Durban - Honestly speaking, menswear collections are usually the most well received at fashion shows; primarily because it’s an “abs parade” met with glee by an audience consisting predominantly of women and gay men.
Unlike their straight-faced, size 6 counterparts these models are usually preen hunks – even if they’re cast as the “nerd” (there are always characters in menswear).
They’re as pleasant to look at as the clothes, which for a long time have owned a space between African aesthetics and European style.
However, these are flamboyant threads that may never make it into the wardrobe of the average South African man. Then again no one here is trying to be “average”.
Case in point is model-turned-designer Ephraim Molingoane of the famed Ephymol label.
His collection focused on prints and luxurious fabrics, and the balance between classic elegance and retro assurance.
Inspired by the ’50s and ’70s these clothes had serious swagger.
As Molingoane calls it, garments with confidence, “for the fashion-exploring man”.
Palse based their collection on the show theme “One Night Only”, which was inspired by creative director Paledi Segapo’s travels through Paris last year. Palse describes the collection as “cultivated… with an enchanting demeanour and spirit, personifying a très chic citizen of the world”.
Shaldon Kopman of the Naked Ape label presented as JD this year.
The self-taught designer, whose career in fashion began on the other side of the lens, was aiming for accessible designer menswear, achieved by blending highly versatile designs with an economic element.
A label whose look I can never quite pin down – for it changes so often – is Wandi Nzimande’s Loxion Kulca.
The iconic brand, which celebrates 15 years in the industry, has a strong following. They said their 2014 collection was aimed at the born-free generation and represented true freedom of expression through colour.
“The collection is forward thinking, where punk meets African high street. It is continentally inspired and makes reference to numerous African tribes for key inspiration.”
Menswear is almost always a mixed bag of trends, but if you’re looking for statement pieces this year, add a touch of leather and futuristic PVC-type fabrics. Burgundy and orange are clearly hot summer colours. While those brave enough can experiment with floral, ombré and loosing-fitting Asian styles. And if you’re making a custom summer suit, you can’t go wrong with head-to-toe white.
If you’re a rocking “new nerd”, accessories like your iPad case and shades should most definitely match your threads. - Omeshnie Naidoo
Follow me on twitter @omeshnie