Who do we design for?
That’s the question every design label asks when they embark on a new collection. They identify the kind of person they think will want to wear their clothes, look at the trends that are already making waves and find a way to marry both. It’s a delicate balance, and few designers ever really find it. South African design label Imprint ZA delights in dressing the metro-sexual man; a man who isn’t afraid of a tailored pant or a sculpted shirt and when the occasion demands it, a pair of platform wedges.
Msuziki Mbane’s previous collection at the helm of Imprint ZA have relied heavily on abstract concepts and have built on each other, creating a strong narrative for the label. But the collection he shows for Spring 17 at the South Africa Menswear Week is his most abstract, concept driven collection. There is barely any print in this collection and when there is it used as an accent.
What there is a lot of is, unusual shapes. Boxy mesh vests with contrast piping and linen inserts, sleeveless shirts with exaggerated cut-outs that reveal the model’s torso, death defying v-necked vests that dip straight to the model’s crotch; all decisions you would nary expect from a menswear label. You wouldn’t expect skorts, skirts and trousers with strip ties on them either, but Mbane tries it all, and gets away with most of it. You might not see anyone in this collection on the street, but Mbane shows it is possible to bring an edge into menswear without coming off as desperate or needlessly controversial.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo.