“Those who think of clothing exclusively in terms of this or next seasons’ fashion are missing the point a little. The fabrics and the cuts we wear tell us about our society”
Do you feel that telling a story, sending a message through your collection helps make your clothes more relevant?
I do sincerely hope this is the case. So many aspects of the beauty of South Africa both the people and the place, have occupied my headspace along the years, and it is a wonderful opportunity each time to be able to explore and esteem as much of it as possible through the shows and the collections. Seeing as two of my initial career choices were drama and fine art, telling stories has been my chance to visually script and act out an aspect of culture through clothing, to set a scene and ‘paint’ a picture on the ramp.
What is the story or message behind your latest collection?
The most recent collection we have shown was in Cape Town at South African Menswear Week. The AW17 collection, HEARD MAN, is primarily inspired by the indigenous people of the Lesotho highlands, reinterpreted with influences of tailoring, elements of Japanese minimalism and a styled aesthetic that borrows from the flamboyant Swenka movement. The collection presents contemporary tailored separates with looser, oversized pieces to balance the silhouettes. Garments integrate contrary construction techniques that together create a highly tactile, striking result/look.
We have made use of some traditional winter fabrics (meltons, fleeces) and cloths well-suited to our sub-tropical winter season like twills and faux suede, accenting these with genuine Shweshwe and plaids. The colour palette is rooted in ALC Menswear’s essential tones of blue, grey and brown, developing into a full palette with clashing tones of burgundy, spice yellow, clay and shades of green. This is most visible on the hand-crafted wraps and accessories, decorated with abstract motifs which conceptually refers to the patterns on traditional Basotho blankets. HEARD MAN is an intentionally over-the-top collection which attempts to balance contrasting silhouettes, shapes, colours and detailing. It is a representation of mixed cultural heritage and pride, combining the label’s key influences into a look that favours effortless function and personalised dress.
How do you think we can convince the average consumer of fast fashion to start thinking of fashion in a more sustainable , relevant way?
Encouraging people to find their own style that works for their lifestyle and body, and not just rely on what is dictated as the current trend may go some way to spark interest. Education on the conditions in factories, and mistreatment of factory workers around the world, how cheaper clothing feeds and is the result of these practices. From a South African, and personal brand perspective I believe we need to speak about how buying clothing made in South Africa supports jobs locally, and this may be stating the obvious but do we always translate this into the reality that it supports Mom’s and Dad’s keeping households going, kids at school and makes further education a possibility.