Ridwan graduated this year having undertaken the BSC in Product Design and Innovation before going on to study an MA in Interior Design.
Did you always plan to start your own clothing line?
Although I’ve got various hobbies, drawing and designing stand out as my favourites. From still life to random visuals, I have always scribbled on any available canvas. I did however, tend to display minimalism in all my designs and always believed less is more, function is the aim and aesthetics is paramount. I started gaining interest in clothing design as a Student Rep. in college. I came up with various designs to be sold on occasions but sadly I was not given the opportunity to see them manufactured, I had to leave for further studies. In 2009, I created a virtual electronics company, Mannix Knight (Mannix being my unused middle name), for a University project. This project was to be a product/design sales proposal to an imaginary company. Little did I know this company would exist soon after my academic years.
After completion of my Maters degree, I was left with a few months before graduation. These served as my days of actualisation, discovering what I wanted to accomplish. One morning, I came up with a few designs intended for t-shirts and showed them to a few colleagues. They seemed very impressed, gave positive feedback and wanted me to manufacture these items for them. They did not mind paying to have these designs so I immediately spotted a venture, devoted some time and invested in my ideas.
Are their any clothing lines that inspired you to take on your own?
I could say I was self-inspired but I do have a secret. I shouldn’t be saying this but I look up to Mr. Dunkerton and Holder (SuperGroup) as role models and will be working with them in the future! I admire their hard work and their process behind the magnification of a small scale clothing brand to an International must have, in a short period of time.
Has the line been successful financially yet?
Mannix Knight clothing only begun production early this year and I am impressed with the way things have turned out. I still intend to use my academic degrees to pursue a profession as a Product Designer and an Innovator. This certainly does not mean Mannix Knight will be no more, it has just begun and has a lot of potentials in the near future.
How do you plan to grow your business?
Unlike any other clothing brand, we aim to get rid of the stigma associated with urban clothing and merge urban with elegance. Our plan on how we will achieve this could be seen manifesting in our existing products.
What advise would you give to any students seeking a similar career path?
Firstly, dream! Only with your dream can you accomplish. Do not disregard any creative ideas you might have. Put it down on paper, even if it doesn’t make any sense now, it will later.
Complete your studies if you can. Not only would you benefit from education, you will also meet wonderful people in your path of doing so. Creating a network is more crucial than you think.
Coming to UoP was the best decision I made. It has not only helped me in establishing a reliable network of people, it had helped me discover my potentials made me aware of opportunities the world has to offer.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Absolutely no regrets, life’s lessons only increase wisdom.