What does it mean for a label to have a minimalist aesthetic?
That’s a question I find myself asking of Nigerian labels. Every other month a new label appears out of the slush pile with a collection that they have proudly labelled as ‘minimalist’ and ask us to marvel at the creative genius that has wrought this ‘masterpiece’. Often the collection itself is pedestrian and devoid of innovation, but because the design team has chosen to not use bright colours and prints or exaggeration, we are supposed to marvel.
Emerging menswear label Dumebi just put out a new editorial for their Spring 17 debut collection ‘Repose’. Fronted by Nonso Umeofia and Temisan Emmanuel, the label shows ten looks of classic menswear staples like tunics, blazers, dress slacks and sleeveless vest with barely there detailing and accessorizing. The collection is obviously well tailored and the cuts work well with the model’s bodies but is this collection minimalist? I guess the fuck not.
Here’s a short lesson on minimalism.
Minimalism isn’t simple. Actually minimalism is the opposite of simple. The inimitable eponymous brand built by japanese heavyweight Yohji Yamamoto is at it’s core a minimalist label, and has remained a minimalist label for several decades. But there is nothing that Yohji Yamamoto makes that is ‘simple’ or ‘pedestrian’. Minimalist clothes innovates in such ways that a complex piece of clothing can be worn without any expert knowledge of how the piece was created. Minimalism isn’t showy or self congratulatory, it values function over aesthetic, consistently.
Dumebi’s ‘Repose’ is not minimalist, it is simple and somewhat pedestrian, and perhaps there is a market for that, after all everyone needs good, well tailored clothing, But let us not grant it labels that it most certainly does not deserve.
Clothing: DUMEBI (@dumbebiclothingng)
Creative Direction And Styling: Mag Payne (@magpayne1)
Photographer: Anny Roberts (@anny_robert)
Models: taymesan (@taymesan_) and Nonso Umeofia (@BoiMaffy)
Make Up Artist: Debbie Dosunmu (@debbidosunmu)