CHULAAP caters for the woman

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Fashion Designer Chu Suwannapha debuted his label CHULAAP about two years ago at the inaugural South African Menswear Week (SAMW). The unisex range was a meeting of his Eastern (Suwannapha is from Thailand) and African roots (he is based in Cape Town).

Resulting in a kaleidoscope of beautifully tailored clashing African prints in origami-like shapes. The collection was a hit that received rave reviews both locally and internationally. His creative eye for design and experience in the fashion industry is evident in each piece, making his carefully curated runway shows stand out. Suwannapha who is affectionately known as the “Prince of Prints” launched his debut ready-to-wear womenswear collection this week. I speak to him about the collection.

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So Chu, what pieces make up the collection for CHULAAP’s Cruise? Well, for a start I’m not working with the Wax Prints as I usually do. The prints I have used for this collection are more contemporary and graphic – they’re Afro Pop.

“The prints are 3D and create an optical illusion with a lot of depth and dimension. I love to play with graphic lines, like the diamond shapes and the Op Art bubbles which make each piece come to life. And the colour palette I’ve chosen is monochrome and shades of blue”

The collection comprises of 17 styles including skirts, a shirtdress, trenchcoat, culottes and more – of which all are timeless and effortless pieces which will suit all different occasions. It’s a mix of feminine styles plus boy meets girl, which is both clean and modern.

What are the designs inspired by? This ready-to-wear womenswear collection is inspired by the everyday African woman, and combines a 1950s feminine silhouette and graphic prints with an oriental twist. Each piece can be worn separately or combined to make a modern statement with head-to-toe prints.

 

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“Fashion should always be effortless and practical and that’s why I’ve designed beautiful garments to flatter and celebrate the African woman, who is looking for key pieces that highlight both her spirit and individuality with vibrant flair”

Why the move to womenswear? Is the approach, design-wise, different for designing womenswear than menswear clothing? I’ve wanted to create a womenswear collection for a while now, and now seemed like the perfect opportunity. My designs are always very straight forward with a twist of oriental – I like that what you see, is what you get. And my philosophy is that dressing is not about impressing the person next to you. It should be about adding personality and confidence to oneself. So my signature style didn’t change at all – you can still tell that it’s the same ‘men’s’ designer who has created this womenswear range. The only differences are the Lady Like 1950s-inspired top, dresses and skirts.

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Who is the CHULAAP Cruise Collection woman? The CHULAAP Cruise Collection is aiming for the broader audiences and who’s not afraid to wear graphic prints. It’s bold but basic. I want my audience to feel pretty and sophisticated with a sense of modern femininity and sexiness when they are wearing CHULAAP.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you take design cues from outside the fashion world? I get inspired from what I see or hear around me every day such as art, culture, architecture, politics and nature. I don’t stick to one thing. I mix them together to be one story.

“Sometimes you need to create your own inspirations, like making a story board”

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Last words? I’m so excited to bring my womenswear collection to market. As a designer, you put your all into your range and it’s been an incredible journey – one that I’m very proud of. Who knows what’s next. I heard someone the other day comment that it would be great to own some CHULAAP Homeware watch this space.

* Shop the CHUULAAP’s Cruise Collection by Chu Suwannapha at https://www.spree.co.za./

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58: https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/fashion-trends-for-summer-inspired-by-local-designers-2044424

 

Fashion creative blogs for Africa

Photo by Mark Manual May

Photo by Mark Manual May

Shiraz Reddy is a familiar face on the local fashion scene. From fashion weeks to fashion soirées, Reddy is there, always impeccably dressed. His passion for supporting and celebrating local creatives and designers is infectious and sets him apart from his peers. Having his hands in different pots – such as PR and events co-ordinating, broadcasting, blogging and styling – makes him a fashion and entertainment all-rounder.

“There is a lot of organic growth in the fashion industry at the moment. And instead of fashioning your brand to be like the next ‘top US retail brand’, South African designers and the industry as a whole are going back to our African roots, taking what we’ve grown and exhibiting it in the clothes we wear and the conversations we have about fashion. Also the trending fashion phrase is ‘prints is the new black’,” he says.

This is evident in Reddy’s latest fashion editorial titled Print Party, which features a mesh of bold and clashing prints and textures. The editorial currently on his blog, The Boy on the Park Bench was shot at the University of Cape Town with model Lesala Mampa.

