Thursday, September 21, 2023

#Tuesday10: Fresh Menswear Labels to Watch this Year

While mens Fashion Week continues around the globe, we’re looking to our continent for a glimpse at what’s next, with many fresh labels having just hit the scene and providing new ideas on all things gents’.

Some are working on reinventing the classics, others are carving a whole new ‘norm’, but as Team SPICE have high hopes for African fashion in 2016, we’re refreshing our radars and looking to the menswear talent of the future – the fast-rising newcomers that are sure to make waves this year.

1. Maxivive

One of the first designers to showcase at 2015’s Lagos Fashion & Design Week, Maxivive is run by creative director, Oyeyemi Babatunde who certainly knows his stuff.


After earning a place on the season 2 team at Nigerian Idol, where he was the official male designer, Oyeyemi was declared the most ‘Creative Designer’ at the 2012 Model of Africa event, and has built his name amongst the fashion crowd following his first spell at LFDW in 2014.


Having launched his label Maxivive under a new season structure, starting the fashion cycle of Wet, Dry, Harmattan and Cruise – the designer is out to create a path of his own, with double efforts to be put in too, now that he’s launched a diffusion line, titled MXVV.

With Mr Babatunde’s short-term goal being “to get Maxivive much more visibility” we at SPICE expect the designer go into overdrive this year and achieve his wishes and much more. Do make sure you’re watching.

2. Imprint ZA

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Presenting a modern day ode of sorts to African fashion, Imprints founder and creative director, Mzukisi Mbane creates unique menswear that can be described as being part-mens, part-unisex.

A look from Imprint’s SS’16 lookbook

The designer loves prints - whether it be animal or something more intricate
Imprint loves prints – whether it be animal or something more intricate

The Cape Town-based designer’s electrifying prints are emblazoned on traditional silhouettes that could easily be worn by women too – the bold colours and patterns used to fulfil the brand ethos and “leave a mark”.


Imprint ZA featured in the 2015 Design Indaba as well as the Kamers Autumn’15 pop-up event for handcrafted creativity and South African Menswear Week, where frontrow-goers were pretty impressed and will no doubt be looking forward to more of Mbane’s offerings this year.

3. Morafa


Upcoming Nigeria-based label, Morafa is definitely one to watch for 2016. Launched by Seun Morafa – a 23-year-old model and student at the University of Lagos, who emerged as the 2nd runner up at the 2015 edition of Nigeria’s Student Fashion And Design Week – the brand is likely going places, with its founder both young and hungry.

A shot from a street style-themed lookbook for the “Perfect Gentleman” collection

And let’s not forget he’s also talented, with Seun’s garments creatively combined to offer an alternative perspective for modern gents who take care in their style.

The brand’s SpringSummer’16 collection, “Perfect Gentleman” debuted at the 2015 Aquafina Elite Model Look Nigeria, revealing the designer’s great attention to detail – oriental details fused to the best fabrics and finishes, all cut well and exuding the charm you’d hope for in a true gent.

A look from the SS16 "Perfect Gentleman" collection lookbook
A look from the SS16 “Perfect Gentleman” collection lookbook

The response following its unveiling and the collection’s lookbook has been good so far, and it seems Morafa’s secured a position in the Nigerian market and African fashion scene, too.

4. Emmy Kasbit

The brand Emmy Kasbit was established in 2014, with the launch of a debut collection titled “The Definition”. Creative director, Emmanuel Okoro has since dressed plenty of stars for high profile events, including Uti Nwachukwu, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Zainab Balogun plus Stephanie Coker  amongst others, raising his brand’s profile in the process.

While Mr Okoro offers a bespoke service as well as ready-to-wear pieces for the unconventional man and woman (specifically, people who dress with purpose, believing his or her outfit is deliberate and not accidental), it’s his menswear that leaves him on our list here, with Emmy Kasbit creations pushing the boundaries of classic elements and making them the highlight of any look.

Emmy Kasbit's Resort'15 collection
Emmy Kasbit’s Resort’15 collection

And on the female pieces, it’s also worth noting that their success lies in the inspiration, which comes directly from menswear. So, like the designer himself,  a man or woman can step into an Emmy Kasbit piece and be set apart from the crowd, using clothing to go ahead and carve a new niche.

 5. OATH


Rich Mnisi, the creative director of South Africa-based label OATH, delves into new layers and offers unique visions of dressing, beyond what’s already out in the realm of fashion. That’s to say, creativity? Yes, Mnisi has bags full of it.

In 2014, the designer was selected as one of the winners at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg’s AFI Fastrack, and since receiving his award,  has propelled onward and upward only.

A look from OATH's SS16 collection lookbook
A look from OATH’s SS16 collection lookbook

Since his brand’s launch, Mnisi has released a number of lookbooks, striking the interest of publications like GQ, Fucking Young, the Sunday Times and many more.

And there’s womenswear too, if you want it – equally as brilliant as the men’s – but in terms of fresh blood in African menswear (the sort that has you questioning what you thought looked good on guys), this brand is the one to watch out for.

6. Pop of Colour (POC)


The POC label, which was a head-spinner on the catwalk at the 2015 Lagos Fashion & Design Week, is delivered by designer Papa Omisore, who seems as eager to offer his work as we are to see it.

