Why SA Menswear Week Is Critical To Fashion
Around the world we seem to be inundated with fashion weeks, collections and showcases. It has become a full-time occupation following what is presented at each event, as the fashion aware inhabitants of the global village seek inspiration for a heightened, personal sense of style.
And South Africa is no different. SA Menswear Week, now in its fifth showing, took place earlier this month in the beautiful city of Cape Town, and the fashionista’s were out in full force. Not to mention the designers.
The Palms Lifestyle Centre in Woodstock hosted the AW17 event, now in partnership with Lexus. Designers who showcased at the two day event presented a whirlwind of styles, colours and textures. A veritable feast for the senses with much inspiration to be gleaned.
Merchants On Long
Merchants On Long hosted an invite only showing of Fundudzi Man By Craig Jacobs (FMBCJ) on the Thursday evening. Having never explored this space on Long Street, I was super keen for the experience. The fabulous wooden staircase inside Merchants On Long served as a dramatic start of the runway, as the models did their thing.
Expecting something fresh from Craig Jacobs, with his signature use of prints on items of streetwear, I was at odds as to what to wear to this event. I finally decided on a royal blue and gold bomber jacket paired with my grey wash slim-fit jeans, both from River Island. The bomber jacket has been a firm fashion favourite in recent seasons and seems due for another round of appreciation as we head into the cooler months here in South Africa.
My thinking appears to have been endorsed by Craig himself as his collection included bomber jackets and slim-fit trousers of the athleisure persuasion. Great to see his use of patterns on athleisure. Continuing with the street feel I had put together, I paired the look with these brown boots I found some time back at Edgars. The use of contrasting textures in these boots have made them trusted items in my wardrobe, which never lose appeal.
Finishing off this look I used this black and grey check shirt also from River Island which gave a hint of detail and added interest at the collar of the bomber jacket. The grey of the shirt brought the outfit together in the most sutble, yet striking way, as it continued not only the street theme but connected to my grey wash denims.
The Palms Lifestyle Centre
Back to the SA Menswear Week event. I attended the Saturday evening show held at the Palm Terrace in Woodstock, Cape Town, a new venue for the event which has now been compressed into a two-day showcase. Many designers continued to incorporate gender neutrality into their collections, imbued with clean lines for a sense of effortless cool. The use of bold, striking colours always goes down well with me, as seen by Rich Mnisi’s use of red.
Durban based Amanda Laird Cherry offered pieces incorporating checks, stripes on cropped pants and oversized shirts. A great use of textures in her pieces made for much interest and support from the crowd and a collection that will go down well in the months to come. Personally, I am happy to see us move away from slim fit in everything from shirts to pants. Good on you Amanda!
The on-going use of headwear in fashion was encouraging, as men claim a stake in their expression of style.
The remainder of the showing at SA Menswear Week saw an eclectic mix of style interpretations with designers telling fashion stories inspired by Africa. Good to see Mat Kieser, creator of Sol-Sol, rather than using models, used guys who actually wear his street-style inspired collection to walk the runway. Mat has taken the brand to international acclaim but retains his South African roots. Herewith a few shots courtesy of SDR Photo from the rest of the show.
For my outing to The Palms, I was in the mood to play with varying shades of blue and contrast my look with a mismatch of styles. The Palms is located in Woodstock, an area experiencing regeneration and which itself is an eclectic mix of old and new, with great textures on every street corner. I felt so inspired by this space that, as I drove past an old church building in Woodstock, I jumped out and held an impromptu photo shoot. See what you think of the outfit I put together.
Blue was the order of the day and in varying shades. I opted for this light blue golf tee with contrast collar, then added in these petrol blue pants (all items from River Island). To break the ensemble slightly, I added in this striped blue blazer from Edgars to introduce a further shade of blue as well as a pattern to the mix. I was most happy with the end result and knew that the only footwear that would work were my Asics trainers. Yip, you got it, in blue!
The final look was just what I was in the mood for, as I soaked up all that was SA Menswear Week. While I was at The Palms, I couldn’t help but steal a few shots of the fashionista’s gathered to experience some of the best in current South African fashion design.
So with my full SA Menswear AW17 Week under the belt, I come back to my original point. That this event is critical to fashion, not just here in South Africa, but as a global imperative. I say this because the world as we know it is in dire need of new, fresh stories. We live in a world where last season has been regurgitated beyond its feasible shelf life and a new energy is needed, especially in the fashion space. I believe the world is looking to Africa to tell these new stories, from a place deep within her roots and identity, from that place that makes her unique.
Well done to all how showed at SA Menswear Week AW17. Keep flying the flag high and sharing your stories with a world eager to listen and absorb.