The business of fashion made its return in its richest square mile in Africa, yes it was back in Sandton City.
Surrounded by modern architecture of skyscrapers, it was business as usual and we came to witness yet another season of local talent. Oh yes, we were fashionably on time and we arrived in style courtesy of MINI. South African Fashion Week has partnered with MINI and they were so courteous to chauffer yours truly to the venue and back. They’re also eager to support local talent as they’re sponsoring an all-expenses paid trip to Florence, Italy to experience the thrill of Pitti Immagine Uomo trade fair taking place in June. This awesome prize is for the winner of the menswear scouting competition in association with GQ magazine. Now let’s take a look at some of the menswear designers that showed us their undying passion for fashion; creativity and craftsmanship.
Bayanda couldn’t wait for another six months to show us what we can look forward to come A/W “19. Seeing that here in the Southern hemisphere we’re transitioning into the fall season, he took advantage of that. It made perfect business sense for him to capitalize on that especially since he didn’t showcase for A/W18. Khathini gave us the classic and timeless winter look as he played around with sweaters and turtle-neck jerseys. He paired the saggy tops with pleated slacks and accessorized them with elongated leather (ropes) belts, which made a bold statement. The collection was effortless, with the Khathini men looking stylishly warm.
Shaylene Morris was the only female designer that showcased a menswear collection and she’s probably one of the very few female designers in Mzansi showing menswear apparel. She gave us a crispy white gender-neutral sportslux with soft and feminine silhouettes. Simplicity was key to this collection as she kept everything easy and practical with a dash of red just to add some tone to the clean white collection.
Coenraad De Mol is the former winner of the Menswear Scout competition and yet again came to show us why he was victorious. His garments may not appetize the average gentleman but he is arguably one of the best costume makers in Mzansi and I’m sure brands like Black Coffee and Roman Handt would agree. Not so practical for your everyday outfit but definitely befitting for the runway as he paints a story through his garments. This time around he portrayed a sanctified collection entitled The Crown, shifting from darker tones to lighter and softer tones. The collections portrayed his life journey and he paid tribute to God in a religious look depicting the Roman Catholic robes and accessorizing it with unconventional jewellery.
Ephraim Molingoane is definitely one of the “OG” in the South African fashion sphere and he continued to show us why he is still relevant in the game. A true trend setter, the maker and breaker of fashion rules stamped his authority by putting it in “black-&-white” giving us monochromes for the spring/summer season. Just when everyone is accustomed to bright and colourful tones of spring he showed us how iconic black-&-white is and will always be seasons after seasons. Apart from that he always made emphasis on fit, which he always got it right with his models and never compromised on the quality of fabric choice.
Through the years we’ve witnessed sartorialism slowly fading away on the fashion runways but designers like Chiza Ngulube are striving to keep the Afro Dandy alive. The Zambian designer stayed true to his African roots by using African tribal prints and continued to remind us of who we are; where we from and where we heading. He fused prints with the western urban sartorial style with giving us a unique modern African gentleman who is confident to make bold statements. Sandals are one of the footwear styles that are synonymous to African nations and he paired them with his look as they blended harmoniously with the spring/summer season. It was not just any sandals but they were specially crafted with matching prints of the ensembles.
To many he was known as Alfalfa Mlambo, the genius behind House of Alfalfa. Mlambo is self-taught and also an award-winning Milan trained designer who is very well known for exceptional craftsmanship in ladies-wear garments. Just when I was starting to wonder about his silence and disappearance on the runway, he came out guns blazing with his debut menswear collection amongst a stiff competition. Yes! Sandile was this season’s winner of the MINI Menswear Scout competition. It doesn’t happen a lot that debutants come out victorious in such intense competition, but then again he has been in the game even though he’s mainly been catering for ladies. Another storyteller through garment construction, narrated an African tale using the indigenous prints of the (Sangoma) traditional healers. African tradition embraced with a twist of modern urban look, definitely a well-deserved win!
Displaying the future of menswear fashion through fine tailoring transforming the stereotype perceptions of masculinity. We saw him embracing gender-fluidity by adding maggings (male version of leggings). Although the general population of men is still conservative and still hibernating inside the cocoon of conformity, Sipho made his collection so practical that each and every monochromic piece of his collection can be interchangeable and functional with other pieces. Another collection that showed us simplicity at its best.
Apart from the action-packed runway drama, it was another great week of socialising; networking; adding potential business contacts and of course making new friends. At the end of the week, fashion was the ultimate victor and all thanks to Lucilla Booysens and her amazing team in making sure that the show goes on. They kept us lubricated and forgotten about those that didn’t show-up, thanks to Appletizer and Cruz Vodka.
A big thanks to the official photographer of South African Fashion Week, Eunice Driver of Eunice Driver Photography for the amazing work in capturing amazing moments from start to finish. And that’s it from me about South African Fashion Week S/S “18/19, I hope I filled you in with what went down on the runway.
Until next time, stay fashionable