10 July 2017 – DIDIER De Villiers’s Magents Lifestyle brand opened the fourth and last day of the South African Menswear Week Spring Summer 16/17 in Cape Town on Saturday.
Magents did not disappoint loyal brand fans as a video first appeared explaining that “it’s not a fashion show, its a move”.
A bare-chested model opened the show, setting the tone for the show with denim shorts covered by an injobo, which other models wore, drawing inspiration from Zulu warriors. It was a warrior meet township boy cultural mix fostering a conscious African warrior purview.
One word, painted in white across his shirt, spelled out “Water”, reminded the audience that the country was currently experiencing one of its worst droughts and water was a scarce, precious resource.
Bomber jackets and vests which incorporated the richly coloured textures of African blankets brought images of men huddling together in the warmth around a fire in a township, to Lesotho horsemen wrapped in colourful blankets in the mountains.
At the end of the collection, the models, wearing balaclavas, brought out plastic beer cartons, and sat on them as two people spray painted the words “Are you still with me?” onto the corrugated iron backdrop. They raised their arms in the Amandla fist salute.
The soft, structured tones of Deeva Merwe’s unisex label Merwe Mode contrasted with Magents’s denim, street wear look.
Merwe’s “Incohate Etiquette” collection saw models wear intricately crafted corsets and hand dyed silk pants and pantsuits that had Asian inspired beltings and folds.
Merwe said told African News Agency (ANA) that her Incohate Etiquette collection, which was inspired by African, Asian, and European styles, signified “new beginnings”. It was a colour palette of greys, pinks, navy blues, and mustard yellows made from silk, cotton, crepe, and silk chiffon.
Merwe pointed out that it was a high-end range for men and for “a man who has a lot of self confidence”. SAMW was opening up a new world for men by enabling them to see a “variety of styles for men”.
Labels Sol Sol and 2Bop brought a variety of outfits that spoke to the blue collar workforce style, while the Yongn Layzee collection was a range of smart casual beachwear gone urban.
The Nigerian designers showed beautiful collections of fine West African tailoring that received a few standing ovations.
The kaftan look came through strongly in Kola Kuddus’s collection, while Orange Culture’s “School of Rejects” collection was a colourful, quirky line of sheer shirts with hand symbols layered over brightly coloured shorts and the kaftan got a patterned floral facelift.
Kuddus told ANA that his “A taste of Lagos” collection was an invitation to people to visit Lagos. “It is not the same Lagos of old,” he said of his city that has a population of over 20 million people. “It is a city that keeps on getting better and better.”
Kuddus said he was looking at partnering with SAMW for Nigerian Mens Fashion Week 2017 as he believed there was great potential for increasing awareness around menswear in Africa.
Toyko James’s sophisticated, elegant “Circle of Life” collection saw models wearing either white hair wigs or white painted eyebrows. The traditional tie was replaced with metallic circles that doubled as a necklace. Suits, sportswear and jackets featured in the range.
James told ANA he got this inspiration to celebrate white hair from an ageing beauty: “I was inspired by an old lady selling peanuts in Lagos. She was wearing her husband’s suit and I just wanted to dress her. She looked so beautiful with her white hair and white eyebrows. In fashion, we are scared of getting old. It is about time we embrace all forms of beauty in our industry.”
The industry was consumed by thoughts around youth to such an extent “we neglect the elderly”. James said it was important for people to embrace white hair “because we are going to get old and it is a beautiful thing”.
Mai Atafo closed the four-day SAMW show with his stunning “Sartorical Thursday” collection. Immaculately tailored suits were given a fine, playful spin with comfortable fabrics and the formal tuxedos that earned much appreciation from the audience.
“I didn’t expect the audience to be so appreciative,” Atafo told ANA after his show. He said it was an honour to close SAMW.
He wanted to translate the hard, scratchy fabrics associated with suits into something soft, comfortable, and wearable. “It is all about making suits something to wear on an easy day Thursday.”
Atafo said SAMW would give him the opportunity to grow his brand’s presence in South Africa.
“Men’s fashion is not as big as it should be in Africa. African men are not as adventurous as they should be with fashion. SAMW is a great platform as it allows men to see more styles.” –ANA