The South African menswear landscape is pretty much unique. Nowhere else in Africa will you find so many menswear designers actively challenging the status quo and creating clothes are truly ‘fashion forward’. This is amazing, granted, but it also presents a very real problem, where does the ordinary guy who wants to buy into high fashion but leads a lifestyle that requires him to maintain some level of formality go to buy innovative clothing? He goes to Issa Leo.
This informercial perfectly encapsulates Issa Leo, blonde and rugged.
The South African design label which started as an apparel brand in 2011 and grew into a bonafide design label in 2013 has always focused on classic menswear pieces and accessories and works closely with local artisans. They bring their urban millenial aesthetic South Africa Menswear Week breaking up the stream of high concept collections and offering us an alternative we can just throw on.
Issa Leo sells ‘cool’, the kind that has been iterated in various forms in all the menswear magazines. Dressed up without looking deliberately so, clothes that fit perfectly while seeming as though they were merely picked out of a pile and thrown on. Urban streetwear dominates the collection, water proof bomber jackets and straight leg denim, accessorized with the label’s line of baseball hats.
But the label’s collection this season is truly defined by its jackets. Issa Leo understands the menswear jacket implicitly and shows us just how imaginative they can be with a single item. A tan cropped trench coat with leather pocket detailing sits high on a model’s shoulders, its lapel stiff around his ears. Deconstructed sweat shirts, leather and suede jackets, and gorgeous muted blazer contrasted by an iridescent reworked shirt round out the offers this season.
This collection will find its way into many wardrobes this season, and for good reason. You can never have too many good jackets.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photos