Menswear fashion breaks boundaries of what is comfortable and what is not

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JahnKoy's colourful, tribal collection at the Lexus South African Menswear Week A/W 2017 (Lexus SAMW) spoke to issues of displacement in today's world. Lexus SAMW took place on Friday and Saturday at The Palms in Woodstock, Cape Town.

CAPE TOWN – Fashion doesn’t dictate to what should be; however fashion does take into account the signs of the times and tries to make sense of it all.

What men should wear and should not wear is an ongoing conversation and this was apparent during the last day of the Lexus South African Menswear Week (Lexus SAMW) on Saturday as designers interpreted the times we are living in and conveyed their reflections to the audience.

Colourful, interesting socks; splashes of bold colour – turquoise, fuschia pink, greens, mustard yellows, reds, oranges, and aqua; and attention to detail will make for happy feet and add a spicy flavour to the chilly autumn and winter months.

Designers pushed boundaries and perceptions of what was deemed acceptable and not acceptable when it comes to menswear.

JahnKoy’s colourful range incorporated flags of different countries in the world and tribal elements, reflecting the chaos happening in the world today as many people are displaced from their homes for varying reasons.

The range carried a sporty, fun look, while at the same time sending out a strong, serious message about displacement in the world.

Traffic cones set up on the runway indicated the many different forms of red tape people encounter as they move from one place to another, trying to start new lives in new places. Signposts pointing to “One Way, One People, One World” served to remind audiences that people need to work with other people to reach their dreams.

MerweMode’s designer Deeva van der Merwe, known for her attention to detail in her corsetry, challenged perceptions and boundaries of dressing the male models in bridal gowns and body fitting bodices.

The question is: in a world where perceptions and debates around gender and gender fluidity is being challenged and spoken about would men actually be comfortable wearing these garments associated with women and femininity?

Rich Mnsini’s collection, which consisted of fine tailoring with touches of dramatic notes and beautifully crafted high waist trousers, would appeal to men who enjoy sophistication, yet want to display their creative side.

Nigerian designer Maxivive’s wet range showcased attention to fabric, detail, and fabric dyeing in traditional ways.

Mai Atafo brought denim outfits and velvet blazers that would appeal to the streetwise man who also wants to look dapper at an event.

With clothes becoming increasingly androgynous in a sense, fitting both men and women in certain respects, streetwear and contemporary fashion label Unknown Union incorporated both female and male models who defied the norms of what models should look like and showcased the outfits to drive this point home.

At the end of the day, while comfort, beauty, and structured tailoring form an important part of anyone’s wardrobe, the bottom line is that the African man should feel comfortable and confident in what he wears while stepping out of comfort zones into those at times uncomfortable growth zones and still be an astute global player.