Top African designers will be displaying their SS16 collections at the South Africa Menswear Week.

Fundudzi

Fundudzi picture by SDR Photo 

Leading  African designers will be displaying their wares on and off the catwalk at the second South African Menswear Week (SAMW), the only menswearfocused fashion platform in Africa showcasing homegrown spring/summer (SS16) collections.

Over 28 African designers, including fashion labels from Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola, will present their SS16 collections from July 2 to 4 at the Cape Town Stadium. The designers who will present their creations in over 18 shows include FMBCJ by Craig Jacobs, Nguni Shades, Maxhosa by Laduma, Imprint by
Mzukisi Mbane, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Rich Mnisi and Projecto Mental from Angola.

Following a successful inaugural affair in February, one of the event’s organiser Simon Deiner says the event will feature a selection of new talent, as well as leaders of modern African design such as Laduma Ngxokolo and Orange Culture.

“SA Menswear Week is all about educating consumers to the sheer availability, quality, and design of local menswear against imported brands,” says Deiner.

“The focus of the event is to put viable, locally-made designs at the forefront of consumers… showing them that it is available, cost-effective and a real option.

“The shows will feature the best male models and world-class show production. We are excited about new elements, such as a trends presentation by Nicola Cooper, the young designers and the intern up-skilling programme, and things such as MAC and ghd showcasing the latest grooming trends,” says Deiner.

I spoke to three designers about their SS16 collections for the SAMW.

Jenevieve Lyons. Pic by SDR Photos.

Jenevieve Lyons. Pic by SDR Photos.

Jenevieve Lyons Cape Town-based designer

Tell us about your SS16 collection? Named Alabaster SS16, the collection draws on the minimal side of the brand with a clever use of print, texture and details. Zipped insets offer a morphed metamorphism on some garments, as well as extended lengths or shortened lengths as desired. While drawstrings tie the hoods to the anoraks, ribbing seams together sweater tops.

An interest is shown in sheer poly-cotton long length tees and shirts that are layered under and over garments. The collection sports a “warmer” colour palette – taking on the tonal values of granite: dark burnt orange, khaki, tobacco, toasted colours paired with cool whites, suited printed thick satins and seamen neoprenes – bonded and unbound. The materials were selected as they complement the season, lead themselves to interpreting different shapes and add texture as well as tonal values.

Jenevieve Lyons. By SDR Photos

Jenevieve Lyons. By SDR Photos

What was the inspiration behind the designs? Alabaster takes inspiration from the fine-grained texture found within golden brown granite, with often sparks of milky white texture in between. It is of this texture that a print was born that is emphasised throughout the collection. The collection speaks to the spring/summer season linking onto the misty sprigs of spring, with the use of smart minimal light layering and double and single layered anorak throughout.

How would you describe your collection in four words? Textured, minimal, tonal, and layered.

When and how did you first fall in love with fashion design? At a young age I fell in love with collecting “un-beautiful” and strange things; which then developed into a process of sketching these objects/ideas in different ways. I became interested in following a career in fashion as I saw it as a way to take my sketches to an actual tangible state and give them a functional purpose.

Describe the person you are designing for? Fashion-forward and fashion-conscious consumers.

Jenevieve Lyons by SDR Photo

Jenevieve Lyons by SDR Photo

The best spring/summer must-haves? An anorak.

What sets your brand apart from the others? The aesthetic that the brand carries: conceptual minimalism – garments are often built three dimensionally: inwards and outwards and the process of the brand reinterpreting the runway collections into prêt-a-porter ready to wear.

If you had the choice of all designers in the world to work with/for, who would that be?
This is a tough one. I’d choose to collaborate with a young upcoming designer such as Korean designer Byungmun Seo.

Does your brand reflect your personal fashion taste? Can you describe your
style? Both are minimally articulated.

What are your plans for the future? Continue on the process of growing the brand at a steady pace, tap into the physical in store retail space and installation, as well as complete my masters degree in fashion design at the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

Kim Gush by SDR Photo

Kim Gush by SDR Photo

Kim Gush Joburg-based designer of label KIM/GUSH. 

