I Heard It Through The Grapevine. The #AKJPAW16 experience.

Adriaan Kuiters x Jod PaulsenThey say a picture is worth a thousand words however it was the headline on CNN.com’s website that truly encapsulated what I felt about this collection*. “Asylum seekers walk runway at Pitti Uomo in Italy” and referenced the Ethical Fashion Initiative, in which AKJP participated in Pitti Uomo 89 for the Generation Africa show along with along with other favourite, Nicholas Coutts just a few weeks ago, that exemplifies that fashion truly knows no gender, race or nationality.

The 12 designs shown at Pitti Uomo formed the basis of the 36-piece collection they put together for SA Menswear Week 2016. Among the menswear was their new parka/raincoat designed with the Cape winter in mind. AKJP surprised by including 12 women’s look in the show. “We want to expand our range of outerwear for women and since most of our clothes are unisex, we thought why not?” says the duo of Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen. “Call it our tomboy look.”

The joyful, fun designs illustrated a wealth of textures and visual interests which were the clever manipulation and combinations such as jacquard, cashmere, silk, wool, cotton, mohair, linen, twill and impala leather which speaks more for the duo’s nearly OCD obsession with finding the right fabrics season after season for their collections. With a continued reference to artist Georgina Gatrix’s provocative paintings, all heavily imbued with a fun aesthetic and a sense of deprecating laughter, Paulsen added “we translated her art into fashion with textures such as jacquard and warm colours. What’s more, Georgina’s personal style is very spirited and idiosyncratic.

Extending from the grandeur and sacrosanct icons of traditional art canons, contemporary pop-culture and the artist herself, ‘IT’ fashion and runway model, Eden Classen’s (who is certainly making his mark in the industry and is the darling of all the ‘A-List Fashion Editors’), joined fellow models wearing layers of make-up and decoration mimicking Gratix’s almost obscenely excessive application on her subjects’ faces and bodies in her artwork. Reworked prints inspired by a jungle landscape in muted pistachio and shades of blue and red dominated the range.

Extending their collaboration with other cultural influences, the designers worked with Vans footwear and Gisele Human of Waif Design. “We’ve been wearing Vans since we were students and are in love with their black and white skater-style sneakers – we wear them to work every day,” says Paulsen. The oversized bags and clutches seen on the catwalk are AKJP designs too and will be available at their Kloof Street store along with once-off appliquéd versions.

This collection is true to AKJP’s signature artful take on classic and utilitarian menswear and makes use of layering, asymmetric detailing and impactful styling which is a certain nod to comfortable ready-to-wear pieces and Durban’s beach culture.

The accessories and the full autumn/winter range will be available at the AKJP Collective, 73 Kloof Street, Cape Town. Twitter: @akjpcollective, Facebook: AKJP or Instagram: @akjpcollective

Below is The Editor’s favourite pieces of the collection with ramp photography used courtesy of Simon Deiner / SDR Photo 2016:

Thank you to Jenna McArthur, of Jenna McArthur PR for the kind invitation to attend the show.

*Disclaimer: The Editor is an ardent customer of AKJP Collective