work memorable.

This year marks his tenth in the industry, a fact that might surprise those who are used to being bombarded with milestone announcements from other brands. The reclusive designer has managed to avoid the spotlight, eschewing interviews when he can, and focusing on his work. Comparisons and competition don’t faze him; if you see him flustered, it’s usually because he’s already thinking of his next collection and anxious to move forward.

“I don’t care about what others are doing…it’s irrelevant to me. I am all about my skill; developing it constantly, and bringing it forward”

And when Samuel moves forward, it can result in some amazing things. We’re talking about the man who first thought to create satin-backed kotis in T-shirt fabric – the “T-Cos”, as he called them. He topped that with full formal wear ensembles such as sherwanis and kotis in hard-to-cut fabrics like muslin and jamdani, which he debuted on the ramp during festival season in 2016, shattering stereotypes about certain fabrics being too feminine for men to wear.

Similarly, his most recent offering, the Remix Collection as part of his A/W18 line for the UK end of his business, offered fabulous arrays of bomber jackets in silk and chiffon, trench coats in jamdani, just to name a few.

For Eid this year, he’s chosen to unveil a prêt-a-porter line “It’s Ready” alongside his couture collection, to cater to the fashion needs of students and corporate newbies on a tight budget, or even people stuck with a long list of gifts to buy. These are reasonably priced kurtas and long shirts, all bearing the Samuel Hoque killer cuts.

Couture connoisseurs needn’t worry, the signature Eid-ul-Fitr 2018 line is also stocked with amazing offers. There’s a nifty new waistcoat called the “Gunflap”, which has a flappy panel with some clever peek-a-boo print moments, and zipper detailing, which is inspired by the jackets worn by cowboys in spaghetti westerns. Joining the ranks of his experiments with Bangladeshi textile traditions is muslin in hand-stitched nakshi kantha, a real labour of love, and available in super limited quantities. The kurtas and long shirts all come in crisp, organic cotton, as a nod to the weather, and here Sam peacocks his background in textile design with his signature prints.

As always, those who want a unique SH experience can avail of the bespoke services available at the Sanctum.

Sam's Secrets

The designer has a few pearls of wisdom for the style conscious

  • Hygiene is everything – “Shower regularly. Invest in deodorant; it doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as you smell clean. There’s no point in wearing nice clothes if you’re going to scrimp on hygiene”
  • Have fun with your clothes – Samuel doesn’t have much patience for people who think menswear is limited in scope. “Mix, match and play, yaar! You can take a koti and wear it with a band collar tee and jeans – especially if it’s an SH koti [laughs]. Experiment and find your own style.”
  • Experiment with colour–A visit to the Style Sanctum will always reveal a riot of colour- soothing pastels for warmer seasons, and bright, jewel tones for cooler weather. The designer is a big believer of letting colour make a statement instead of pulling out the bells and whistles.
  • If you must splurge, spend on good denim and a quality pair of sandals –“But a pedicure is mandatory before you take the sandals out for a ride,” he adds.
  • Whatever the occasion, keep it simple, clean and refined – “That’s the SH way!”