SA Fashion Week 16: Urban Zulu is both ancient and modern

As one of the label mixed collections at the 2016 South African Fashion Week, Papy Kaluw’s Urban Zulu has a lot to prove. One of the labels that has come to limelight at the SA Fashion Week Business of Fashion support platform, Urban Zulu has been able to reach a wide swath of buyers with its message of sustainability and indigenous production.

The label’s Spring 16 collection is its most literal, drawing inspiration from the name. It takes and reinterprets traditional Zulu dress by adding contemporary elements.  Traditional embroidery techniques are used to jazz up contemporary pieces, embroidered bodices provide contrast to full tulle skirts and fishtail dresses. The label also experiments with agendered silhouettes with its menswear pieces, a fitted tunic with striped hems and flared sleeves complement the dark skin of a model.

The designer also relies heavily on African inspired wax prints, using it largely for detailing. Wax print inserts adorn a tunic, and flare over the shoulders of another model in a layered micro-cape. By and large, the womenswear pieces are more cohesive and stronger than the menswear pieces.

Kaluw closes out the collection with a traditional Zulu ensemble, complete with uncured leather headband and leopard print peplumed pants. Its quite the jarring finish to a sublime collection.

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