It may be said that the success of runway fashion is deduced by the influence it has on the attendees. It is not only professionals, but our peers that spark inspiration. I would have to deem this phenomenon, “The Show Without A Show”. Sauntering bodies show off their personal portfolio of style, while awaiting the productions of South Africa’s creative designers.
The new venue, The Cape Town City Hall, provided a fresh regal energy with its marble stairs and gold railing. South African Menswear Week always showcases an array of styles and influences. There are some designers who surprise the audience with shocking change, designers who please with their recognisable “look” and finally, there are those designers who may be classified as iconic. Chu Suwannapha’s Chulaap collection was undoubtedly the standout of SAMW. What made Chu’s work so brilliant was that one could appreciate his well known, vibrant prints, but also see the collection in a new and independent light. Layers of pastel and bright print gave the outfits a greater depth. In the words of this standout designer, “Every print tells a story”.
Other standout designers included Terrence Bray, Tokyo James and Unknown Union. Terrence Bray showcased patchwork style narration. The collection included a variety of colours and textures, making for a sensory experience. Tokyo James was made up of a great juxtaposition; gentle patterns against dark leather looks. Unknown Union created a unique runway experience as live drumming accompanied the tribal influenced garments. This year, it was clear that many designers elevated the runway experience. Imprint’s presentation outside the City Hall drew a curious crowd. The powerful blue and yellow prints were worn by models that cascaded down the steps and through a live dance performance. It is clear that SAMW is evolving in the experience that it offers.
Attending a fashion event that promotes individuality, creativity and confidence, means that one can indulge in their fashion fantasies. Personally, I take on a narrative when dressing for SAMW, the construction of my outfit is born out this innate storytelling process.
Knowing the process through which I dress myself, my curiosity led me to question a few other attendees, about not only their personal approach, but their experience of SAMW and its impact. The following questions were posed:
- How would you describe your approach to dressing for SAMW?
- What was your favourite collection and why?
- What does SAMW mean to the fashion industry
Andrew Murphy (@andrewmurphy94)
- My approach to dressing for SAMW was inspired by gender fluidity and the future style. My outfit on day one was all female clothes and that’s exciting because it’s not exactly a “social norm” but that’s what I believe is the future of fashion; clothing stores having no gender departments but instead, one massive floor. My second outfit was inspired by a females pants suit. Again, wanting to shift away from what’s expected.
- My favourite collection has got to be CHULAAP just because he’s got an eye for mixing patterns that even gives Versace a run for their money.
- SAMW to the fashion industry means opportunity. Opportunity because you get a chance to see and potentially own something that forms part of a designers being, thought process, feelings, emotions, hard work. And we get to wear it, I think that’s awesome.
Nicolas van Graan (@nicolasvangraan)
- I dress how I feel on the day, and I’ll only wear things I like and feel comfortable in.
- I’d have to say Sol-Sol, this was my third time walking for them and I really admire how the brand has grown and evolved over the past few years.
- I think for Cape Town specifically it’s one of the most anticipated events because it’s where we get to see what all our local brands are bringing for the upcoming seasons.
Bryanah Marais (@bryanahmarais)
- Dressing up for SAMW, I try to reflect my own style as much as possible while also promoting new young south african designers with my choices, this year I wore Fagin Cleo, who is just breaking into the industry and has so much talent.
- My favourite collection would have to be Nao Serati for day 1, he’s always pushing the boundary on gendered clothing and it’s exciting to see. Day two’s favourite collection is Chulaap, Chu really came through with a great show with amazing new prints and textiles and it’s the breath of fresh air we needed. The addition of the masks made it all the more creative.
- SAMW is great for promoting current and new menswear designers in south africa, it’s always fascinating to see what boundaries can be pushed through fashion.
Anuell Ahmar (@anuell_ahmar)
- My personal approach is “styling” based. I simply open my closet and formulate a picture with the items I already have. A bit of reinvention with the old. But the styling will set the look apart.
- Chulaap by Chusuwannapha. The clean lines, the structured approach to garment construction as opposed to silhouettes with excessive mobility, the contrast yet perfect marriage between prints, superb styling and great understanding of AW18.
- As Menswear fashion continuously experience change, the demand for newness in the industry is paramount. Hence a platform such as SAMW simply promotes seasonal newsness paired with the elevation of both established and emerging designers.
Shakeel Toefy (@shaktoefy)
- With any multi day event I always try and give each day a specific theme and build my look around that. Experimenting is a must and there’s no better place to do it than a fashion show.
- Chulaap without a doubt. Chu is known for his clashing prints and somehow manages to release collections that are all so unique but can be easily identified as a Chulaap piece.
- SAMW is one of many crucial events on the SA fashion calendar as it provides a platform for local designers to showcase their work as well as allowing creatives an opportunity to network with the best in the business.
Tash Toefy (@tashtoefy)
- Fashion, regardless of the occasion, to me has always been an outlet to express my emotion and that’s how I go about dressing for fashion weeks (with some experimenting as fashion weeks are very safe spaces when it comes to experimentation). You’ve got to feel it. Confidence and comfortability in yourself makes the outfit that much better.
- Chulaap is definitely always a favourite. There’s something encapsulating in the way he manages to pull off all of those patterns and colours into a cohesive collection. The faceless models also added a mysterious element to the show which I enjoyed.
- SAMW provides a space where not only designers can showcase their collections but the attendees can show off their own outfits and market themselves. Networking is a key aspect to the industry so any event that holds any kind of stature is one that is worth attending, simply because it allows for you to meet new people and form new relationships.
Lucia Ma- right (@gucci.airbag)
- When it comes to SAMW, I don’t overthink. I remain true to my individual style which is high-end streetwear.
- GOOD GOOD GOOD. Aside from other brands, GGG combines quirky illustrations with streetwear which I love. It’s inspiring to welcome a new brand that’s so innovative.
- SAMW creates a platform where we can celebrate the rise of menswear in South Africa.
Thandile Kayiyana (@thandilekay)
- Dressing up for SAMW is always a hassle because one has to find something that suits and looks good.
- My favourite collection has to be Issa Leo.
- Growth, that’s about the only thing I can recognise in Cape Town.
Siyavuya Adoniger Dondolo (@stylecandyofficial)
- I love being very unique and exploring my creative abilities by playing with colours, prints & patterns & accessories as if I am a part of the show. Standing out allows you to not just turn heads, but to break necks too.
- Rosey & Vittori, they always keep me excited each time they showcase their collections. Their attention to detail and eye catching styles always inspire my styling ideas for my shoots or everyday wear. They are bold and daring enough to leave me wanting more.
- For me it means that local talent gets the chance to be celebrated and it brings various brands, creatives and corporates together; where photographer’s, models, stylists, designers, bloggers and make-up artists etc. get to network and create their own opportunities. Plus the designers collections get to be seen by the world through publications and social media where they get to make money and gain new clients, while creating employment for those part of the production team that bring everything to life.
The Show Without A Show- the tangible power of runway fashion. The next SAMW will undoubtedly bring the cool and creative creatures.