Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I've been browsing through pictures of the collections from the first ever standalone menswear fashion week in London. While there are many collections that caught my eye, purely from an aesthetic point of view (the Brits are genius at making exciting menswear), Christopher Shannon's reminded me of Zulu traditional contemporary menswear garb known as 'Umblaselo'. No, no... It's not the cork-necklace pictured above, it's the clothing pictured below. 
The patchwork pannelling and fringing are reminiscent of the more colourful version often worn by Maskandi artists. The sad difference is that while I would don these Christopher Shannon designs at any given time, I would never be caught dead wearing umblaselo. Why? This may sound conceited  but it is the honest truth. My truth!
I love being African but I am also a global citizen with a very modern outlook. Fashion that appeals to me is that which is not at odds with that description of myself. The umblaselos I see on sale on the streets of Jozi remind me too much of a maskandi artist for me to be into. Christopher Shannon's collection is proof that a little tweaking of an existing concept makes a hell of a lot of difference and might just change one Sandiso Ngubane's mind about something provided he is met halfway by a forward-thinking designer. We need more Laduma Ngxokolos!

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any assumption that Christopher Shannon's collection is inspired by a South African tribe known as the Zulus.


Thando said...

It definetly looks like umbhlaselo. We are a mine of inspiration. We just need to recognise that and use that to our benefit.

Anonymous said...

Guys this is not a look-alike of umblaselo, its certainly
umblaselo reworked!