Uptown Bourgeois is an arts, news, and culture blog created by New York-based freelance writer Jefferey Spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

You've Probably Never Heard of South African Menswear Week...And That's Okay

Odds are you've never heard about South African Menswear Week.  I hadn't either until I stumbled upon a backstage editorial piece about the week on Fucking Young! magazine's website.  This whole menswear week thing has been a long-running staple in sartorially-superior cities like Paris, Milan, and London.  But New York is only two seasons in with its standalone menswear week.  And more international destinations like Singapore and Vancouver are jumping into the men's only game. The rest of the world is working at a furious pace to keep up with the maddening growth of the menswear industry.  And Cape Town is just as in the sartorial know as everyone else. Here's the scoop on everything you need to know about South African Menswear Week, which just wrapped its F/W 16 shows on Feb. 6.

This is the only game in town if you're in Africa.

While there are official fashion weeks hosted throughout Africa, South African Menswear Week is the only week dedicated exclusively to men's fashion, and it's got one year on New York.  The top fashion experts see the potential and growth in the men's market.  It's exciting to see the impact of the growth in this sector having influence all around the world.

Every invited designer specializes in locally made goods.

There is a lot of value placed on imported goods in Africa.  By inviting only local designers, SAMW hopes to showcase the value in locally produced apparel and educate African consumers about brands that are making quality clothing right at home.

Designers are pulled from all over the continent.

Though the four-day event takes place in Cape Town, only the cream of the crop from all over the continent are invited to participate.  26 in total show at SAMW with the hopes of eventually showing at London Collections: Men.

The format is based on London Collections: Men and the designs are just as edgy as anything you'd see there.

LC:M is known for its more intimate fashion show venues, and SAMW pulls its strategy from its British cousin.  This gives onlookers the chance to really dive into the looks and get up close and personal with the designs.  And these designs aren't just homages to African prints and culture.  They are just as over-the-top, daring, provocative, and packed with color as anything you'd see on the runway at LC:M.

It's an opportunity to shine a positive light on a continent where violence is a regular occurrence.

Like SAMW, much of the daily violence and terrorism taking place in Africa doesn't register on an international scale.  It seems that SAMW could be poised to change the global conversation about Africa at home and abroad.

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