Men's Fashion: A growing market

2015-02-01 16:00

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‘It’s very exciting! Usually menswear is a side show of other fashion weeks and now we are able to show entire menswear collections,” says designer Craig Port of the inaugural SA Menswear Week, which struts into Cape Town next week with four days of 24 designers showcasing their Autumn/Winter collections.

It’s a sign that menswear designers have finally arrived in South Africa.

Last year, Marketline reported that the local menswear market was expected to generate more than R20?billion in revenue, representing a compound annual growth of 8.3% between 2009 and 2013.

The South African average age of 24 is seen to be a huge advantage for menswear as more young men become interested in fashion and focus more on luxury goods than raising a family (which they are said to be doing later in life than their parents).

So what can we expect?

Port says he will be showing a collection with a “strong modern Japanese design aesthetic ... because the Japanese have a way of keeping the fantastic ancient culture while also being very modern”.

He says he will showcase “black, black and more black in leather, fur, silk, velour, velvet, cable knit and black zips”.

Joining the likes of Craig Port and Csquared is Naked Ape, which has established itself as a bespoke product for the discerning man.

Magents lifestyle apparel says it will be offering a combination of summer and winter wear. Co-founder Didier de Villiers says: “We are also relaunching in Europe via Germany.” The inspiration? “We are proudly Afrikan. We love to express the soil through threads of cotton ... We live in a point in time where you find many different subcultures in the fashion circle and in each of them you have an item that’s ‘hot’. In our world, our Bucksport hat with the bhunxa pattern is hot currently.”

We can expect to see more of Magents’ distinctive Afro vintage style in a variety of garments that include twill jackets, lightweight jackets, chinos, denim chinos, denim jeans and hoodies.

Streetwear and casual daywear will form a big part of next week’s showcase, with collections from Oath by new designer Rich Mnisi and Rwandan/Kenyan label Mille Collines on the bill.

As part of its collaboration with the Durban Fashion Fair, Sandile Mngadi of Duke “Clothe Your Soul” will be showcasing alongside another firm favourite, MaXhosa by Laduma.

What’s happening in Cape Town is part of a global trend.

Marketline says there has been a 14% growth in menswear across the world in the past five years. It’s growing faster than womenswear and is resulting in more brands shifting focus to menswear, in particular ready-to-wear lines. Some brands (such as Hermès, Lanvin, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada) have gone as far as launching menswear-only stores.

In South Africa, the Edcon group (with Edgars and now T.M. Lewing stores) enjoys the lion’s share of the market, claiming 12%, according to Euromonitor International.

The fashion week will gather notable names and a mix of men’s fashion for its first journey down the runway.

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