After South Africa Menswear Week, which was almost entirely dominated by explorations of the excesses and limitations of conventional gender norms and an embrace of androgyny and agendered clothing, we had our eyes on the menswear labels slated to show at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg to see if the trend would spread here. It has, somewhat. South African designer Buda Malete’s eponymous label was part of this year’s Africa Fashion International Fast track showcase, which gives emerging designers the platform to showcase alongside the country’s more established brands and hopefully find buyers and funding.
There was a twist to this year’s showcase, the designers were paired with South African personalities and asked to design a collection that encapsulated their brand values as well as the celebrity’s personal aesthetic. Buda Malete got Dj Tira, and what they created together was normcore at it’s most adventurous. The Normcore trend rose in prominence over the last decade as a sort of rebellion against the hyper stylized, concept driven collections of the late 90’s. People wanted to look as normal as possible while wearing excellently designed and tailored pieces. It was minimalism but for the street performer.
Malete makes things interesting with his colour and textural choices, much of the collection is done in blush pink velour, olive green corduroy and white tarpaulin, all with the kind of gleam a normcore enthusiast would rather die than wear. But in this singular instance it works, the cropped bomber jackets and oversized tees, are slouchy in a way that suggests lived in. The pants are cropped and rolled up, calf high socks help finish off the look.
Of all the labels in the fast track showcase, Buda is the only one that truly achieves a look, a look that is both straight off the rack wearable and not at all conventional. We would kill to see what he does with a much larger project.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo