At last year’s biggest red carpet event, the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards, South Africa’s fashion designer, David Tlale, and his team, were dressed in skirts. In fact, Tlale had a pair of leggings under the skirt. Well, he is a king of fashion so he can do whatever he wants with his dress code, including wearing a man skirt first introduced in his 2011 collection for African Fashion Week. International fashion designers Marc Jacobs and Kenzo had earlier tried these but the look did not make it beyond the runway. That was way back in 2009. A few men wore skirts in South Africa after the 2011 showcase. The 2016 ASFAs was the first time that, not one, but three men were seen wearing skirts. Another transgender male turned up in a dress.
Looking back at the red carpet looks, runway creations and world trends, it is safe to conclude
that 2017 is going to be a more experimental year than ever before and Ugandan fashion designers, and little known tailors, may be smiling all the way to the bank. Kwesh, Arapapa, Beryl Qouture, Eguana and K Rafael are some designers that got a lot of mentions for dressing up ‘fashionistas.’ Raphael Kasule possibly had the best year dressing Uganda’s Olympics team and also Kenyan band, Sauti Sol, during their Club Megafest concert at Sheraton, not to mention Sheebah Karungi. His futuristic collection deserves a spot in a big film project for 2017. In the spirit of experimenting and keeping up with trends, Joram Muzira of Joram Model Management predicts that ancient tunics, medieval cloaks, capes and robes will rule the red carpet. This means more layering for the men, a preserve for high fashion people. “Leggings are going to be a huge thing for men,” he adds. For the women, he predicts vintage stripes of the 1980s and a big time return of bell bottoms as they say bye to chokers, unless they are anything but basic. Gone are the days when men had to use insoles to add a few inches to their height. Soles are going to get thicker in boots, dress shoes, even in sneakers, with men borrowing two, three inches or more. Speaking of sneakers, plain white or black with just a Nike, Adidas or Lacoste logo will be too basic for 2017. It is all about colour this year.
A number of makeup and hair studios set up shop in town towards the
end of 2016. This means makeup artists are in big business and are providing stopovers where clients can have a face beat before heading out. Paramour Cosmetics, Pamela Musimenta, Fiona Kirabo, among others, opened makeup studios, while Kennedy Zziwa became a big brand after opening a hair studio at Krishna Mart. Zziwa says 2016 has been a year in which more women have embraced their own natural hair because there are now so many options available for the natural look. He also reveals that more clients are willing to spend a little more (like Shs 600,000 to one million) for a nice human hair weave that they can re-use ‒ rather than on cheaper synthetics ‒ a trend that is likely to continue into 2017. He says even men have not been left out.
“They are being playful and experimenting more with their looks,” he says. Dreadlocks, baby locks (also known as kyangwe) and fancy haircuts with line ups are the in-thing, and barbers are quite willing to show their skills. It will not be about clean shaves or marine cuts. The hairline, sharp fades and facial for those that are gifted with it will either have to be on point, or nothing. Makeup studios maybe cropping up, but the style of makeup is screaming to be toned down a bit and made more natural this year.
“Eyebrows have to look natural, less sculpting. It has to look like the skin is breathing. The point is to leave the 100 per cent flawless dos in 2016,” says Joy Barbie, a freelance makeup artist. A hundred per cent flawless means makeup is done to conceal any blemishes on the skin. She advises embarking on health regimes that help get clearer skins.
Welcome to 2017, a year of health regimes, natural looks and wardrobe experimenting.