Contemporary wisdom would have it that masculinity, like many other aspects of our identity, exists on some kind of spectrum. The work of Jawara Alleyne takes this even further; with the sliding scale of manliness suddenly becoming more of a sprawling, permeable scribble, one that’s in constant flux.
There’s a decorative quality to the clothing of Alleyne, the CSM grad and Fashion East newcomer, that standard menswear has historically tended to shy away from. Be it in buccaneering feather boas or loose squares of fabric draped and tacked around the torso like bunting, Alleyne pulls from techniques traditionally reserved for womenswear. This means breezy silk shirts are slashed at the sleeve so that fabric unfurls in loose waves, and the tendrils of a fringed shirt come beaded as if they were trussels of braided hair.
The rougher edges of masculinity do, of course, poke through – seen in the sturdy suit trousers of Alleyne’s graduate collection, which were spliced, crumpled, and piled on top of each other, as if they’d been spat out from the exhaust of a commuter train. Alleyne is rarely singular in his vision, drawing on the distinct tropes and mythologies of his Jamaican-Cayman upbringing to exorcise the many spectres of manhood.
Now venturing beyond the runway, Alleyne is organising a summer camp for young adults in the Cayman Islands; the Art through Fashion Summer Programme and Art Residency will collaborate with a host of Cayman cultural institutes. With aims to expand into neighbouring countries, Alleyne hopes to sow the seeds of a long-lasting creative Carribean community.
Text Daniel Rodgers