Three designer picks from the inclusive South African Menswear Week SS21

by | Aug 25, 2021

It goes without saying that fashion weeks have had a tough time over the past few seasons. In the midst of restructuring for virtual and  for the future, fashion weeks are hard at work trying to find their footing. SA Menswear Week is doing exactly that. Besides a rumour of exciting future plans which are yet to be disclosed, the organisers provided a watch-from-home platform for SS22. Filmed at We Are EGG, the fashion, beauty and home department store which opened in Cavendish Square to much fanfare at the end of last year, the shows are still available to watch here.

While it’s true, many of the names we’ve come to expect were absent from the schedule, I enjoyed this season’s focus on some newer brands. The collaboration between SAMW and Khayelitsha Fashion Week – featuring African Salad, WTL Designs and CNEXOR – was particularly exciting, shining a light on the important work that we to do as an industry to create opportunities of access for designers who operate outside fashion’s traditional structures and channels.

Here’s a rundown of three of our favourite shows:

FORGE STUDIOS by Chad-lee van Wyk

Chad-lee van Wyk is no stranger to the SAMW runway. In fact, as a pioneering non-binary model, you may recognise them from many iconic moments on the ramp, including walks for Tokyo James, Nao Serati and ALC Man. This season, they hit the catwalk in a new role: as the creative director and founder of Forge Studios, a brand born of a passion for upcycling – something I’m hoping to see more and more of in fashion.

IMPRINT ZA by Mzukisi Mbane

Imprint, described as an Afro-futuristic luxury brand, is a runway regular known for a masterful ability to mix and magnify prints in a post-modern fashion. Reclaiming what has so often been misappropriated as a seasonal novelty by the global industry, designer Mzukisi Mbane’s SS22 collection is named “AFRICA IS NOT A TREND”.  While the entire collection is enchanting, the stand-out for me are the wide-brimmed reversible hats which are bound to become an it-item this summer. Count me in!

MASA MARA by Eli Nyambo

Based in South Africa, Masa Mara is a pan-African brand inspired by the rich cultural diversity of the continent, an aesthetic fuelled by the Rwandan-born designer, Eli Nyambo’s nomadic travels across the continent. This is reflected in the melodic blending of prints and silhouettes which, while they may appear to clash, can be deconstructed into wearable (and affordable!) separates.

Credits

All photos courtesy of SDR Photos. Main image features Imprint ZA and the image in the opening section features Masa Mara.

 

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