SA Menswear Fashion Week SS2020 Round-up
The first Saturday in July turned out to be a grey and drizzly day in Cape Town, but that deterred the designers or attendees of the SS20 shows at South African Menswear Week (SAMW) from making the day just that little bit brighter. This season’s shows at SAMW were held in a still to be completed skyscraper, its bare concrete floors and the construction sites surrounding it were a rather perfect metaphor for the South African menswear industry – still building upon itself, a little rough around the edges but with glimpses of the beauty to come.
While all the offerings from the different designers and labels had their own signature feel there were three overarching influences that seem to run through all the collections. There was a definite sense of romanticism that ran through the collections as well as aspects of luxe sportiness and soft minimalism or utilitarianism.
While a sense of romanticism ran through many collections, it wasn’t necessarily expressed in the same way. Soft tailoring, looser silhouettes, pastel shades and floral prints all contributed to this new romantic feeling. There were also a worrying amount of deep V-necks and shirts unbuttoned to the navel walking down the runways, all indicating that a definite increase in gym time will be necessary before the summer months hit.
While sportswear and athletic styling are an intrinsic part of menswear, the days of sportswear being defined solely as sweats and oversized tees emblazoned with the branding of your choice across the chest are thankfully at an end. Fabrication plays an important role in distinguishing between sportswear and luxe sport; the jewel-tone iridescence at JReason and all-over butterfly prints at Masa Mara ensured that the looks going down their runways were anything but ordinary sportswear.
Themes related to travel and exploration plays a significant role in men’s fashion primarily because travel and exploration now play a larger role in men’s lives. We live in an age where we’d much rather spend our disposable income on experiences than on things and where sustainability and versatility are key watchwords. Men’s wardrobes now need to include pieces that would look equally good walking down the streets of their home city and on the trails and beaches of a far-flung island.
Cotton and linens are important fabrications while details like patch pockets, belts, straps and toggles all lend themselves to the utility feel, vibrant prints and pastel shades differentiate this season’s utilitarian looks from traditional khaki-upon-khaki explorer looks.
Traditional Japanese silhouettes were given an update for the SAMW SS20 runways with iterations of the jinbei and yukata heading down the runways. It’s not difficult to see why these Japanese styles would have such an influence at an African fashion week, their clean and minimalist silhouettes, especially when executed in crisp cotton and linens would be ideal wear for an African summer. The minimalist silhouette is also the perfect vehicle to add two components that are important to the African market – prints and colour.
Vibrant traditional prints and contemporary geometric iterations both made their way down the runways at SAMW. These prints are an important component to our collective African aesthetic and enliven even the most minimalist silhouette.
Dye Effect Prints
Dye effect prints aren’t limited solely to tie-dye, even though it is the print of the moment; splotch and splatter prints along with gradient ombré dip-dyes made their presence known for spring 2020. These prints have an artistic – almost craft – feel to them and sets them apart from prints that could feel overly designed or manufactured.
Yellow staked its claim as the statement colour for SS20 on the runways of SAMW. From soft buttery yellow to bright sunshine yellow and all the way to green tinged chartreuse, the shade of summer crowned itself the new trend colour.
The runway showings at SAMW for SS20 showed a new maturity in the menswear scene, a blend of trend and commerciality that bodes well for the seasons to come.