“The editorial was inspired by the rich prints, textiles and the artistic flair I saw on the runways of SA Menswear Week and Cape Town Fashion week. The amazing African prints and textures on show took my love for prints to the next level.For the shoot I created wearable and attainable looks.“

“I always aim to educate my readers about ‘how to wear prints’ and the art of wearing ‘print-on-print’. I chose the UCT upper campus because of the negativity that has surrounded the campus of late… I saw it as a way of highlighting the greatness that still lives among those trees and walls,” says Reddy.

Also always try to keep the garments within their natural beauty as far as possible without losing the essence of the design and the location we’re shooting at,” he says.

Photo by by Mark Manual May

Photo by by Mark Manual May

The Boy on the Park Bench is the story of a boy sitting on the park bench observing his surroundings and sharing what he sees, explains Reddy, a Varsity College Pretoria graduate.

“I started the blog in 2010 as a way of expressing how I felt during a trying time of finding my feet in Cape Town and my chosen career path. It was a cold winter day and I was sitting in a park around the corner from my then flat in the southern suburbs.

“I decided that it was time for me to express myself and share my thoughts as a way of ‘dealing’ with what I was going through.

“I made the conscious decision to use it (blogging) as a way of expressing my honest opinion on fashion, the industry and its ever-changing dynamics that I get to experience first-hand on a daily basis. I blog for those who appreciate it but don’t have the time or resources to actively be a part of it,” Reddy says.

Describing himself as a braveheart because he is not afraid to take risks and to go where where others are too scared to go, the 28-year-old Reddy’s love for the creatives started at a young age.

“My parents always ensured we looked good and never skimped on buying my siblings and I the best clothes. I always appreciated new shoes and the opportunity to get all dressed up and to show off amongst my peers. At around age 9 I already knew the importance of a crisp white shirt and what it could do for your school uniform and any outfit in-general;” he says

Shiraz Reddy

Shiraz Reddy

“I’ve always enjoyed styling myself, planning outfits with my sisters and friends days before wearing them… I still do this to this day,” he says.

Reddy is inspired by photographers Trevor Stuurman and Theodore Afrika’s ability to capture beautiful imagery, as well as recording artist and producer Pharrell Williams’s sense of style and work within the fashion industry.

His list of notable fashion designers include Mzukisi Mabane of Imprint, Adriaan Kuiters, Craig Port and hip hop artist Kanye West.

“They push the envelope to spite stereotypes. I am also inspired by nature… how letting something grow organically can turn into a beautiful living thing. And the streets of Cape Town, how people here aren’t afraid to express their creative personalities through fashion,” says Reddy.

Photo  by Mark Manual May

Photo by Mark Manual May

One of the key things to making it as a creative in South Africa is to stay true to yourself, he says.

“Being adventurous when no one trusts you and trusting your own gut will go a long way. “Also, it’s not easy to get individuals and  brands to invest in your creativity because most are influenced by international trends and many are reluctant to help you pioneer new trends and ways of doing things;

“These for me are definite challenges. However, sticking to your guns, working like a beast and not forgetting the struggles and what you want to achieve and, that if you don’t do the work, no one else will, should lead you to maintaining a successful creative career.”

Photo by Mark Manual May

Photo by Mark Manual May

His message for aspiring fashion stylists is: “Never doubt yourself because then the client and team will doubt you too. Trial and error is okay… learn to accept mistakes but do your research well in advance and as detailed as possible… because God is in the detail.”

●Reddy’s blog link: https://theboyontheparkbench. wordpress.com

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on October 9 2015

The Ruff Tung legacy lives on through a designer duo.

It has been almost two years since fashion designer Jean-Paul Botha died at age 43. Botha, the founder and creative director of the Ruff Tung label, was one of the country’s most sought-after fashion designers in the ’90s, whose creative talent saw him develop his brand from an edgy label to a high fashion house that enjoyed appearances at several major fashion weeks across the country.

But then the Durban-born designer’s death left a huge gap in the fashion industry. Fast forward to today and Botha’s Ruff Tung legacy lives on through the talented designer duo, Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch. Last month, the fashion house staged their first runway showcase – since Botha’s death – at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town (MBFWCT).

Picture by SDR Photo

Picture by SDR Photo

We interviewed Pickering and Bausch at their office in Kenilworth. Mentored by Botha, Pickering started out in the industry as a story board designer for a trims and accessory business.

“I played on the edge of fashion in my early years, but I became serious about my career once I moved to London. My first role was for the iconic store Liberty where I was introduced to the world of incredible designs,” she says.