Tell us about your SS16 collection? We are going back to basics – clean silhouettes and little fuss. Less is more after all, especially in summer.

What were your inspirations for the designs?
The simplicity of outlines and foundations.

How would you describe your collection in four words? Ghetto, fetish, sports luxe.

When and how did you first fall in love with fashion design? I’ve always been intrigued by film and while working in that industry my love for costume and clothing drew me closer to the fashion industry.

Describe the person you are designing for? Open-minded and confident individual with a need for luxurious, edgy and comfortable hybrid.

The best spring/summer must-haves? Luxury oversized tees and some bad-ass sneakers.

What sets your brand apart from the others? We all have a different story to tell.

If you had the choice of all designers in the world to work with/for, who would that be? Mentor – Master Yohji Yamamoto. Collaboration – Alexander Wang.

Does your brand reflect your personal fashion taste? Can you describe your style?
I love the ranges I create but I do not personally always wear them. You have to focus on your consumer and how you can deliver to their needs while sticking to your brand ethics and vision.

What are your plans for the future? Right now we want to make KIM/GUSH as accessible and available to the consumer as possible. Our online store will be up soon after SAMW and we are working on more tangible points of access across the country as well as globally.

We will also be adding some more women-focused garments amongst our collections to combine with the already androgynous garments we present at menswear weeks.

15b_SAMW_1556_RichMnisi_w580_h387

Abrantie The Gentleman by SDR Photo

Abrantie The Gentleman by SDR Photo

Designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture. Pic is supplied.

Designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture. Pic is supplied.

Adebayo Oke-Lawal Orange Culture, a Lagos, Nigeria-based fashion label.

Tell us about your upcoming SAMW SS16 collection? I am super excited to be a part of South Africa Menswear Week – celebrating men’s fashion in Africa.

My collection is battling the ideology of the African man – that stereotype which has always been a thing for my brand. We explore delicate sensual fabrics matched with light but sporty fabrics to execute our Orange Culture tale of the fisherman and his beautiful journey.

Orange Culture. The picture is supplied.

Orange Culture. The picture is supplied.

What were your inspirations for the designs? My inspiration was drawn from
the amazing fishermen I spoke to. Growing up I would see them fishing under the third mainland bridge in Lagos, dressed in the most stylish gear. I wanted to explore the beautiful journey of these men and their relationships.

How would you describe your collection in four words? Androgynous, light, sensual and Nigerian

When and how did you first fall in love with fashion design? When I was 10-yearsold and my teachers realised all my notebooks in school were covered with fashion sketches…Fashion helped me to find myself.

Describe the person you are designing for? I design for the modern day nomad who is not afraid to explore his feminine side, and who is in love with the idea of individuality. He loves clothes that tell a story… a story that breaks stereotypes.

The best spring/summer must-haves? Anything from the Orange Culture SS16collection and a smile.

What sets your brand apart from the others? My label is self-inspired. It represents my unique experiences and I feel that’s what makes it stand out – my story.

If you had the choice of all designers in the world to work with/for, who would that be? Karl Lagerfeld – to learn more about the business side of things, matched with his creativity. Does your brand reflect your personal fashion taste?

Can you describe your style? It does, my style is quite light but unique. I love exploring almost sensual silhouettes.

What are your plans for the future? To take over the world one step at a time, but, in the short-term, find a stockist in South Africa.

Orange Culture image by OBI SOMTO

Orange Culture image by OBI SOMTO

The SA Menswear Week takes place from July 2 2015  to the 4th. Tickets are available on WebTickets (www.webtickets.co.za) for selected shows. All ticket holders will have access to the blue carpet VIP fashion event taking place on Saturday, July 4. All shows will be streamed live and image galleries will be uploaded immediately to http://www.menswearweek.co.za

This feature first appeared in the Cape Argus on June 25 2015.

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