Words: Aluwani Ratshiungo | Photography: Simphiwe Mkhwanazi | Assistant: Trevor Stuurman | Creative Direction: Trevor Stuurman and Dear Ribane | Design: Jana + Koos | Models: Trevor Stuurman, Manthe Ribane, Kay Kay Ribane, Tebogo Ribane, Kwena Baloyi

The Stuurman Collection had been on the pipeline for a while but it only culminated after Trevor Stuurman spent some time in KwaNdebele. The visual artist was inspired by the vibrant colours of the Ndebele culture and as soon as he came back he told Dean Pozniak from Simon and Mary about the idea and debuted the Fez hat at Pitti Uomo back in June.

“I had a long and fruitful relationship with Simon and Mary,” Trevor tells me, at the opening of his first solo exhibition, HOME, at Hazard Gallery in Maboneng. “It was a very organic collaboration because we’d always been planning on doing a collection together and with that it was just a matter of finding the right silhouette that was part of my signature, something that was modern and something that was also iconic.”

After he wore the hats in Pitti, there was a huge demand from people asking where they could buy the hat and with that they started working on production.

The Fez hats are crafted from wool felt and come in six bold colourways – red, mint, yellow, pink, blue, and black – all inspired by the Ndebele beaded bracelets.

“I was inspired by the colourways of the Ndebele bracelets. It was a matter of retranslating the culture in a different format and into an everyday wearable piece. It’s a bold hat in loud colours but it’s a modern adaptation of the beadwork. I see the hat as the bracelets.”

“I believe that hats make us taller, they make us standout in a crowd and they create an effortlessly stylish silhouette and they complete a look.”

When putting together the lookbook, Trevor decided to use stylist, Kwena Baloyi and the conceptual performance collective, Dear Ribane (Manthe Ribane, Tebogo Ribane, and Kokona Ribane).

“I found that they have this innate power to kind of create a new narrative and that’s what I wanted; something that was new and kind of elevated the look because the look is…it’s about personalising it cause some people are like ‘the hat is Muslim’ others are like ‘the hat is Nigerian’ so it was about giving it a new identity.”

“The fez hat is kind a people’s hat because it belongs to so many cultures and tribes so it’s not even bound to a culture or one religion so it’s a matter of owning it.’

The Fez hats can be purchased from The Space, which Trevor describes as “a manageable outlet for now because the distribution is country wide” but they are looking to make it more accessible especially online.