Couture D’Afrique, the continental showcase at the Africa Fashion International (AFI) organized Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg talks a big game, creating much need exposure for brilliant labels from across the continent looking to attract international audiences. And it has lived up to this promise, with designers from Southern, East and West Africa showing. One of the labels of interest is Rwandan design house House Baso.
Rising in the aftermath of the rebuilding after the country’s great tragedy and it’s socio-political shift from a partriarchal to a pro-feminist public identity with women in charge of the country’s political, economic and financial spheres, fashion has gone beyond accessorizing to a matter of identity and Haute Baso uses this new medium for self expression.
The label’s Spring 17 collection is nothing like the trend driven, fad heavy collections many design labels have been showing all year, chasing the proverbial money from the ‘off shoulder’ trend. But Haute Baso’s collection is also disinterested in pomp or frills. Full of military inspired accents (the second we’ve seen this season after Marianne Fassler’s) Haute Baso offers a practical, near utilitarian collection full of gorgeous wrap skirts, mini trenches, camouflage bomber jackets and blouses and blouse satin halter tops. The Baso woman this season has somewhere to go, and is appropriately dressed to get there.
If there is anything fashion women of Africa lack when they choose to buy from the continent is multi-functional minimalist clothing and Haute Baso fills that niche beautifully. This is one collection that needs to go viral and insanely successful.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo