Tempus Now’s SS19 Homage to Africa, Afrofuturism

Contemporary menswear infused with African tradition

Tempus Now, helmed by South African-born designer Ora Fine, is an LA-based label that fuses African influences and processes into contemporary menswear releases. For SS19, Fine designed a collection called Afrofuturism—pulling from her intellectual and creative memories to create clothing that’s representative of her world; a place somewhere between South Africa and LA.

“I was looking for context as I set out to design SS19, and was thinking about the significance of narrative and craft in the creative process, so it was natural for me to turn toward an African tradition of both,” Fine says. The collection features deep hues of blue and yellow and a careful care for silhouette and stitching.

“The craft association is obvious—beadwork, textile weaving and dyeing—but I wanted to re-contextualize this tribal tradition set against the contemporary weavers and makers, Brent Wadden and Sheila Hicks. The aim was to change my own mind, to elevate the seemingly primitive status I readily attribute to artists like Wadden and Hicks,” she continues.

“My other preoccupation was narrative and how narrative structures are necessary in reshaping our identity or sense of self from something binary to something more universal. For me, this creative exploration was best understood by looking at Djibril Diop Mambety’s film Touki Bouki. You see this influence in the collection, in the rough-hewn textures and color palette of desert hues of Karoo green and Kalahari yellow,” Fine continues.

Every piece in the collection is handmade (and dyed) in LA using eco-friendly and hand-woven textiles. Some from hemp, some from cotton, the pieces—which range from T-shirts and camp shirts to canvas pants and safari jackets—are as delicate and delightful as they are thoughtful and wearable. Standouts include a lightweight take on an unstructured pink Oxford ($245) and a color-blocked sweater ($595) made from 97% recycled cashmere.

“Africa represents a bridge between simplicity and complexity, raw and refined, cerebral and sensual,” Fine reiterates—a statement that is, in many ways, the essence of the collection.

Images courtesy of Tempus Now