Highlights from Paris Fashion Week Menswear SS23
Words by The Folklore Team
While the Paris Fashion Week schedule for the SS23 menswear shows brought out the usual suspects in the world of luxury fashion, it was also an opportunity to showcase the vanguard of a new generation of African designers at the forefront of the continent’s burgeoning fashion scene.
The energy and aesthetics presented by the brands on show displayed a growing sensibility among emerging African designers – they can’t be put into a box. From the use of bright colors to tactile fabrics and gender-fluid designs, each fashion house came with its own point of view and form of expression that stemmed from idiosyncratic perspectives, whether it was artisanal skills and craftsmanship or clothing inspired by crime.
Below, we highlight three SS23 collections by designers from the African diaspora, who brought their own visions of luxury to the runways of Paris.
Cape Town-based designer and 2022 ANDAM Prize finalist Lukhanyo Mdingi has always put community and craftsmanship at the heart of his work and the new SS23 collection, “Burkina”, continues in that vein. Named in honor of the CABES Textile Community in Burkina Faso with which the designer works, “Burkina” combines the skills of artisans from Ouagadougou with a modern sensibility to showcase leather separates, multicolour knitwear, tie-dye prints and sports-inspired pieces.
The brainchild of Nigerian designer Onye Anuna, Gravalot is an Afro-contemporary brand that combines the characteristics of classic tailoring with cultural sensibilities from West Africa. Gravlaot presented its SS23 capsule collection in Paris this June, showing a small but memorable collection of casual jackets, lace shirts and two-piece separates. Anuna plays with textures and colors, as seen in the green houndstooth coat, plaid suit and boucle bomber jackets.
Making her debut in Paris, Nigerian-born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi showed her collection, titled “Burglarywear”, taking inspiration from thieves and criminals, and the concept of being a good or bad person. Many of the pieces in the eponymous brand’s collection leave very little to the imagination – bare chests and micro miniskirts are prolific – while bright colors are punctuated with stark black looks. Ogunlesi offers her inventive take on the suit, pairing curve-edged jackets with matching pants that sit low on the hips.