Menswear is a tricky tightrope to traverse.
Because of the severely restrictive social norms, opportunities for self expression through clothing for men are few and far between. Only recently did the unspoken ban on brightly coloured suits become less taboo (thanks to all pervasive pop culture). This is at total contrast with fashion as an artistic endeavour which seeks to constantly challenge what is possible or acceptable. Finding a balance between these two (as one ensures a designer can stay fed and the other provides satisfaction, the critical reception from peers and audience) is the elusive goal of every designer.
The struggle for balance is evident in the new Dasebre classics collection debuted at the 2016 Kumasi Fashion Week. An exclusive menswear brand in a showcase that saw many designers show mixed collections, it seemed quite the gamble, one that only barely paid off.
Dasebre leans too heavily towards commercialising his pieces that most of the collection he is barely innovating, merely offering us varieties of the same thing. The shirts and vests he sends down the runway are well tailored and offer us a mixture of solid colours and vibrant prints, merged in interesting ways.
He uses the prints mostly as an applique motif creating fern patterns, block squares and negative space. He puts this to best use in a tawny brown shirt with eerie ghost like figures standing hauntingly on a bib like applique. But at the end of the day, his shirts and vests are just that, shirts and vests. There is little to separate him for any high street retailer, or any mass market brand.
When he does take his experimentation further, sending dress pants colour blocked with kente print fabric, this mix replicated on a matching bowtie, the effect comes off clownish instead of sophisticated.
A platform like Kumasi Fashion Week seems an opportunity squandered for Dasebre Classics.
Photo Credit: Chasquido Studios.