South African Menswear Week #SAMW
By Rebekah Lazear
Menswear week in Cape Town, South Africa first caught my attention in 2015, its inaugural year. The biannual 3-day fixture provides a platform for promoting menswear within Africa. In addition to providing a platform for showcasing the latest collections, SAMW aims to help designers grow their business. It fits into the global men’s show calendar between New York and Paris Mens. The shows seat no more than 400 people in interesting settings with limited production, keeping all focus on the clothing. Partnerships with other continental fashion institutions (Africa Fashion Week London, Lagos Fashion and Design week, ACCRA Fashion Week, Swahili Fashion Week and more) and London Fashion Week Mens ensure the SAMW platform is providing necessary support for their designers to grow their businesses. A dedication to makers I’d like to see from more fashion institutions.
A few designers that caught my eye in the 2015 shows Magents is a premium street wear brand fueled by collaboration with local artists. Born in 1992, the first collection centered on statement tees and cargo pants. Local heroes inspired the images and text on these garments. This cultural conversation combined with a strict attention to detail earned the brand a solid following. Magents did not show at the A/W 2019 show last month, but hopefully we’ll see them in the S/S 2020 show in July 2019. Magents currently sells in boutiques in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Vietnam, Canada, Japan, and the United States. Shaldon Kopman’s brand Naked Ape, founded in 2005 in Johannesburg, crafted bespoke garments with economically and ecologically conscious fabrics. In 2014, the brand expanded into RTW clothing and accessories. The cornerstones of the brand are luxury and elegance for an international audience dedicated to the use of natural fibers and sophisticated fit. MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo showed a S/S 2016 collection of highly graphic knits in sweaters, shorts and wraps on the 2015 SAMW runway. The brand has since grown into a global men’s/women’s/clothing/accessories/home décor brand featuring the same signature print styles. Ngxokolo’s original inspiration was to create collections inspired by Xhosa traditional colors, symbolism and beading patterns. MaXhosa is currently sold online, in boutiques in Africa, and stores in Lyon, France and Brooklyn, NY, USA.
A/W 2019 Show Brand Highlights
JReason of Nigeria received a lot of attention for 2014 collection “Skin & Bold,” featuring bright colors and bold prints including gingham, zig zag stripes and florals. The designer showed at Swahili fashion week and ACCRA fashion week last weekend (March 29-31 st , 2019). JReason also features womenswear in the same boldly colored and patterned, tailored vein. 2016 collection “Maasai Dark” was inspired by a visit to Tanzania and an exploration of the Matavuvale clothing of the Maasai people. The combination of the Matavuvale style and the JReason color palette resulted in a uniquely detailed minimal collection. There is little web presence for JReason itself, but many features on style websites and Pinterest boards show the brand already has a dedicated following.
Rosey and Vittori offers luxe streetwear inspired by local African and U.S. style. A fairly new brand, the garments have been sold in boutiques around Cape Town, but the goal is to become a household name. The debut A/W 2017 collection featured gorgeous textured garments including elements of distress, fringe, tassels, burnouts and boldly patterend knits. Well built and street styled, I am excited to see what’s next.
Maxivive of Nigeria produces futuristic, finely made clothing. There are modern pieces with traditional comforts reflected in the design. The unique patterns, beadwork and tailoring in the garments are the basis of the brands signature. Maxivive makes RTW, accessories and footwear in a minimalist, androgynous, highly functional fashion.
For more information on these brands, check out the links below: