by - 9:55:00 AM

I don't want to give away to much in this post because I think the actual site is awesome and you should follow the links and check it out. But I will say I am super in love with these sunnies. Firstly they are local and yes, local is awesome! Secondly, below is a Q&A I did with Hout Coutures Craig Cameron-Mackintosh! Enjoy the info and please check out the links at the end of the interview!

Tell us about yourself?

I am one of the founders of Hout Couture. I love to get involved in all things creative - oil painting, photography, writing and film-making. I recently graduated from AFDA in Directing and Scriptwriting and I'm loving this new avenue of mixing fashion and design with business and money making. There are four other members of this young brand from all kinds of different backgrounds. Juliet is a Silwood trained chef, Brandon is a former UCT accounting student, Chris did Marketing at AAA and Aisling studied Television in Southhampton, England. 

How did Hout couture come about? 

The five members of our team are currently doing a postgrad in entrepreneurship at UCT. As part of the action-learning part of the course, we had to start a company and then design, manufacture and sell a fashion accessory. The brief for our products specified that it had to be unique to South Africa, eco-freindly and aimed at the student market. Hout Couture came about in response to this brief - we wanted to create a brand with a high-fashion feel and local flavour. 

How long have you been working on this project?

The project has been developing since February this year. The business needs to 'close down' at the end of October for the purposes of our course, but we plan on continuing with the company after that as it has shown a lot of potential for the future.

What materials do you use?

For our current range of sunglasses we are using bamboo but our aim is to explore other types of sustainable materials and other woods. Our lenses are polarized but unfortunately they had to be imported. We make up for this 'carbon footprint' by planting a tree for every pair sold through Eco-Schools projects.

Where do you see the brand going?

We see huge potential in the brand. Sunglasses are just the start but we would love to introduce other ranges of accessories made from wood. We are also constantly improving the design of our sunglasses and hope to launch a more refined, high-end range in various different styles very soon.

What is your dream for the brand?

Collaborating with local fashion designers and accessorizing their models down the runway at Fashion Week would be a great start. After that it would be exciting to launch our little South African brand to the rest of the world.

Why Sunglasses?

A pair of wayfarer sunglasses is something that can be worn by men or women, with any outfit throughout the year. Since we didn't have much time or money to launch this brand, we thought that keeping it simple to start would be best. Plus, the combination of Cape Town being such a sunny and fashionable city made the decision easier.

Favourite pair of sunglasses that you own?

My Hout Couture bamboo wayfarers of course.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I was working in Europe last year and was walking through the 'designer shopping alley' of Naples in Italy. In between all the big Italian names like Armani and Prada was a tiny little sunglasses store where an old man called me in to have a look. He showed me a handmade pair of wooden spectacles. If I had needed to wear spectacles I would've bought those ones because they were beautiful. The idea stuck with me and I thought wooden sunglasses would go down well in South Africa. Since then I've discovered American brands that are also creating wooden sunglasses, but I guess it's always good to have a bit of competition to keep us innovating.

Favourite sunglasses designer?

I love classic and understated Ferragmao designs but I own a pair of plain black D&Gs that look great on everyone who wears them.

How did you come up with the name of your brand?

Our name kind of came up by mistake. Our group had been discussing the direction we thought our sunglasses brand should go and Aisling mentioned something about 'Haute Couture', which I misheard as 'Hout Couture.' I thought it was a brilliant name for our concept as it ties in the wood and the fashion aspects and gives it a unique South African twist. 

Interview By: Natalie Leicher (Saturday Girl Sa)
Thank you to Craig for answering the questions and Pierre for the incredibly cool pictures

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