Generally the local menswear scene is confined by narrow traditions, a dull palette and little variety, but these three collections that closed off SA Fashion Week recently showed the tremendous scope and possibility for SA Menswear.
To the untrained eye, Roman Handt’s collection, with its bold asymmetrical spiky forms, appeared as an indulgent folly: Eveningwear for amoebas, if you will, but speaking to Handt, who has produced simpler collections in the past, it’s evident how deep and considered the thought process actually was.
The range, “Systematic,” he explains, “is all about implementing new ways of thinking into the local fashion industry. Using local textile benefits the local fashion industry in many ways. We have worked closely with the Cotton Cluster of South Africa to source sustainable cottons that are grown, sewn and woven here. All these products can be traced back to their origin, ensuring that the process can be tracked and the product is very ethical.
“We are against ‘fast fashion’ and have been for years,” he adds, “Which is why we show annually rather than seasonally. We are also against expedient consumerism, and would much rather sell one garment that lasts for years than many.”
The show pieces in the collection were inspired by the cotton plant. “We artistically reconstructed microscopic structures as show pieces for the collection, to make you look and look again.” Though they may seem more like Lady Gaga showpieces than a new take on menswear, Handt insists that they are meant as clothing rather than art. “Modern masculine identities are embracing fun, excitement and freedom of movement.”