One of the bigger trends at the 2016 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg was an explosion of colour. This was especially true of the menswear label’s that showed, with designers like Elly Setshego Maswanganye and Ntando Ngwenya tackling earth tones and brightly hued denim.
So it was an interesting turn to see emerging designer Karabo Joas Mokgoatlheng offer us an all black collection.
The Africa Fashion International Fasttrack showcase is the platform under which Mokgoatlheng was offered a coveted a spot to showcase his label to the same buyers as David Tlale and Marianne Fassler. He uses this opportunity with great precision. The collection is spun around the singular idea of re-imagined mens outerwear. The limitations of having to show only six looks actually works to his advantage here, forcing him to stay spartan in his construction and design.
The results are fascinating.
He sells us classic quilted bomber jackets, tailored to perfection to ease us in before he begins to experiment. He slips in an uneven zip-up quilted bomber jacket that is cut just so that when the jacket isn’t closed up, it is easy to miss the obvious asymmetry. His overlong trench is just as innovative, with is cropped sleeves and button closures.
Even when he missteps with a sheer bomber jacket with breast pocket detailing, it isn’t that the jacket isn’t well made, its just that it is a concept that has become overworked. A proper collection where he can fully invest in the minute detailing that elevate a jacket is something we’d be privileged to see.
Along with meggings, his interpretation of culottes and interesting shirt silhouettes, Mokgoatlheng offers us a collection that is tame at first glance but is really a trove of easter eggs for people who care about the details.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.