ON THE RUNWAY
THE AFTER PARTY
I must say that I really enjoyed this show, which was a bit of a surprise for me because I was not the biggest fan of their previous range earlier this year at Joburg fashion week, but I found this to be such a youthful and exciting move-on from that range. As shitty a dresser as I often am (which is why you never see me on Skattie), I’m still quite critical of SA menswear designers. Yes I know that SA menswear fashion tends to move really slowly or rather the customer takes time to adapt to new trends. And there’s the “okes” for whom the golf shirt is the height of fashion. I remember from my days as a fashion buyer, I bought mostly ladieswear but the one year I bought menswear, that year almost crushed my soul. The thing with fashion buying for a national retailer, you’re not just buying for a niche fashionable market but you’re buying to satisfy a mass market. Imagine trying to satisfy as large an amount of SA men as possible (no not that way, get ur mind out the gutter), by the end of it I just wanted to vomit all over striped golf shirts and cargo shorts. On the positive side though the experience brought me a little closer to knowing who the actual SA menswear customer is, rather than the fantasy idea we sometimes entertain in our heads.
Anyway, I digress, back to Csquared. Firstly let’s get the obvious bit out of the way. Yes, there was a lot of colour blocking, which we know a lot about and therefore not a major fashion revelation. There was print blocking by way of checks and stripes, which I thought gave a fresh spin to the colour blocking whilst entertaining a newer trend at the same time. And I do love the bold brights, as compared to the current crop of veggie tones in menswear colour blocking. And of course, as has been a trend for a while now at menswear shows there were a lot of bowties (that’s my meh moment). But what made the show stand out for me was the execution, the boldness and the youthfulness of this range. The use of the colours, the prints and the styling made this feel like a proper range and not a bunch of best selling pieces and new-ish pieces that a designer might put together just to show them off. I also think the range shows a brand that has developed a clear understanding of its market, they are not about totally re-inventing the wheel, but rather exploring current trends and interpreting them in a way that suits their customer and keeps them up to date, whilst attracting a whole new bunch of customers. And honestly I see the pieces in this range fitting quite nicely in a lot of trendy SA men’s wardrobes this summer.
I believe that in SA we not only need to grow the fashion industry but also that we need to grow the market that buys the ‘fashion’ items. Part of getting that trick right is balancing the needs of the SA customer with the hot global fashion trends. And this for me has been the best effort at getting that balance right that Csquared has made in recent times. In my opinion of course.