South Africa is a virtual hotbed of design genius, churning out several of the best names in African fashion between its four fashion weeks. With that much comeptition and innovation, emerging labels are forced to look further and search deeper for a brand identity and a distinct point of view when creating their own labels.
Dutch based South African artist Esaias chose introspection as muse for her debut collection as a designer under her new label Rhuma. Called ‘Supreme Woman’ the spring 16 collection seeks to identify and celebrate matrilineal relationships and the bonds between mothers and daughters.
To do this, the designer looks to domestic life and its minutae, replicating basic home dresses like the headscarf, the classic midi-sleeved shift dress, the basic blazer and the scoop neck blouse, done in linen, silk and cashmere. There are no frills, save for the occasional complementary piping and the slightly exaggerated or de-emphasized silhouette. She breaks this near monotony with occasional splashes of blood orange, and a graphic monochrome print of stylized impression of tribal women of indeterminate origins, splayed on bomber jackets and scarves.
What Esaias manages is an interesting take on the nomcore trend filtered through an African lens. There is none of the angst that colours international nomcore trends, which translates as a rejection of ‘high fashion’. Instead Esaias celebrates the ordinary, helping us see our mothers and grandmothers with new eyes.