For Bausch, a Durban University of Technology fashion and textile design graduate, his first job in fashion was as Botha’s pattern maker. Now at the helm of what was his creation, the designers described their MBFWCT showcase as a “defining moment “ for the brand.

“The show was our official launch as a local Cape Town brand and more importantly as a tribute to Botha,” says Pickering

“We received an emotional standing ovation, proving that Botha’s creative legacy and DNA lives on through our continued hard work and in every design element of our collection,” she adds.

The talented designer duo, Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch. Picture by SDR Photo

The talented designer duo, Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch. Picture by SDR Photo

What were your inspirations for your SS16 collection? Our collection titled Mirror Mirror on the wall – Reflections has inspired our passion for print on print this SS16 season. A simple silhouette viewed “through the looking glass” to create multiple angles to dress multiple shapes, the designs offer women a dynamic balance between looking effortless, comfortable and stylish all in one piece. We have specifically developed our own prints for this collection, creating an inspirational visual feast through a kaleidoscope of shapes – an eclectic mix of monochrome, directional print blocking and always a bolt of vibrant colour. Simplicity is always the focus in our designs, creating a modern energy for the modern Ruff Tung woman.

How did you select the materials and colours? Our past and present has had a long love affair with statement prints. Tamarind Textiles came to the rescue with some beautiful prints exclusive to Ruff Tung. A strong design trait of ours is to colour and print block to create a flattering silhouette for our women. We believe that our prints and statement colour, deep cobalt, will set us apart from our competitors and make us the go to brand for woman of all shapes and sizes.

Describe the woman you envision wearing your clothes? Our designs, like the woman we dress, are ageless. The Ruff Tung women have busy lives, they want to have fun while looking good. Effortless and no fuss styling is key and our modern Ruff Tung woman appreciates this. We sell frocks, casual sophistication, easy-to-wear fashion and classic with a contemporary twist.

Who are your most influential fashion designers, and why? Our current influential designers are American fashion stylist Rachel Zoe for her effortless style, designer Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) for her business prowess and longevity, London’s leading retail marketing consultant Mary Portas for her ability to dress “real women” and Victoria Beckham for being a late fashion bloomer and taking the fashion world by storm.

Ruff Tung Lookbook

Ruff Tung Lookbook

What is your opinion on “high fashion” and do you aspire to becoming a popular high-end fashion label? We would love to be popular and be the go-to designer brand.

“Our aim would be to provide the combination of an affordable ready-to-wear collection, plus a “high end” more exclusive offering for those special luxury pieces.”

You have quite big shoes to fill: how do you ensure that the label still represents Jean-Paul Botha’s legacy? We have registered the business as “Tribute by Ruff Tung”, so not only are we a daily working tribute to the man who opened the fashion doors and gave us this opportunity, but we are working to achieve all the goals and aims that we agreed to as a team before he passed away.

Botha and ourselves started to streamline the business from a niché occasion wear brand to a more retail commercial business and this is what we will continue to do.

“We design with an honest approach to what women want.”

Picture by SDR Photo

Picture by SDR Photo

Picture by SDR Photo

Picture by SDR Photo

What can be done to encourage people to buy local or support local designers?
We don’t feel that the average consumer knows how many talented local designers are out there. Local fashion publications need to promote local more… it would be amazing to see a larger variety of local brands in the press.

There is a place for both local and international brands, but the more we support local, the more positive the impact on local manufacturing industry.

What trends do you currently see in the fashion industry?

“The current trends include the boho look and we are seeing a lot of off-the shoulder action, jumpsuits, as well as statement prints.”

What are your future plans for the brand? We will continue to build on our business, branching from E-tail into more retail opportunities. There is a demand for effortless, chic plus-size styles and we are all about dressing women across the fashion board.

What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

“This fashion business is not for sissies, so get a good background in business and a good mentor who will show you the business from the ground up.”

●Ruff Tung is sold at online shops E-Tail, Spree and Zando, and several shops nationwide such as The Bromwell.

This feature first was first published in the Cape Argus on September 29 2015. 

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town (MBFWCT) 2015 Trends Report

Tuelo Nguyuza By SDR Photo

Tuelo Nguyuza By SDR Photo

Flirty and feminine dresses and skirts in bold colours are back, and women will find themselves renewing their relationship with neon, eye-popping brights this spring and summer.

