Is it enough to promote menswear development within South Africa when the designs themselves are constantly mundane, with only rare surprises that raise ones interest about as high as an eyebrow can arch? Honestly, I’m arguing with the voices in my head, but I think the correct answer is “Yes”; Making the bi-annual South African Menswear Week a fashion circuit necessity.
The event markets itself as a “world-class platform for menswear designers and brands to showcase”, and the organizers goal has manifested itself as cultivating innovation, trends, production and designer promotion. After attending Day 1, I have to say that I could see the many ways in which SA Menswear Week is still in its infancy.
Upon arrival at the Cape Town Stadium where the event was to commence, signage to where attendees were to go, was non-existent. I spent 15 minutes being redirected wrong by the designated guides outside the premises, and had to strut about in heels till I found my way with fellow disgruntled attendees. The red carpet upon entry was nice – it’s always cool when you can use the #RedCarpet tag on Instagram as if you’re Hollywood’s finest.
I wont even mention the cocktail bar and catering debacles, because the attendees had an interesting street style gauge running from really normal to “I may be your next Pinterest post”. The disappointment I generally felt for the effort put in was curtailed by individuals like model Xander Pratt, actress Bonnie Mbuli, Style Africa MD Roshan Isaacs, and the many men and woman who slayed all comers with the detailing in their outfits – their fabric and color choices being the markers of their exquisite taste.
I didn’t have the initial rise to attend the event till the weekend before when my trusty fashion network abhorred the very idea of me catching up on sleep, as opposed to sampling menswear somewhere drafty for an entire week. Shout-out to Kerry of the PR&Communication team who accommodated a blogger on such short notice. With my media accreditation and tickets sorted, I barely had enough time to worry about what to wear because the ever-awesome Ruff Tung team gave your girl the hook-up.
For Day 1 I rocked the Ruff Tung’s mini pleat one shoulder gown in black and white, available online at Spree. I felt absolutely regal and comfortable in the long and flowing folds of this elegant black number.
I recon the catwalk Fall collections for Menswear 2016 Day 1 were, at best – the comforting palate cleansers for next season; and at worst? They are boring and redundant for men’s style in this new year.
Black Dog’s offering reminded me of Kanye West’s wardrobe Circa 2015 with his enviable collection of wool jerseys.
Dicker’s offerings were good if they are for swimwear. The designer straddled Moschino’s designer loudness with loud garage rock throughout the show , clean lines in the clothing, bold and tongue-in-cheek statement prints, and pastel color choices. The highlight of the show being the toxicly vibrant lime-dyed ngunu hide 2-piece that ended the show.
Pilgrim Clothing ZA had a show delay, which did not endear them to me at all, but I liked the premise of their show – including the design and showcase reference to culture and tradition in regions of rural South Africa. Siviwe James’s traditional aesthetic was most intriguing in the detailing that edged the hems of pants and shirts. I got a very particularly worded email from the designer who wished for me to “really dig deep, flesh out and research the true meaning of my clothing”, and I’ll endeavor to do that despite the fact that ones initial opinion upon seeing a collection usually remains steadfast.
Nao Serati made me think of London blokes who want a little color in their street style. I liked the poofy jerseys and tops, and the jean wrap tops which reminded me of Enrica MasVI’s inaugural collection.
Taf the Taylor had very generic designs with good geometric pattern details in Jamaica’s most synonymous colors of green, yellow and red. For all intents and purposes, Maxivive would be judged as delivering a very unimaginative collection…except they gave such wonderfully vibrant colors; and their raincoat designs were so long and quality-laden as to remind me of Norwegian Rain‘s celebrated rain coats. Martin Kadinda had a pretty solid Fall collection – the archetypal dreariness of Autumn/Winter muted by the acidic, saturated tones siphoned from the rural plains of Africa’s landscape. If Van Gogh had a color palette for an African Sunny Day painting, it would be the color spectrum of this collection.
Other highlights of the night include AKJP, Adriaan Kuiters and X Jody Paulsen.
Cant wait to see what Day 2 offers…perhaps I’ll not tire to easily of every little thing that irks me.