At The Other Style, we have held on to two reasons to stay hopeful that the Accra Mens Fashion Week 2016 would introduce some new and important voices in West African menswear. The first is that Ghana has always been a more accommodating country, partly because of it’s long history of matriarchal cultures that persist to this day, and second, AMFW 2016 was throwing it’s doors open and inviting designers from Francophone West African countries, a distinction that only the Lagos Fashion and Design Week has had before now.
The invited designers have represented, the labels with the home advantage however, not so much.
Adji Style is one of the later. In principle, its new collection should be a winner. The label seems to want to modify traditional menswear silhouettes, bringing them to the 21st century. This is a design idea many African labels play with and Adji Style comes closer than most using extensive embroidery and plays on silhouettes. It also throws in some modern staples, like the lined blazer and the print jacket but it doesn’t go far enough on either end of the spectrum to produce something completely new.
Like many of the labels at the showcase, Adji Style completely neglects the lower half of the model or potential buyers. Adji Styles did better than most, actually bothering to take into consideration the colour and cut of their trousers, but apart from the single pair of pleather pants, the entire collection was one factory line of repeated menswear trouser tropes.
We are beginning to recognize menswear labels helmed by designers and creative directors without formal training, at least here in West Africa. There seems to be a fear of experimentation, an unwillingness to expand the limits of menswear, explore the new possibilities available as a designer with an audience, to innovate.
Photo Credit: Qwesie Asephua Photography