After a gender fluid look into fashion trends this ss/17 menswear week, along with the bold use of print by Chu Suwannapha for Chulaap who teamed up with floral artist Alwijn Burger to create a line that melodically combined traditional print with elements of fresh foliage.
I was enthralled by the collaboration and found that as with the silhouettes used across many lines this season, nothing challenged the conventions of masculinity quite the way flowers do. Strapping sharp lined, dapper men donned almost tribal attire yet were softened by the finesse of “flowers”
In the interest of exploring the the slowly blurring lines of “masculinity” and Gender identity which I often see in our sexually-liberal city of Cape town I sought out to discover how Blom Boy, Alwijn Burger, is bringing a floral influence to the deconstruction of still standing social stereotypes.
Years back Pierce Thiot, pioneered a viral trend on social media which encouraged bearded bros to don their scruff with all things floral, the trend then moved to wedding days, to create something more original and unique that an atypical fynbos boutonniere. This was probably the first time I discovered the floral festivities of Blom Boy.
I decided I had to know more behind the mastermind of the floral touches of the Chulaap show and Alwijn’s creative concept The Gentleman’s Flower Arranging Club, these were my questions:
HH: What was the brief for Chulaap SS/17?
BB: Chu’s vision for his SS collection was so well articulated that it, to a certain extent became an ‘open’ brief. We referenced hints of Africa, the South (in a global scale), surf culture and tribal accessories. When it came together it was rather special.
HH: What excited you most about collaborating with such a Print Orientated designer?
BB: Chu has a unique understanding of visual layering. It was therefore refreshing and most inspiring to co-accessorise (along with jewellery, millinery etc.) his garments/looks. In this instance flowers and organic materials formed a cohesive part of the outfit as apposed to an overbearing focus.
HH: Where do you see floral/Nature growing when it comes to menswear, fashion?
HH: Local or flown in? What is your favourite/most used “flower”
BB: I have always preferred flowers in their most ‘super-local’ form. Picked from a friend’s garden or sourced from a local supplier – there seems to be a more direct ‘link’ with the medium when it’s local. I do import flowers when needed – but appreciate and consider every single carbon footprint it takes to get the darling buds here. Favourite flower? Don’t be silly.
The Gentleman’s Flower Arranging Club
HH: Tell us more about GFAC
BB: Where to start! The Gentleman’s Flower Arranging Club was founded in 2014. It is my little ‘movement’: an ambition to conquer fears of creativity and self-expression often associated with masculinity. I proudly share the platform with a growing list of like-minded GFAC ‘ambassadors’.
We gather monthly at an event hosted by one of our members. The events generally take the form of an interactive workshop followed by related discussions and a handsome amount of champagne!
HH: Often considered a feminine industry and career. How do you hope/plan to bend the stereotype associated with floral arranging and florists?
BB: Complex question. I want us (anyone who cares) to move beyond stereotypes in such a way as to reach a point where they are no longer relevant. I will therefore either ignore stereotypes or use them in the same way as I do carnations: with a tongue in my cheek.
HH: When is the next event
BB: Our next GFAC event will be hosted in the heart of Johannesburg on the 20th of August. In celebration of WOMEN’s MONTH the Gentleman’s Flower Arranging Club will – for the very first time – allow gentlemen to invite a special lady-friend to join us at our gathering: #GFACfemme. It promises to be a lively, rather decadent affair… stay tuned for more about that!
HH:where can people stay in touch and see info about up coming events?
BB: My long anticipated website (www.blomboy.com) is due to launch on the 1st of September (Spring Day).
Until such time my facebook page /theblomboy or my instagram account @theblomboy should keep you up to date with all needed info.