Four Local Menswear Designers We Love

WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo PHOTOS Simon Deiner/SDR

Some of the country’s most talented menswear designers showed their autumn/winter collections at South African Menswear Week in Cape Town.

February 2016 saw the third South African Menswear Week hosted at Cape Town Stadium. We were right there in the front row. A number of designers impressed us, but four stood out. The labels Chulaap, Mdingi Coutts, Rich Mnisi and AKJP can hold their own on the international fashion scene; in fact, two of the collections had just come from being shown at one of the world’s most highly regarded menswear platforms, Pitti Uomo in Florence.


Chu Suwannapha showed his second collection since wowing audiences at the launch of his label at SA Menswear Week the year before. As is his signature, Chu reminded audiences why he is the reigning Prince of Prints with an Afro-futuristic collection inspired by the travels of the popular photography trio I See a Different You.


Mdingi Coutts

Lukhanyo Mdingi and Nicholas Coutts created one of the most anticipated ranges at Menswear Week. Since winning the 2013 ELLE Rising Star Design Award, Nicholas’s hand-woven scarves have been a firm favourite with the fashion set, and Lukhanyo’s work has featured on local and international websites. Together, they created a collection that saw them invited to Pitti Uomo.


Rich Mnisi

This wunderkind of South African menswear, and AFI Young Designer of the Year 2014, blew audiences away with a collection that showed his meticulous attention to detail and ability to combine global trends with an understated local flavour. Titled Zulu Lounge, it’s a collection that has us looking forward to winter.



The AKJP range by Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen was a highlight of the opening night of Menswear Week. As with Mdingi Coutts, the range was fresh off the Italian runway at Pitti Uomo. The duo presented layering, prints and collages inspired by artist Georgina Gratrix and drawing on Jody’s collage technique in his work as a visual artist.


Browse the gallery above to view a selection of designers from each designer.