Designers Danielle Margaux, Habits and Lazuli led the colour revolution at a fashion event held in the city at the weekend. Their designs came in crop-tops, jumpsuits, kimono-style dresses and boho gypsy skirts. Another trend, as seen on the international runways, is wearing sneakers with dresses, skirts and suits, and presentations by local designers Adriaan Kuiters, Jody Paulsen and Leigh Schubert showed us how to get the trend just right. Kuiters and Paulsen’s collection, inspired by the artistic patterns of David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Sol Lewitt, presented an impressive sportsluxe collection of soft, neutral and bold prints paired with sneakers. Schubert paired romantic floral dresses with palladium sneakers.

Adriaan Kuiters and Jody Paulsen by SDR Photo

Adriaan Kuiters and Jody Paulsen by SDR Photo

Industry experts and fashionistas converged on the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed and North Wharf for the annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town (MBFWCT).
Twenty-four of the country’s top designers unveiled their spring and summer 2016 collections with multiple shows over the three-day period.

The collections included a range of ready-to-wear pieces, sports wear and swimwear, as well as wedding couture.

Noticeable trends included shoulder-baring silhouettes, and prints and patterns such as stripes, lace, floral and African prints on everything from dresses to jumpsuits. 

David Tlale by SDR Photo

David Tlale by SDR Photo

The collections included arange of ready-to-wear pieces,sports wear and swimwear,as well as wedding couture.Other noticeable trendsincluded shoulder-baring silhouettes,and prints and patterns suchas stripes, lace, floral and African prints on everything from dresses to jumpsuits.

Highlights included the David Tlale showcase held on Saturday morning at the Gallery MOMO in Buitengracht Street.

The fashion guru launched his bridalcollection, combining sheer and see through silhouettes in powder blue, yellow, multi-coloured animal print and metallic emerald-green for the adventurous bride.

“We are breaking all the rules of the traditional bride, but we are still keeping it chic and bold. “People have been brainwashed to wear white dresses with your typical lace adorned with Swarovski crystals to look like Cinderella,” says Tlale.

“Launching bridal-wear was a natural progression as a brand. “We are known for high-end couture and beautiful ready-to-wear pieces and it’s time we started embracing our brides because we have had big business on bridal wear that we never launched,” he
adds

David Tlale by SDR Photo

David Tlale by SDR Photo

Christiaan Gabriel du Toit of Klûk CGDT opted out of the traditional runway show, instead staging an exhibition at CAAM Collective Gallery at the De Waterkant Fringe.

The exhibition, KLuKCGD Tartisan, held in collaboration with Levi’s, includes photographic
prints by 10 of South Africa’s leading fashion photographers, among them: Trevor Stuurman, Sivan Miller, Neil Roberts and Simon Deiner. It runs until Saturday.

KLuKCGD Tartisan exhibition by SDR Photo

KLuKCGD Tartisan exhibition by SDR Photo

“This is a huge denim season and although it is something we toy with often, we have never really experimented with the options.

“We also wanted to show our clothes in a different way, something more lasting that allows the client to get a longer impression of the garments,” says Kluk.

“We chose the creatives based on our experience with them. “They are energetic
and passionate about what they do, they have been proactive in their careers and this excited us. “We also love the diversity in their work and personalities and it was important to let them shine,” he says.

Regarding the trends for the summer, Du Toit says that these are so diverse that they always take a southern hemisphere perspective on what is happening internationally.

“We take trends as a guide, not a bible. We know our customers and their lifestyle and their likes and dislikes and tailor the trends to suit them. “We love fabric and sometimes that dictates what we make.”

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on August 5 2015.

Stefania Morland by SDR Photo

Stefania Morland by SDR Photo

Marianne Fassler by SDR Photo

Marianne Fassler by SDR Photo

Marianne Fassler by SDR Photo

Marianne Fassler by SDR Photo

Marianne Fassler by SDR Photo

Marianne Fassler by SDR Photo

Lazuli by SDR Photo

Lazuli by SDR Photo

Imprint by SDR Photo

Imprint by SDR Photo

Imprint by SDR Photo

Imprint by SDR Photo

Imprint by SDR Photo

Imprint by SDR Photo

Here are a few backstage pictures by photographer Neil Roberts.I love his cool unique style. Visit www.nrm.me for more of his work. 

