As part of the Africa Fashion International’s Fast Track class of 2016, Nhlanhla Timothy Masemola sure had a lot to prove. In a group that includes Elly Setshego Maswanganye’s succinct reinterpretation of youth inspired menswear, Masemola somehow managed to find a unique perspective to tackle her capsule from.
From the first look, it is obvious that Masemola’s collection is inspired by women and youth culture. She takes a microscope to the aesthetic common among teenage girls, her clothes a comment on their simultaneous obsession with self loathing and abject narcissism. The collection tracks how these feelings never leave, but simply mutate. She takes the classic girls uniform for a spin, swapping skirts for culottes and jackets for a sleeveless midi-length trench over a white shirt that with exaggerated crosses over the breasts, makes quite the statement.
The rest of the collection is littered with visceral statements like this. Masemola sends culottes with laced up thigh high slits down the runway paired with a sweat shirt with massive fur sleeves, ‘Loozer’ appliqued onto the shirt’s bust. There are patchwork skirts that remind vaguely of school uniforms and re-imagined dress shirts. And just when we feel we have the collection all figured out, Masemola throws us for a loop with a grandiose fur coat.
As a designer Masemola has an uncanny grasp of deconstruction of stereotypes, that’s a skill very few designers ever master, especially this early in their careers. It is something she should hold on to.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.