REVIEW: Urban Zulu at Cape Town Fashion Week

DRC’s Papy Kaluw presents Urban Zulu’s latest collection at Cape Town Fashion Week

Urban Zulu’s signature monochromatic prints steal the show at Cape Town Fashion week

Urban Zulu had the daunting task of following Masa Mara’s stunning display of colourful prints, unique silhouettes, and storytelling feats, and did so with a largely monochrome collection. DRC-born designer Papy Kaluw utilised white as a base in what the designer defines as a spiritual tribute to his father.

The brand describes itself as “breathing” African culture – “a movement promoting oneness.” The luxury label remained consistent in incorporating prints, materials, and existing street-style trends into its distinct bespoke and ready-to-wear offering, parading loose-fitting garments underneath oversized scarves and coats.

Urban Zulu celebrates the beauty in functionality. In its ode to African cities, the label produces garments that support mobility. This much is exemplified in the name of the brand, which Kaluw defines as “the embodiment of an urban paradise.”

From a womenswear perspective, Urban Zulu’s distinguishing feature is its unique skirting and maxi-dresses. Kaluw trades in graceful frocks, creating unique, voluminous silhouettes by playing with waistlines and finishing wide skirts off with a fish-tailed hem.

He continued in a more streetwear-influenced vein at Cape Town Fashion Week, parading loose-fitting and oversized pants, scarves, blazers, and coats. Further exemplifying the duality of the brand’s name – and perhaps indicating its being in touch with trends. Urban Zulu’s experimental use of large pockets is nothing short of a life-saving feature for the feminine city-slicker to whom it caters.

This season, this feature made its appearance in abundance, including an oversized monochrome printed coat. Draped over the model’s shoulders as she charged along the runway, the garment made for a distinct and dynamic addition to the runway. The “Zulu” element of the brand, which pays homage to African spiritualities, made its appearance through headdresses and the appearance of blankets.

Urban Zulu is a luxury African label that continuously delivers stunning artistry through a youthfully nonchalant aesthetic, and Cape Town Fashion Week 2023 was certainly no exception.

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