In his tenth year working in the South African fashion industry, Thato Matabane has garnered the kind of experience with both the creative and retail ends of the business that other designers only dream about. He started his career as a visual merchandiser for South African high street retailer Woolworths and that brush with high volume commercial design has greatly influenced what the designer has done with his label AfrikanSwiss.
The collection Matabane debuted at the 2016 SA Fashion Week expands on the elemental aesthetic of his Spring 15 collection. Necklaces inspired by Buddhist prayer beads are carried over into this collection, as are the blues of his last collection. This distinct Asian vibe is contrasted by seashell rattle anklets, embroidered outlines of crossed elephant tusks and replicated prehistoric stick drawings spray painted onto denim.
Matabane softens the blues of his spring 15 collection, variegating with yellow to create an ombre effect. Most of the collection is highly experimental, refining the silhouettes he debuted in the last collection; he streamlines his denim pinafores, widening the straps and deconstructing the silhouette by adding a leather button down closure on the front of the flap and creating a differentiated pant with spray paint. This spray paint technique is used on several other pieces including a denim jumpsuit.
You see Matabane’s commercial eye in his t-shirts, they look like they’ve been broken-in without looking cheap, the slouched neckline adding to it’s sex appeal. This commercial bent helps sell an otherwise high concept collection. And this is AfrikanSwiss’s true hidden ace.
Photo Credit: safashionweek.co.za