Moving Forward with Style – A Glimpse into Men’s Fashion in Africa

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In today’s world, men is also expected to look good. Douglas Royal, an aspiring young fashion designer and writer of the “Styling Anonymous” blog, shares with us some insights into the world of men’s fashion in Africa.

 

On Personal Style

When I get a question like, “What is your personal style?” I would usually say it is mostly street casual, clean and effortlessly done. I love good fitting denims, ripped or just regular, paired with an interesting colorful print on the top and a pair of brogues, suede loafers, or ankle leather boots.

But honestly I am never confident when answering any question about my personal style. I live in a country where fashion items are so limited. Most of the times our style is a craft made with elements of what is available in stores and I believe that true individual style can only be found when there are so many variety of options available for a person to choose from and identify him/herself with.

 

Entering the World of Fashion

What really inspired me to enter in the world of fashion was mostly how limited fashion is in my country. This made want to create something new. Growing up and watching my parents filling their wardrobes with almost the same things with just a different color made my mind dance around the idea of creating something new, something different. From there, I started sketching my ideas and writing them out.

People who got to see the sketches loved them, and that encouraged me to grow. I started doing research on professional fashion Illustration, digging deep with the maze of international trends, what inspired the trends, fabric selection, and all other exciting information that I never knew existed. It was at that moment when I realized that the business of fashion wasn’t just about the passion I had for it or how beautiful my sketches where. I realized I have a lot of skills to learn, and that makes it even more exciting.

 

 

Some of the sketches that I have done

Some of the sketches that I have done

 

Skills to learn include the different types of fashion illustrations, such as the non technical ones that only focuses on the shape, color, and form of the outfit, and technical ones that basically direct the tailor how the outfit is to be made.

I also learned that there was more to fabric than just texture and color. I learnt how texture of the fabric can either encourage or limit how you manipulate the fabric when it comes to tailoring, how fabric reacts on different climates and how important it is to study the properties and maintenance of a certain fabric before choosing it to be a part of the outfit you are about to make.

These were things that never occurred to be until when I decided to do some research.

 

On African Metrosexuals

I have heard a lot negative comments being thrown to African metrosexual men including myself. That man who is always on a colorful blazer with fitted pants that perfectly hugs his thigh muscles on the front row of a runaway show is always hunted with nasty stares and hateful whispers, “Oh him, he must be gay, look at the sparkle of nail polish on his nails.”

So yes, the stereotype is there, and even though being gay is not a bad thing, it is also not appropriate to make assumption on a person’s sexuality based to his good sense of style. I believe there are a lot of heterosexual men out there who love to be highly fashionable and also a lot of gay men who aren’t bothered with what lay beneath the pages of GQ magazine, so it’s about time the stereotype should be stopped.

Either way, I think it is important for a man to discover his own personal style, sharpen it, and create a signature out of it. Today, a man has freedom to experiment with colors, prints, and shapes. Days of one colored two piece suits in the office are gone, days of a man being limited to only wear black socks are long gone, and days of a man only being expected to walk in the office with a rectangular office bag are officially dead. There is much more freedom now.

 

 

(Photo credit - Pierre Cardin)

(Photo credit – Pierre Cardin)

 

A Lookbook for a Stylish African Professional

(Photo credit  - Dent de Man SOURCE)

(Photo credit  – Dent de Man SOURCE)

 

Moving Past Body Stereotypes

We live in a society where people have a certain image that defines masculinity, with a certain range of body weight and muscle mass. But some men are just genetically built slim, and there is nothing they can do about it. Often, this would become a source of lack of confidence in oneself. But that was then. Now, you can embrace your bones, chin up, and move past the stereotype.

If you are a slim guy and want to look stylish, one thing you shouldn’t do is wear very tight clothes. Always go for the right fit that allows you to breathe and move comfortably. Don’t hesitate to play around with baggy clothes either, because you can still rock baggy clothes if you properly style them.

One personal trick to styling a slim frame is always going through Korean Style pages. Personally, I do that all the time, and it works for me pretty well.

 

 

(Photo credit - H&M)

(Photo credit – H&M)

 

Style: Confidence and Respect

Discovering, adopting, and sharpening your own individual style is exactly like what it sounds like: a process. But the best way to start is by first grooming yourself, doing the basics like having a proper skin routine that helps your skin look and feel healthy, having that haircut that best suits your face and structure, living and eating healthy. Those are the little things that should come first and are more important than a lavish wardrobe.

Having a good sense of style doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to spend a lot on high end designer clothes. In the contrary, finding individualism in your style is simply finding a few unique elements in your clothes that best describe you, what you feel or your emotions. These things could be as simple as a fedora, washed out denims, a retro jacket, a certain frame of sunglasses, or a certain leather bag. Anything could be that special element that makes you different from the rest.

For men who live in areas where fashion items are hard to find, this can be a bit tricky. But it can be done by finding the right items and mixing and matching them with the more common, easier to find items. Wherever you are in the world, and whatever your body type is, don’t let it get in the way of your passion to develop your individual style.

In the end, style isn’t just about looks. It’s about asserting your identity and carrying yourself with confidence and respect.