Just in from SAMW – six examples of grand ideas materialised as wearable and intelligently designed clothing
By Daniël Geldenhuys
The best collections at SA Menswear Week AW19 had one thing in common: a profound sense of self-knowledge. Designers, both emerging and renowned, showed collections that enriched their brand narratives and proposed plenty a viable autumn/winter dressing solution. This season more than ever before, grand ideas materialised as wearable and intelligently designed clothing. In order of their appearance on the runway, here's our hit list.
This pristinely edited, refreshingly succinct collection felt like a new manifesto for the brand. It's summed up perfectly in the white-sweater-and-light-camo-trouser look. Unmistakably 2Bop with an unexpected twist, it's the ideal melting pot of known and new.
Designer Brendan Sturrock delivered a landmark collection for the brand that fused artistic aesthetics and commercial sensibility in a highly intelligent way. The collection was abuzz with exciting ideas and grand statements that can be worn as such or broken down into easy-wearing separates: the tie-dye ensemble is a perfect case in point.
Serati served saturated hues, sequins and skirts - everything you'd expect from the runway's most important spokesperson for queer identity. With that in mind, it's interesting to see the designer explore the more traditional codes of menswear, finding ways to fold them into his wonderfully flamboyant house codes. This season, it manifested as a check jacket and trousers, reddest of red (to match your beard and Crystal Birch church hat, should you so choose) with literal flare down the right leg.
The sandy pastel hues of Cape Town's famous fynbos inspired Coutts' winter palate. Rendered in his signature chunky knitwear, played out on scarves and fantastic corduroy trousers, it felt refreshingly optimistic for winter. His shaggy-sleeved cream jacket (styled just as he'd wear it IRL with shorts, socks and sneakers) stood out for its contemporary luxurious appeal.
Work construction, but make it fashion. Rome Wepener's sophomore runway collection was optimistically bold in its colour-block colour-contrasts and perfectly polished in its details. What really sets the brand apart are the humorous details (like liquid-filled lunchbox sling bags with neon yellow pom-poms) that suddenly become desirable.
The category is apocalyptic boldness. James knows good suiting and this season's acid pink print, belted with matching blanket over shoulder, felt simultaneously utilitarian and reflective of the many displacement narratives so central to current global affairs. The ways in which James interacts with socio-political issues in his collections add a real sense of depth and resonance to his work that goes beyond beautiful clothes and leaves you ready for more.