It’s not very often that a debut menswear collection intrigues.
There are almost always too many forces of work at play when creating a menswear collection, a tightrope of marketability and balancing counterweights of innovation, versatility and restrictive notions of hyper masculinity. Menswear can sometimes be tragically stoic, especially in Africa where holding on to one’s notions of masculinity is pivotal to identity. JSQ by DVOY (JSQ a contraction of the french phrase Je Ne Sais Quoi) seems to have found a way to walk the tight rope and reach the other end largely untouched, with a collection that speaks for itself.
The themes shine most brightly on ‘Bridged by Paradise’, a contrast of hardness and softness, constantly played off each other. Using well worn menswear dress trends like print inserts and panels in blocks of colour, JSQ manages to find just the right balance to keep their clothes fresh instead of dated. It helps that the prints used in the collection are muted, complementing the monochromatic base colours of the clothes instead of contrasting them. This combined with the label’s experimentation with unusual closures and cloth jacket shapes is the final trick needed to sell us on the collection.
Some of the execution could have been done much better, but it is a debut collection and we’ll overlook that based on the merit of the ideas driving the collection. In all, a fine debut.
Photography: Conrad Jonson-Omodiagbe