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The evolution of the ‘Madiba Shirt’

Designers of ‘Presidential Shirts’, Logan Rodrigeuz and founder Desré Buirski with their new Madiba collection that received a standing ovation at the SA Menwear Week.  PICTURE BY TRACEY ADAMS

Designers of ‘Presidential Shirts’, Logan Rodrigeuz and founder Desré Buirski with their new Madiba collection that received a standing
ovation at the SA Menwear Week. PICTURE BY TRACEY ADAMS

The year was 1994, right after South Africa’s first democratic elections, when Desré Buirski first set eyes on Nelson Mandela at a synagogue in Sea Point. When Mandela delivered his speech that Saturday, urging the Jewish community to ask their relatives who had left the country during apartheid to come back home with the skills they had obtained, to help rebuild the country… it was as if he was talking directly to her, she says.

For Buirski’s family and many others had left apartheid South Africa in the the late ’80s in pursuit of a better life overseas. Buirski had brought a special gift for Mandela as a small gesture to wish him success in his new role as president. The present, wrapped and tucked under her arm, was an extra large cotton printed shirt labelled “Desré’s Exotic Imports” from her LA boutique she had just closed before leaving for South Africa.

“I approached his entourage and knocked on the driver’s window. He (the driver) didn’t even hesitate, he popped out of the car and signalled over to a bodyguard who took the gift and popped it in the boot… I thought I had achieved my dream that day because not only did I get to see Mandela but I also got the opportunity to give him a gift. I left there on a high note.

“I didn’t think it was that great a shirt, but I figured a gift is better than no gift. I expected Mandela to wear the shirt as a pyjama top or to give it away as a present,” she said.

But little did Buirski know that two days after the synagogue visit, the day after Mandela’s inauguration as president, her life was to take a different turn in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

“I was driving to the gym when I received a message from a friend telling me that there was a picture that I had to see in Die Burger newspaper. I thought it had to do with an environmental project I was working on;

“But there it was on page three, this beautiful photograph of Mandela wearing my shirt, and it still had all the wrinkles from the wrapping,” explains Buirski.

Soon after making contact with Mandela’s then typist and private secretary Mary Mxadana, Buirski started sending Mandela more shirts.

“Mxadana and I developed this rapport and… I started sending her more shirts for Mandela. That was the beginning of what I call my spiritual journey with Madiba,” says Buirski.

picture by SDR Photo

picture by SDR Photo

It is also how the story of the Presidential Shirt, fondly known as the “Madiba Shirt” began – a style and design of shirt that would become one of the most recognised across the world.

After studying graphic design in Southern California, SA-born Buirski pursued a successful career in fashion that led to her owning a boutique as well as working in clothing factories in Indonesia, where she learnt the Batik technique.

“My early influences came from my South African roots. I was very attracted to the Ndebele prints and graphics. I am still very drawn to their bold use of colour and the beading of the Zulus.

“Living in Southern California and getting involved in the industry there exposed me to the Hawaiian prints. That is when I became interested in printed men’s shirt.

“When I grew up in SA, men were not wearing bold shirts, they were very conservative. But I found that with men’s shirts I could play around with fabric and colour. Meshed together, my SA roots with my Hawaiian and the Indonesian influences became a melting pot of creativity for me,” says Buirski.

But Southern California was not home, so Buirski closed shop and returned to South Africa, opening her first local boutique, “Bali Blue” at the V&A Waterfront
in 1992.

“There was something about home that I was longing for and missing. As that longing started to emerge there was also this adoration that started to develop of this enigma about Mandela. I just wanted to meet this incredible man. I didn’t know that Madiba was a fashionista in his early days… it was certainly not a case of ‘I’m going to clothe that man one day’,” she explains.

Picture by SDR Photo

Picture by SDR Photo

Buirski got to meet Mandela almost a year after gifting him that first shirt. At the meeting, he suggested that she upgrade his shirts from cotton to silk.

“That was when the silk shirt-era began. Madiba had an entire collection of rainbow silk shirts, his favourite colours being earth tones. Over the years I made over 150 shirts for him. He literally wore them to all major events and to big international governmental meetings and banquets,” she says.

Not everyone was a fan of Mandela’s shirts. Mandela confided to Buirski that one of his close friends, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu felt his shirts were not appropriate attire for a president. And that Italian designer Giorgio Armani was quite perturbed that he was not wearing any of the well-tailored suits he had sent him.

“Madiba told me that he loved the shirts because they gave him a sense of freedom, as opposed to being in a suit and tie. Not only was he a fashion trendsetter, but he was also political trendsetter. He did things that society had never seen before,” says Buirski.

picture by SDR Photo

picture by SDR Photo

I meet Buirski at the Presidential Shirt studio in Observatory where their new collection, “The Eclection” is on display, designed by a creative team, including Logan Rodrigeuz.

