Although the runways, lookbooks and shop frontages have been pushing vivid patterns and bold colours for SS13, it is obvious that wild prints and colourful hues are not for everyone. So what is the sartorially-conscious man who prefers his tones more subtle and his styling more neutral to do this season?
Thankfully, there’s an upcoming trend that caters for these more discrete, less in-your-face needs – and it comes in the form of the safari influence.
The idea of ‘Urban Safari’ has been adopted by high fashion designers and high street retailers alike, with many pushing earthy tones of olive green, khaki and ochre, along with natural fabrics such as cottons, silks and raffia. Due to its versatile and unfussy nature, the safari trend is instantly wearable and workable into most wardrobes without a complete overhaul, which should only strengthen its appeal moving forward.
Building on the popularity of the safari jacket in 2012, it seems as though 2013 is the time for the safari influence to move from the wilderness to the mainstream…
On The Runways
Designer collections such as Kenzo, Kris Van Assche and Comme Des Garcons all adopted safari influences in their shows – from the colours used to ethnic/tribal prints to utilitarian features such as multi-pockets and hardy fabrics.
One of the biggest supporters of the safari trend was Balmain. Olivier Rousteing, founder of Balmain, said that his vision was to create an “alternative to city dressing and move towards safari-wear.” The collection itself placed a lot of emphasis on the safari jacket, with this key piece featuring in a variety of differing cuts and shapes, complete with the traditional square pockets and epaulettes.
Oversized shorts and utilitarian trousers with multi-pocket detailing were also featured in subtle tones of stone, whilst belted safari shirts and shirt-jackets appeared in muted beige and khaki shades:
The collection from Diesel Black Gold nodded to the safari influence, with tones of rich ochre and shades of khaki prominent throughout.
My favourite look from this showcase featured khaki shirts paired with distressed leather boots, along with a matching khaki jacket layered over a lighter shade khaki Henley and a striking yellow cardigan.
In my opinion, this look was something you might actually wear on safari – but it was styled in a totally wearable way that ensured it didn’t have a ‘costume’ feel to it.
The collection from Diesel also featured ethnic, tribal-feel prints applied to knitwear and khaki, safari-inspired carry-bags:
One other collection worth mentioning was by John Varvatos. Although the safari influence present within the collection is much less obvious, Varvatos made use of lots of khaki and olive green tones, which were applied to formal wear and suiting – helping create an altogether smarter take on the trend.
The looks on the Varvatos runway contained textured waistcoats, double-breasted jackets, tailored suits and even Indiana Jones-style fedoras for that authentic adventurer feel.
The outfits almost seemed to suggest that the explorer was transitioning into evening mode – leaving the jungles and wild plains behind for more sophisticated, night time antics:
The Fashion Press & High Street
Unsurprisingly, the safari trend has also been picked up by the fashion press and the high street. In their most recent issue, Esquire featured a short piece on ‘How to wear pattern’, with actor Max Irons, and interestingly, although the feature is about pattern, the patterned items were paired with olive chinos and a hardy khaki canvas jacket – showing how the safari trend can be combined effortlessly with the industry’s current penchant for prints.
Similarly, in their online menswear news section, back in February, Harrods featured ‘Modern Safari’ as a major new trend for SS13. They argue that “khaki works with everything as a smart alternative to denim.” Following suit, John Lewis online included the ‘Explorer’ trend as one of the top ten menswear trends for SS13, showing a preference for hardy, durable materials and dusty shades and patterns.
Turning to the high street, Burton has been a huge supporter of the ‘Global Safari Trend’, writing on its website:
“Our Global Safari theme is really wearable but bang on trend and instead of relying heavily on the much-loved camo print we’ve branched out into ethnic blanket striped shirts and have experimented with textures and prints, including leopard print, to achieve a well-travelled range.”
In a similar vein, Reiss produced a lookbook for SS13 entitled ‘Back to Nature’, which contained a lot of earthy browns and greens complemented by safari-esque khaki and brown. The photos were also largely taken in the wild itself, with real life trees and bushes utilised as the back drop – demonstrating the clothing to its full potential and highlighting the safari, explorer feel.
Inspired By Lookbook
- Belstaff Chambray Shirt
- River Island Sergeant Shirt
- Topman Off White All Over Safari Print Shirt
- Balmain Biker T-shirt
- Topman Long Sleeve Khaki Shirt
- He By Mango Lightweight Safari Jacket
- Allsaints Okinawa Blazer
- Scotch & Soda Safari Blazer In Army Green
- Patterned Shirt
- Folk Jankel Quilted Cotton Gilet
- He By Mango Elbow Patches PiquÉ Blazer
- He By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Safari Jacket
- Balmain Cotton And Linen-blend Field Jacket
- Afends Chino Shorts Sunday Safari Contrast Detail
- He By Mango Cargo Cotton Trousers
- Missoni Knitted Cotton Bomber 153242
- Topman Tmd Navy Herringbone Safari Suit Jacket
- Dr Denim Donk Chinos
- Balmain Safari Jacket
- Mulberry Natural Canvas Rockley Messenger Bag
- Topman Safari Suede Flap Backpack
So there we have it. For men who want a break from the playful brights and colourful patterns of SS13, the safari trend offers a more subtle, discrete and slightly more refined alternative.
Overall, it’s an extremely wearable trend and its greatest appeal stems from the simplicity and versatility it offers. As always, we welcome your thoughts and musings in the comments section…