Tafadzwa Zimoyo Arts Reporter
Radio personality and arts critic Larry Kwirirayi on Wednesday left the country to take part at the inaugural “South African Menswear Week Show”, which is taking place in Cape Town.
The debut show began yesterday and runs until Sunday and will see about 24 South African menswear designers showcasing their products.
According to the organisers, the second show is pencilled for later this year, while a highlight show will take place in Johannesburg this July.
The show is solely dedicated to men’s wear in Africa, seeking to provide the best opportunities for designers.
In an interview with this reporter, Kwirirayi said was excited to take part in the initiative as a writer.
“Menswear week promises to be a big fashion show on the African content. Taf the Taylor is the only Zimbabwean participating with Bulawayo fashionistas Mbo Mahocs and Gilmore Tee attending. I am going to create content for the show and I am being hosted by MAC cosmetics,” he said.
He said locally, fashion needs to be in everyday conversation.
“We need to start talking about it in less sophisticated terms. We need to go for the look good, feel good approach. And also teach on dressing for the occasion.
“This business of going to watch theatre or to an awards show with football jersey should be stopped. I am hoping to talk to as many designers as possible and create linkages for how we can start having the conversation here. Maybe by telling their story we can find our story as well,” he said.
The blogger said, fashion is often associated with the elite and the niche.
“It is seen as a unique world reserved for certain people, yet we live it every single day. A guy dresses in a certain way because he will get a lady’s attention or because he will fit into a crowd,” he said.
Owner and founder of SA Menswear Week, Ryan Beswick said this is a good opportunity for African designers.
“This worthy initiative is not only about providing and building a platform where designers can showcase their collections, but also providing a sound business case with marketing and promotion opportunities for designers to grow their brands.
“It is modelled along the lines of London Collections — men that we admire and are our big fans hence it should be sleek. SA designers will get to showcase in London which is super,” he said.
Beswick said men should not be left out when it comes to fashion.
“Almost every fashion show we have ever witnessed has a huge focus on women and very little attention is given to curating clothes for men. We kind of feel like an afterthought so we dress badly not by design but by accident.
“This is especially true on the continent where we sometimes dress like rats in a hedge because we are men.
“So the fact that the continent now has a show specifically at men’s aesthetics makes us feel a little relevant. The fact that it is open to the designers from the whole continent also means a huge opportunity for cross-cultural links,” he said.