Just Sultan is a bold accessory line, so new you may not have heard of it until now. Handcrafting his accessories in Toronto, designer Sultan Sandur has created a collection of unisex bow ties, pocket squares and lapel pins. After only six months, however, the line is already available in select boutiques, has been featured in a national ad campaign and has been worn by rapper Kardinal Offishall.
How it all began
After working for the government for four years, Sandur decided to try something different and started making flamboyant accessories for “trendsetters and daydreamers.”
Starting the line this past April, he got his break when Chrissy Newton asked him to be a contributor at the Much Music Video Awards Vocab gifting lounge. There, he met Canadian rapper, record producer and executive Offishall. “I gave Kardinal a tie, [which] he wore to the Armani party for TIFF [the Toronto International Film Festival].” Since then, Sandur’s accessories have been featured in various websites and magazines, as well as on Christopher Bates’ latest runway show. For the last six months, Sandur has been promoting, branding and managing the production of his line while working two jobs to fund it. According to him, “It’s been one heck of a ride.”
Originally from British Columbia, Sandur now lives in Toronto. Having travelled extensively, his line is inspired by the places he’s been to. Paris is one of his favourite cities: “The culture, the fashion, the people, the architecture — everywhere you look, you see something beautiful.”
Although the designer likes to use local materials as much as possible, he does source some fabrics from India and China. When his international buyers find a fabric, Sandur personally curates it. In India, his buyer will FaceTime or web chat him from the market. If Sandur is not sure about a fabric, she will send him pictures from different angles and reverse sides. “She sends me everything,” he says.
Why pocket squares, bow ties and pins then? “Anybody who knows me knows I love to accessorize. [Accessories] add depth to your look. You can change an outfit so much with just an accessory. I was always looking for fun colours and pocket squares and couldn’t find any, so I decided to make them myself.”
Unlike conventional ties, each Just Sultan piece is reversible, can be tied in up to five different ways and is designed for both men and women.
“I feel that fashion is becoming way more androgynous. [Some men are] wearing so many different things that [used to be] deemed for women. It’s just simple that women should be able to pop over and wear whatever they want as well — and they do. Especially in Toronto, you see women pushing the boundaries.”
The bow tie has its classic use, but Sandur thinks the accessory’s future is greater than just dusting it off for your cousin’s wedding. “I think that the bow tie will be the new chunky necklace.”
Sandur says fashion is not a business. “I cringe when people call [Just Sultan] my business, because I feel fashion is an art and a creative outlet.” In fact, his dream collaboration is to team up with an artist whose artwork can be transformed into fabrics for his designs. “The possibilities would be endless with the textile print, because we would be converting their art into accessories.”
Customers can look forward to different fabrics from Just Sultan’s next collection. Inspired by Charles Dickens’s coming-of-age novel Great Expectations, Sandur plans to use gingham, heavy velvets, lace, embroidery and tweeds.
As for the future: “I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of things I want to work on, but it’s just one step at a time.”