SA Mens Spring 17: Martin Kadinda offers the perfect summer uniform.

Eponymous South African design label Martin Kadinda was one of the real highlights of the South Africa Menswear Week Fall cycle. His innovative use of African inspired wax print motifs was inspired, creating some of the most distinctive print blazers and ensembles we’d seen out of Africa in both menswear and women’s wear. When a designer reaches such heights with a collection, there is a collective sense of apprehension for their follow up collection, an implied pressure to exceed or at least match the level of quality and ingenuity. For Spring 17, Martin Kadinda chooses to do neither, and instead takes us on the perfect holiday.

A literal holiday uniform is what the designer sends down the runway. There are is still a strong presence of African print wax, but this time they serve a supporting role, as Kadinda’s interpretation of the perfect pair of beach shorts. Mid-thigh and cuffed at the hem, they suggest a kind of sensuality and assertiveness that we rarely see in African menswear. But the real star of this collection is Kadinda’s literal rainbow of short sleeved casual shirts, a literal gamble considering the Spring 17 roster of SA Mens has the most prestigious list of designers we’ve seen yet.

Kadinda takes the classic Hawaiian, bleaches it of colour and works in subtle details instead. External pockets, zip closures, cowl necklines, starched collars, Kadinda tries them all. Combined with the straw hats and Kadinda’s accessory of the season, polka dot carry bags, each looks is distinctly summer inspired. This is easily the least fussy collection shown at SA Mens this year, and it is so clued into the season thematically, and so devoid of artifice that it actually disarms us.

Kadinda proves that sometimes, stepping completely away from what made you great can be just as rewarding for a design as constantly pushing boundaries.

PHOTO CREDIT: 

Simon Deiner/SDR Photo

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