African menswear is mutating at a spectacular rate. In West Africa brands like Kenneth Ize, Orange Culture and Tzar push the boundaries of androgyny, expanding the reaches of masculinity. Down south, brands like Jenevieve Lyons and Rich Mnisi draw from South Africa’s newly minted street scene offering us artistic representations of the alternate subcultures that spring up as South Africa’s post apartheid generation struggles to create its own identity.
Then there is Nao Serati.
Founded by Neo Serati Mofammerein in 2014, South African contemporary athleisure brand Nao Serati has created a name for itself with a catalog of gender neutral garments that are heavily influenced by the mechanics and politics of gender and sexuality especially as it affects South Africans. It explores the cross dressing subcultures and the borrowing from womenswear that established culture giants like the Smarties in South Africa, and gave them a public audience. But most of all Nao Serati is subversive, always twisting the narrative and exploring taboo ideas.
The Spring 16 editorial with Zambian super model, Francis Buseko is the most genre pushing editorial we’ve seen in a while. It is provocative without being vulgar and highlights the best parts of the collection. Buseko is a beast in this, and proves why he gained so much attention in such a little while, With a lace up high cut swimsuit, ankle length trenches and pleather shorts, Nao Serati has their eye on the pulse and are ready to change things.