The collection, fresh from the SA Menswear Week runway, is a miscellany of patterned batiks, handpainted silk, digital and isishweshwe prints. The showcase received a standing ovation at the event.

3 4

The pictures are by SDR Photo

“Designing the debut collection has been an incredibly humbling experience because it’s such an incredible brand to work for. Not only is it an incredible brand, but there is rich history behind it… moments that were seen worldwide,” says Rodrigeuz, a fashion design graduate.

The collection was designed with today’s modern, stylish man in mind, he
explains.

“When the company started in 1994 everything was comfort fit and very relaxed for men of all shapes and sizes. With the new collection we wanted to approach the younger crowd, the businessman that wants to wear a sharp suit to the office but still have a Presidential Shirt underneath. Many garments are available in slim fit.

“The Presidential Shirt man is strong, a man who knows that when he puts on our clothing that there is a story behind it. A man that understands who he is, wants to be associated with the brand and who appreciates the craftsmanship that goes into each garment,” says Rodrigeuz.

Presidential Shirt will be opening a new shop at Mandela Square in Sandton, Joburg in October.

“It’s been the experience of a lifetime,” says Buirski. “For me it wasn’t just about making shirts for Mandela but he also taught me many things, such as inspiring other people with my work and to embrace the spirit of Ubuntu.

“Hopefully, the shirts continue to tell a story of Madiba’s legacy… through the shirts I get to tell some of his stories and that is the beauty of it,” adds Buirski. 

picture by SDR Photo

picture by SDR Photo

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on July 22 2015.

Gender neutral is the new male on SA’s catwalks . SAMW Highlights

Imprint by Mzukisi Mbane

Imprint by Mzukisi Mbane

Pictures your boyfriend wearing dresses and pussy-bow blouses in chiffon and lace. The trend is called “androgyny” on catwalks across the world.

The word describes the fashion-conscious man who is not afraid to embrace his feminine side. We have seen it in recent menswear weeks in Milan and London.

The biannual South African Menswear Week, which took place over the weekend, showed that the new trend was finding a home on our shores.

The affair, held at Cape Town Stadium, featured top designers from around Africa showcasing their Spring and Summer (SS15/16) collections.

Designers like Terrence Bray, Rich Mnisi, Kim Gush and Lukhanyo Mdingi led the way in gender-fluid fashion. Their designs mixed masculine and feminine characteristics that could be worn by men and women.

African prints, leather, army aesthetics, stripes, shades of bold colours and neutral hues also dominated the catwalk. Industry experts, bloggers and fashion influencers from around the country gathered for three days of networking and schmoozing.

The nights were long as event-goers partied after the shows in various clubs around the city.

Presidential Shirt

Presidential Shirt

Presidential Shirt

Presidential Shirt

Presidential Shirt: Made famous by former president Nelson Mandela, the afrocentric “Madiba Shirt” is recognised around the globe. Designers presented a revamped collection suitable for younger men. The shirts and suits are hand-painted with delicate
embroidery silks and cotton.

Fundudzi Man by Craig Jacobs

Fundudzi Man by Craig Jacobs

Fundudzi Man by Craig Jacobs

Fundudzi Man by Craig Jacobs

Fundudzi Man by Craig Jacobs: Craig Jacobs presented models in
bold tribal make-up who strutted down the runway in extended T-shirts, reversible dresses and creative backpacks that became bomber jackets – a real show-stealer.

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

MaXhosa By Laduma

Maxhosa by Laduma: Laduma Ngxokolo has showcased in
top fashion weeks in Berlin and London. Ngxokolo, who incorporates his Xhosa culture into knitwear designs, presented breathable and reversible sweaters, joggers and shorts in bold patterns and colours.

Rich Mnisi

Rich Mnisi

Terrence Bray

Terrence Bray

Palse Homme

Palse Homme

Palse Homme

Palse Homme

Show Presentation: Designers went all out this year. Men in
gold beards by Palse Homme were a hit. Projecto Mental’s designer dressed models on the runway. In Magents’s show, titled Afrikarise, the audience clapped and sang as the “social konscious army” of
models took to the runway in urban streetwear.

Projecto Mental

Projecto Mental

Projecto Mental

Projecto Mental

Projecto Mental

Projecto Mental

 

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on July 14 2015. All the pictures are by SDR Photos.

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.