The label first surfaced in 2014 but went full-throttle last year, going on to appear at the Elite Model Look event and on the ramp at LFDW 2015, and revealing the lookbook to collection “Paint”, displaying Mr Omisore’s love of colour and slight quirks.

A look fro the SS15 "Paint" collection lookbook
A look fro the SS15 “Paint” collection lookbook

Also from the “Paint” collection – the designer showing he also does well with subdued hues

Still considered fresh to the scene – the brand only gathering its star fans and followers last year – the future looks good for POC, not just from the fashion circle but also the stars, with Mr Omisore so far earning an impressive resume that features clients like Don Jazzy, Patoranking, Iyanya, Ice Prince and more.

7. Jason Porshe

jasonporshe blogspot

Jason Porshe is a rising luxury label which focuses on bespoke tailoring, and a design aesthetic that redefines classic masculinity and (with its women’s division) feminism.

Owned by 21-year-old award-winning menswear architect Jason Samuel, the brand has also unveiled a series of collections so far, starting with the Spring/Summer’13 collection “Elusive Invasion”, which made its debut at the Native and Vogue International Week.

Most recently unveiled is the Spring/Summer’16 “SkyFall” collection, which starred celebrity models and Nollywood actors, Alex Ekubo, Ik Ogbonna and Beverly Osu.

Alexx Ekubo and Ik Ogbonna seen here in Jason Porshe’s SS16 campaign, alongside model Wale Bello

Last year Jason Samuel’s bold style made a statement at the 2015 AMVCAs, putting Ik Ogbonna on the best-dressed list with his Jason Porshe polka dot suit, and also creating controversy with Alex Ekubo’s multi colored tuxedo.

Mr Ogbonna at the 2015 AMVCAs wearing Jason Porshe
Mr Ogbonna at the 2015 AMVCAs wearing Jason Porshe


Alex seen Ekubo also wore Jason Porshe to the event and made headlines
Alex seen Ekubo also wore Jason Porshe to the event and made headlines

Having made a splash in his short time (and at such a young age) in the industry so far, we can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for Jason Samuel and his brand.

8. U.Mi-1

The brand U.Mi-1  – that’s “U.” (you) and “Mi” (me) are “1” (one) –  is a unique and contemporary brand for the cool, modern man, run by creative director, Gozi Ochonogor.

From the SS16 collection, "Ode to Eyo"
From the SS16 collection, “Ode to Eyo”

The designer’s lived in Nigeria, England and Japan, and proudly draws inspiration from all the countries she’s called home – the brand appealing to people who are passionate about clothes, and have an eye for detail. If that’s you, you’ll spot the Yoruba inspirations in her last two collections, the Japanese sensibility in the silhouettes and an old English love for fabrics.

U.Mi-1 Look 07 Generation Africa © Giovanni Giannoni
A look from U.Mi-1’s AW16 collection, seen here on the ramp at Pitti Uomo’s ‘Generation Africa’ event

But also inspired by art, architecture and groovy things in-between, Ms Ochonogor describes the results as “tailoring with a twist,” while we describe them as amazing pieces we can’t wait to see more of in the year ahead; things we’d know we could buy now and not feel dated in, years later.

9. Lukhanyo Mdingi

East London-born, Cape Town-based designer and very recent graduate, Lukhanyo Mdingi has begun making waves with his stunning, minimalist designs and equally breathtaking lookbooks – including the one for this season, the Spring/Summer’16  “Taintless” collection, set on the beach and aimed to blur the lines between his and hers fashion.”

Lukhanyo Mdingi

With two womenswear collections under his belt, the designer made the switch to menswear and delved in with a Pre-Fall’15 collection called “Irridescence”, made up of pure white ensembles broke by powder pinks and sequins – that yes, we designed for men.

A look from the "Iridescence" lookbook
A look from the “Iridescence” lookbook

From the AW15 "Taintless" collection lookbook
From the SS16 “Taintless” collection lookbook

Following successful showcases at South African Menswear Week – Africa’s first ever men’s Fashion Week – in 2015, and a recent showcase  in collaboration with Nicholas Coutts, Mdinhgi is a talent that’s well worth watching and we can’t wait to see what moves he makes next.


10. JZO

A menswear brand founded by Joseph O. Ike and Olamide E. Akindeinde, JZO thrives on a simple, unique, elegant and contemporary style of dressing, influenced heavily by African themes.


With the recent unveiling of their D/H’16 (that’s Dry/Harmattan’16) “Aremo” collection, it is apparent that the designers are both enthusiasts of fashion but ones with a unique and defiant view on African fashion as a whole – menswear being their outlet.

The label started in 2014 with the “Alpha” collection, which showcased at the Ankara Miami Fashion Week in February of 2015. The event, which was the first African-themed fashion event in Florida, was a great platform for the brand, bringing it to the industry’s attention.

A look JZA showcased at the 2015 Ankara Fashion Week in Miami
A look JZO showcased at the 2015 Ankara Fashion Week in Miami

Next though, according to the brand owners, JZO is working on a “top-secret” project with the Ankara Miami team for 2016, which we will be excited to hear more on in the coming months.

But who’s on your list of new talents in male fashion design? Tell us your ones to watch in terms of African menswear, in the comments box or online @SPICETVAFRICA.

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