This year's South African Menswear Autumn/Winter Collections took place in Cape Town on February 8 and 9. There were three awe-inspiring designers who stood out for us. The first one already forms part of the Platform23 family, the second one will grace your screens soon and the third one we hope to have on board in the near future. Let's meet these talented designers.
Usually Throwaway Twenty does not name their collections as they like to leave it up to the viewer to decide on a title with the feeling it gives them. "Someone at the show named it a "Neon Paradise", which I quite liked," said designer Rome Wepener. Their AW19 collection was inspired by Wepener's dad and the small mining town he grew up in, as well as the opposite career paths they each chose. The protective gear and neon colours were a reflection of that, fused together with his love for a dramatic and indulgent winter where two different worlds perfectly merged together. "The lunch boxes were inspired by old school images of construction workers sitting on scaffolding with their home packed lunches and it was even inspired by the very same lunch box my dad still takes to work with him every day."
Wepener said their target market are boys and guys who enjoy a sense of humour and gravitate towards classic and bold pieces that are a little offbeat but always a little suave too. "This season we went with a bold neon palette that was balanced with muted masculine colours. We combined active fabrics, wools and heavier faux furs that played off the serious yet whimsical elements in the two inspirations along with classic silhouettes that are worn by the everyday man." The shoes worn in the show were custom painted by Ruann Coleman and Wepener felt he was an incredibly talented contemporary artist who they have collaborated with before on a T-shirt artwork series. "It only seemed fitting for his beautiful and bold work to be part of this season."
Their future fashion strategy goal is to establish Throwaway Twenty even further in South Africa before taking it globally by expanding the brand on various platforms so their pieces can be more accessible to their growing audience. "Kids wear is definitely something we'd like to venture into because it fits into our fun and easy going philosophy. Also, the local and global interest in menswear is at an all-time high. Never before have men been more interested in wearing the latest trends and experimenting with fashion in their everyday lives. Menswear is a great vehicle for Throwaway Twenty to express the hunger for individuality and expression by SA men who now are a wonderfully captivated audience," said Wepener.
2. Atto Tetteh
Atto Tetteh's latest winter collection is called Seaman. It was inspired by seafarers - their strength, masculinity, togetherness and bravery in overcoming storms in order to reach their goals and above all the fun with which they do this. "Our target market is fashion forward people - individuals who are concerned about how they look and are not scared to have fun and make a bold statement with their clothes," said designer Atto Tetteh.
The colour palette for this collection was white, navy blue, sea blue, orange with a tint of black. We were a bit experimental with the fabric and worked with leather, cashmere, linen, denim, lace, silks and some shimmer. The theme I carry through each season is the 'happy go lucky' and positive fun mood."
The shoes were designed by Atto Tetteh and made in collaboration with Kasman Fashion Company Limited. While designing the collection, they thought about how to add something extra to the pieces. We therefore came up with the high soles as it perfectly complemented the designs," said Tetteh.
For the future, Tetteh is looking at spreading the reach of the brand to other parts of Africa and Europe. "As a designer I've come to the realisation that men can wear anything. It all depends on the occasion and how it is styled. I'd like to encourage each and every one to always go for their dream and to not be scared to take the next bold step. Often you have to let yourself go and pursue your dreams in spite of the naysayers since they do not see the dreams that you see."
3. Rosey & Vittori
The name of Rosey & Vittori's latest winter collection is called Unafuckingpologetic. "We always aim to be current with what's coming," said designer Steven Rosenbau. We took a lot of inspiration in terms of prints and colours from our travels this year in Europe and tried to interpret it in a simplistic and wearable way."
They describe the perfect person who would love the collection as young, affluent and stylish. These are boundary pushing fashion forward individuals who are looking for that extra edge or aspire to be different." Their signature look holds a lot of animal print, bright and lumo colours as well as hints of Catholicism. "We love using rich coloured, textured fabrics."
Their shoes were by VOSK which is an SA sneaker brand consisting of a community of adventurous spirits who want to make a difference and combat 'shoelessness'. With every pair purchased, they will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. It's pretty simple; you can be an ambassador and part of their community too. We thought this was an awesome initiative and brand association."
Platform23 couldn't agree more and because we wholeheartedly support this vision, VOSK is also available on Platform23.
Rosenbau said the core of their company was the business of fashion and they found solace in designing and manufacturing for many other brands. "This trains us to apply the best of what we learn to our brand. We are aiming to fine-tune the brand in such a way as to strike a creative chord with every fashion forward thinker in SA and abroad. This does not happen overnight."
The designer felt that men's fashion was fast becoming a dominant player in the industry as a whole. "Men are becoming more expressive in who they are and what they wear. By incorporating some ladies looks in the collection we want to remind everyone of how gender fluid this industry has become, blurring lines between men's and ladies' wear. Mixing basics with unique and stand out pieces. This was the case in most collections this season - colours mixed with bold and stand out pieces."
He added that being unapologetic came through the strap line of the collection. "Individualism is key in menswear and fashion as a whole, at least in this day and age. We want people to start being unapologetic about who they are this year - the underlying theme of our collection. To celebrate who we are as individuals, no matter what form, shape or colour. Wake up in the morning and let your style choice reflect your individualism."