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This article appeared in The Herald, La Femme of 23 March 2016.

Armand Dicker

CHILL TIME: Armand Dicker takes five in Port Elizabeth in between fashion events

PORT Elizabeth fashion designer Armand Dicker is used to turning heads: when he is not dressing models and clients in his mohair, wool and leathers creations he also rocks the ramp himself.

Johannesburg-based Dicker, 25, was back in his home city this week, staying with his grandmother in Cotswold for a brief break in his rapidly growing career as a menswear designer. The talented fashionista — who matriculated at Framesby High School before studying fashion design at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) — modelled his own garments in the Mohair South Africa fashion show at the Flora Banquet fundraiser at the Boardwalk last month. His Zoolander outing came hot on the heels of his Autumn/Winter 2016 Dicker showing at SA Menswear Week in Cape Town last month, Africa's only focused fashion week for men. He was one of more than 35 designers alongside fellow NMMU fashion success, Laduma Ngxokolo, who presented his MaXhosa range of knitwear.

Dicker is thrilled there is an increasing spotlight on the gents — "SA Menswear Week is growing so fast, it's really become international in a short space of time," he says — and he now is hard at work on a Spring Summer 2017 (SS2017) range due to be ready by July. "Our climate is very inconsistent, it is often cold in summer or hot in winter so I'm heading towards a trans-seasonal look for the brand," he said. "My next collection for SS2017 will start with shorts and vests then move into sweats and more 'winter' items, so I'll play around."

He said the Dicker collection was well received despite its controversial content—his line-up of models walked the ramp in wool and mohair tops emblazoned with phrases that played on his surname, such as "Suck my Dicker". "It's an ode to my surname, I was teased about my name quite a lot growing up, so it was my way of reclaiming it," he says by way of explanation, although he also has incorporated bold statements into previous garments, such as in his SS2016 collection last year. "For that, I was inspired by the Daily Sun newspaper headlines," he added, explaining why mohair tops had bizarre or sensational phrases such as "Karate goat ate me", "Fong Kong tokoloshe" and "Eat grass and be blessed" knitted into the design. However, his garments are grabbing attention not only due to the edgy imagery but also because of their cut and content: Dicker is a loyal fan of mohair and uses it extensively in his designs for summer and winter outfits. "My entire collection last season was mohair, with a few springbok pieces, because mohair is so trans-seasonal" he said.