Platform23 had the privilege of being invited to SA Menswear Week SS19 Collections that was held at The Lookout Waterfront in Cape Town at the weekend.
We fell in love with the gifted and inventive South African and African designers that showcased their artistic freedom.
Our amazing fashion week journey started off when we met the extremely passionate and deep Jason Samuel, creative director of the Nigerian luxury fashion label “Jason Porshe”.
“My collection is very personal as it was inspired by my desire to travel the world and my vision for it is to become global.”
He has always supported local and stocks Made in Nigeria brands in his store.
“Part of my vision is to help Africa get to where it should be on the world map. It’s something I’m definitely working on and excited about.
“My advice to every young designer in Africa is to keep doing yourself, stay true to who you are and continue working hard to be successful.”
There is something very special about this man, watch this space!
Atto Tetteh, a menswear brand based in Ghana, showed us that Africa truly has a story that is yet to be told - an inspiration he pulls into his designs.
“Our inspiration comes from a variety of things - sometimes very serious and sometimes whimsical. All my inspiration has an authentic African story behind it,” said creative director Atto.
Atto feels that South Africa is a very open country where risks are taken, as opposed to in West Africa where people are quite conservative.
“They don’t want too many colours and are very gentle. The industry here is more vibrant and accepting. I think menswear in Africa is growing and people are getting to know what’s out there.”
He believes what we have to do is support our own. “Because when it comes to fashion, it’s what is cool and we make it cool.”
Tokyo James, the British Nigerian designer and creative director who has been in the fashion industry for over 19 years, blew us away with his astounding designs.
He said his collection was tied to “the alien in town” and was based on him meeting his father for the first time and that he was the alien in James’ life as he gets to know this individual.
“Predominantly I draw inspiration from Africa and London.”
James believed the way forward was investing in local brands.
Nao Serati, a contemporary athliesure brand in Johannesburg, focuses on unisex garments and was founded by Neo Serati Mofammerein in 2014.
He draws inspiration from the Japanese Miyabi aesthetic of balancing between the perfect and imperfect and erasing the toxic to bring forth the untoxic.
They believe supporting local is the only way to ensure growth in their industry. “If we keep taking from international markets and not feeding into our own then it will only make our fashion industry more compressed.
“We are quite a force and very diverse in culture. We as local people need to support our own so that we can take brands into the international industry,” - something that Platform23 is all about!
The established designer Amanda Cherry, from ALC Label ALC Menswear, focuses on ready-to-wear garments designed and styled for a conscious individual.
“My inspiration for this collection comes from memories of swimming in the sea in Cape Town, walking on the sand, getting into the water and just floating. Having that sense of power, but also feeling calm - that was the feeling we wanted to evoke.”
She added that in this range the overarching aesthetic was South African or African root influence mixed with Japanese.
“I love the way the Japanese can create balance through asymmetry and that’s what we tried to create - beauty through things that are not symmetrical.”
Papa Oyeyemi is the creative director of Maxivive, a Nigerian brand that focuses on the idea of minimalism and androgyny.
“Most of the time my inspiration is drawn from personal relationships, conversations, human behaviours and ambitions.
“This collection is inspired by me thinking that if I can’t buy myself a private jet now because I can’t afford it, then I should be able to get a billionaire to buy me one.
“So, this line is what you will possibly wear before, during and after your wedding to the billionaire.”
Oyeyemi is very supportive about supporting local brands, investing in the market and buying locally. “It’s all about empowering and selling local brands.”
Other designers included:
GOOD GOOD GOOD, a functional clothing brand manufactured in a family factory in Cape Town; the fashion and art brand One I AM by Onesimo Bam; gender free clothing brand Ellen Madie; diverse and versatile brand XM; Ghanaian based ethical fashion brand Hazza, as well as Chu Suwannapha, who is a familiar face on the local fashion scene.
A final word:
Well done to all the hugely talented designers that we had the privilege of meeting. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for Platform23 to attend this year’s South African menswear fashion week.
Exciting news - we have more than 10 brands joining us on Platform23 in the next two months. Keep an eye on our site to be the first to see their incredible designs.
Visit our social platforms to see photos and videos from the show.