, , , , , , , ,

Photo’s courtesy of Jesse-leigh Elford

Today is all about a great man, a great mind, and my dearest friend.  Gavin Rajah has been my friend for so long, and we have so many good stories to tell, which, unfortunately, I can’t tell here!  I would, however, like to say happy birthday to the most gifted, hard working and loyal friend a girl could ever have.

Gavin never stops working.  If I email him at 4 in the morning, he’s likely to reply within 10 minutes.  As a proudly South African haute couture designer he has his own very busy fashion house in South Africa, he’s shown at Paris couture week, he founded Capetown Fashion Week.  His passion for the safety, protection and the overall well being of children has seen him made a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador.

He launched POSITIVE, an event geared towards raising funds for children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. POSITIVE was the first Pan-African collaboration featuring designers, artists and musicians in one singular performance headlined by international artist Seal. Gavin’s charity work has also included specially staged events furthering breast cancer research and HIV/AIDS prevention and cure.

He is passionate about empowering South African men and women who are destitute and unemployed by teaching them traditional skills such as beading, embroidery, jewellery component manufacture and tailoring.

Gavin Rajah is also a businessman who is the managing director of Gavin Rajah Concept, an event management company handling events as diverse as the world cup cricket celebrations, The Indian Premier League, concerts, and celebrity weddings.  No wonder he never sleeps.  He has a blog, a website, he twitters and the man has his own App.  Where DOES he find the time to do all this??

His interests range from socio-political theory, literature, and music (Gavin’s a WONDERFUL pianist) to esoteric psychology. He has designed jewellery collections for The Tanzanite Foundation and De Beers. We designed a swimwear collection together and both featured as designer/judges in America’s Top Model by Tyra Banks in the US. He also featured in Jodie Kidd’s reality TV programme Fashion Avenue in the UK.

A campaign we worked on together for the Tanzanite foundation with photographer Mickey Hoyle…

He was the only African to speak at the Global Fashion Conference in Milan and his paper “Creating an Identity in Fashion: Fashion’s Future?” on fashion in South Africa made headlines in the Wall Street Journal and Milano Finanza. His work has featured in international publications such as Icon, Luna, Avant Garde, Harper’s & Queen, Uomo collezioni, Donna Collezioni, London Sunday Times, London Financial Times, The Face, Donna, L’Officiel, Vogue, BBC, CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

Gavin is undoubtedly the leader of South African designers, he’s been named one of the 50 most influential people in fashion in Africa.  His brand is synonymous with ultra feminine style with a dramatic silhouette.  He loves unashamedly opulent fabrics and finishes, and his clients, in his own words:  The Rajah woman is not a wallflower but a confident and assertive woman who exudes her femininity with astute grace. Most of all she loves to exceed expectation…  His is a household name in South Africa, and he’s making waves internationally.

His work is fluid, and nobody can cut a flattering bias cut silk dress quite like Gavin. His wedding dresses…. memorable!  How lucky am I to have a friend this talented, and to get to wear his gorgeous creations!

My special day, dressed by Gavin

Well, and now for some fun pictures to remember the good times!

Our swimwear collection for Poison Ivy

A surprise birthday celebration for me, the man is obsessed with detail, love it!

Such a special friend

From the invitation to the goody bag, nothing is left to chance!

We all felt like princesses..

Showing at Paris Couture week!

Dressing the girls…

Dressing more of the girls…

We’ve partied with Snow Patrol…

Bollywood stars…

And with Cavalli…

Need I name names?

There’s been some WILD parties…

And even wilder ones….

But we always had fun..

So, happy, happy birthday Mr. Rajah, love you always, xxxG