African designers presented their spring/summer (SS16) collections at the second South African Menswear Week (SAMW), the only menswear-focussed fashion platform in Africa showcasing home grown talent. The catwalk saw designs from not only South Africa but also Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola at the event that took place at Cape Town Stadium.
Designers walking the collections down the Menswear Week catwalk presented varying aesthetics and styles with common themes such as jumpsuits, garments blurring gender boundaries, extended and shortened lengths, looser fits, utilitarian looks, intentionally ugly shoes and soft feminine fabrics and hues.
This Menswear Week saw a surge in accessory designs for men, with necklaces, clutch bags, backpacks, leather tog bags and a variety of hats being prominent items on the runways.
Cape Town-based designer Jenevieve Lyons presented Alabaster, a minimal collection with a clever use of print, texture and details. The garments sport a warmer colour palette, taking on the tones of granite, dark burnt orange, khaki, tobacco and toasted colours, paired with cool whites. Lyon’s collection gives items such as shorts and sweaters a utilitarian edge through the addition of zip detailing and drawstrings.
Designed by Adebayo Okelawal, the Lagos-based fashion label Orange Culture presented a "Missoni-esque" collection, rebelling against the idea of an “African man”. The collection explores delicate sensual fabrics matched with light but sporty fabrics. Okelawal drew inspiration from fishermen under the third mainland bridge in Lagos for this collection. He has also presented it in Florence, Italy at Pitti Uomo – arguably the most important showcase platform for men’s clothing and accessories.
Lukhanyo Mdingi, a 2015 Emerging Creative, presented a sleek, minimal and monochrome collection in navy-blue inpsired by the Orient. His Menswear Week collection sported gender-bending tailoring and delicate sheer and pleated fabrics. Models also donned delicate black woven hats with large brims rising behind their heads like dark halos.
MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo
Laduma Ngxokolo presented his collection shown at Pitti Uomo in early June. The range presented the traditional MaXhosa knit aesthetic – the DNA of the brand – but sees the designer incorporate black and white patterns, and add joggers, knitted shorts and reversible jerseys to his collection of more familiar jumper, cardigans and golf shirts.
Designers Deeva van der Merwe and Sarah Wocknitz presented a collection of classic, clean-cut androgynous looks with unique detailing and quirky tailoring flair.
Rich Mnisi presented a structured collection at Menswear Week for Oath Studio. The collection had all the classic Mnisi elements: carefully curated details and bold clean silhouettes. But in the SS16 collection presented at Menswear Week he introduces new elements to his label's aesthetic such as a brighter colour palette (with a traffic-cone orange coat making an appearance) and long floating ties on uniform-like jackets and anoraks.