While many menswear labels in Africa preoccupy themselves with contemporary fashion and finding ways to intersect that with African aesthetics and sensibilities, a few African menswear brands are primarily concerned with what is often referred to as ‘traditional menswear,’ pre-colonial formal menswear dresses that survived colonialization and the subsequent erosion of traditional dress and culture. These custodian labels seek to add contemporary elements to traditional menswear and introduce it to the younger, more cosmopolitan African. Sir Mac, one of the labels that showed on day one of the Accra Mens Fashion Week seems to be one of those labels.
The label takes on the traditional two piece kaftan, and tries to update it using several techniques; colour blocking, embellishing with buttons and asymmetric inserts were some of the label’s preferred methods. The label also uses extensive embroidery (a widespread technique for updating traditional pieces) and unconventional fabric choices.
The Sir Mac label has some deft tailoring and an impressive understanding of traditional menswear techniques but ultimately this collection is disappointing, when compared to some of the other designers who showed at AMFW.
We would have loved to see Sir Mac truly experiment with these silhouettes, explore proportions and how they can distort and flatter the male silhouette, especially in Ghanaian traditional menswear that has interesting silhouettes like the Nwentoma smock and the layered kente wrap. It seems such a waste that all we get is colour blocking.
Photo Credit: Qwesie Asephua Photography