Thabo Khumalo’s ToVch is part of the vanguard of black Millenial South African designers, raised post apartheid and inspired by a different kind of aesthetic. Since he officially joined the SA Fashion Week showcase circuit, the young designer has sought to incorporate the gender bending aesthetic of Soweto’s street fashion and fine-tune it for a larger stage. His Spring 16 collection continues this exploration, to interesting results.
The collection this season is trend heavy, but Khumalo doesn’t fall into the ruts that entrap many other designers, making them turn their clothes into barely indistinguishable copies of each other. Instead he is able to find subtle ways into softening the most masculine of silhouettes.
He sticks primarily to black, breaking up the melancholy with splashes of tie-dye colour. Multi-hued rope necklaces adorn the necks of his models, and contrast pockets, piping and lapels, draw attention to his unconventional silhouettes. He takes the knitwear trend which was strong at the SA Menswear week (particularly with the Nigerian labels) and puts his spin on it. He also gives us his version of the kimono cape and tackles the sheer trend, using chevron motifs to distract from the skin underneath.
Our favorite piece is ToVch’s version of the classic suit, the look that closes out the collection. He roughens the silhouette, gets rid of the classic dress shirt for a lighter sheer vest and turns it utilitarian with epaulettes and a wide pant seat. This feels like a good metaphor for the label, able to find the grit in the most polished of looks.
Photo Credit: Safashionweek.co.za