I’ve enjoyed the modernised African references that have come through so far on the AW14 menswear runways – notably at Agi & Sam, A Sauvage and Stella Jean. I’m hoping we’ll see more at the forthcoming women’s shows. As much as I like traditional kente cloth and wax-style prints, it’s good to see a more varied approach to ‘Africa’ that moves on from Masai beading and casually draped robes.
At LC:M, London-based Adrien Sauvage‘s debut catwalk show referenced his Ghanaian roots, with sweatshirts featuring the crossed-out faces of Ghanaian military leaders. I loved the skinny tailoring and youth culture classics (biker jackets, bombers, tartan pants) as well as the beatnik-y sunglasses by Eye Respect.
Agi & Sam are never predictable, their AW14 show was a refined and bold comment on first world meets third world – all in an unexpectedly muted colour palette. These bold jackets and tunic tees featuring graphics from imaginary African oil companies struck a chord, while the oversized black and white plaid coats had echoes of 80s multi-cultural Buffalo style.
Showing her second menswear collection at Pitti, Rome-based Stella Jean always starts with ‘African’ print and develops from there. For AW14, her silhouettes were multicultural – British tweed coats, kimono-inspired jackets and two-piece suits. This time her prints were miniaturised to the point that you can’t tell what they are, but the colours are beautifully harmonised.
Finally, proof that Africa is trending (and a ripe market that brands and marketers have their beady eye on), here’s the new Guinness ad that celebrates the dandyish Sapeurs of the Congo…