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African fashion hogs limelight at South African Menswear Week

The South African Menswear Week has come and gone. The fashion week is the only stand-alone platform dedicated to the development and promotion of menswear within the African continent, and it is held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Gilmore Tee

Zimbabwe was represented by Taf the Taylor who showcased on the first day of the show and Ara Kani (Nkululeko Ncube) who participated in the four-day static presentation.

Fashion-Week-1

The Autumn/Winter 2016 collections met some great expectations, with a few obviously losing it along the way. Most of the collections that stood out for me were not just about the theme and the fabrics used, it was about the entire production and thought behind the collection. I have my favourite collections from the fashion week, with my arts side having a lot to contribute towards the decision.

I must say, I learnt a completely different side of the fashion industry in Africa. We have a lot of individuals that can stand side-by-side with international brands and are also just as equally good. A lot of collections showcased in Cape Town had outstanding finishing, which is a great point for every designer. There is need for more open markets to promote African fashion globally.

The fact that our designers are beginning to realise that there is more to designing than using overdone and populated “African print”, is refreshing. As much as I know that Cape Town and the curators of the menswear week are internationally influenced, I went with a little perception that some of the designers would obviously produce collections using “the prints”.

I had one designer whom I thought used the African print in a clever and more subtle way, Martin Kadinda from Tanzania. I liked the way he incorporated the prints in detailing his garments and also in a more symmetrical way on the way they collaged.

My judgement of a collection is based on the production side, the styling, theme, presentation, choice of models and make up. Some of the most outstanding collections were:

Day 1
AKJP, or Adriaan Kuiters x Jodi Paulsen Collective. Their 36 look collection was the best highlight for the first day of the fashion week. I liked the fact that they incorporated women on the runway, the idea being African women ought to celebrate African men, vis-à-vis.

Day 2
Both Jenevieve Lyons and Amanda Laird Cherry, took the cup for me. I loved the detailing of their garments and the usage of shapes.

Day 3
This day was full of some of the most outstanding collections from the menswear week. Loved Mgidi Coutts, Abrantie the Gentleman and The Flame Collection by Palse Homme.

Day 4
Was properly planned with the Nigerian designers showing us why they travelled all the way to South Africa. Besides The Army Collection by Chu Suwannapha, Orange Culture, Tkyo James and Kola Kuddus, shut down the entire menswear week.

However, I was a little confused with the MaGents collection. On display prior to the show was a sign written “We all bleed the same colour”, in my mind I assumed that the collection was going to address issues of colour and also have an equally balanced representation of the message on the ramp. Instead, the whole show of MaGents featured only black male models, maybe it was my own translation on this and many signage’s painted on the models.

My take is simple, if you are going to touch on a social issue, bring them fully to the ground and openly talk about issues. Having a Mandela speech and picture displayed in a show does not bring or address issues of equality and race, we need to push it to people’s faces for them to be dealt with.

Some collections had models walking barefooted and some in shorts. Maybe the designers missed the theme Autumn/Winter Collection. Nonetheless, African fashion is the future and our designers are slaying every corner.

Gilmore Tee is an award-winning style icon/blogger/social commentator and developer. Follow his works on Twitter and Facebook: Gilmore Tee/www.gilmoretee.com

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