Pocket Guide: Button Brothers

Palmer Mutandwa and Marvin Holder are the partnership behind the Australia-based tailoring service Button Brothers.
Pocket Guide: Button Brothers
Although they share a commonality in being well dressed, Palmer Mutandwa and Marvin Holder, the duo behind the Australia-based tailoring service Button Brothers, have different points of reference. “My style stems from the 1920s and thirties Harlem Renaissance,” says Marvin. “It’s more colourful and more experimental than Palmer’s. I like to push boundaries.” Palmer, on the other hand, describes his as Afro-sartorialist, drawing on classic tailoring while injecting references to his heritage. “My style was cultivated from a very young age through church and school,” Palmer says. The pair grew up on different continents — Palmer in Zimbabwe and Marvin in Trinidad and Tobago — and met in Melbourne after a mutual friend introduced them at a party. They quickly realised that their values were well aligned, and parlayed an appreciation of fine craftsmanship and exceptional style into a business. “The idea of creating and introducing artisanal pieces to a global clientele resonated with us both,” says Marvin. As well as offering style advice, the pair offer made-to-measure tailoring in collaboration with Naples-based Luca Grassia. They then take this to clients in Australia and South Africa through trunk shows, helping to spread those ideals to the far reaches of the world.
Marvin often omits neckties in favour of a patterned scarf tied loosely around the neck. This paisley scarf, which has hues of brown, deep purple and blue, was given to him by his mother and effortlessly complements navy suiting.
This beaded bracelet is actually a necklace, wrapped twice around Marvin’s wrist, which he bought from a small boutique in Maboneng in Johannesburg.
Northampton-based Crockett & Jones is one of Marvin’s favourite shoemakers, of which he has a number of pairs. “I think they’re great value shoes — well-constructed, comfortable and have great leather uppers.” These tassel loafers are crafted from chocolate brown suede, complemented by baby-blue socks.
Palmer picked out this vibrant orange and gold tie from E.G. Cappelli in Naples, with the help of owner Patrizio Cappelli. The pattern clashes subtly with his blue-candy-striped shirt and gold collar-pin, which he surreptitiously ‘borrowed’ from his mother.
This pocket-square was purchased from Rubinacci in Milan during another trip to Italy, crafted from silk and featuring an old nautical chart. “I was fortunate to meet Luca Rubinacci there, who was as jovial as he is on Instagram,” says Palmer.
According to the Akan people of southern Ghana, the cocoon is symbolic of things that are destined to remain a mystery, which is what drew Palmer to this oversized brass ring. The bracelet he wears to complement it is equally allegorical: it’s engraved with a snake climbing a raffia tree and symbolises persistence and steadfastness. Both are made by the Melbourne-based designer Ella Badu of A’Sika jewellery, who sources materials from Ghana.