Nasir Mazhar's references extend further than many give him credit for. His S/S 16 show highlights how he's as much interested in historical costume as he is the wardrobes and lifestyles of the boys and girls who currently buy and wear his clothes (the 'Nasir tribe' as they're often called, a term he hates). You get the sense that they're referred to as a tribe partly only because the Mazhar aesthetic is so clear - his signatures and branding so recognisable that you could never mistake his garments for anything else. You can't fake them and you can't mimic them - though some have tried - and for that reason his fans are unmistakable. His shows follow suit. They're not predictable so much as focused - that precision and confidence was particularly noticeable today in the uncompromising palette of pure black, interrupted only with crackly, rubbery silver flashes, an inclusion that highlighted Mazhar's true talent for fabrication.
It’s easy to call Mazhar’s clothes aggressive, partly just because of the tired cultural and social stereotypes that surround some of the key items he produces - hoodies, tracksuits, caps - but this show felt deliberately intimidating. It was not so much boisterous as menacing - the humour and playfulness that can underpin Mazhar’s pieces was replaced by stoic masculinity, evident in those battle-ready flak vests and that all-black camo print.
There were surprises; those historical costume details, from Renaissance-style long bound sleeve to ruching, felt fresh. There was something fitting about seeing those majestic, regal details, drawn from the most opulent dress styles of times gone by, clashed with Mazhar’s signature, relaxed silhouettes. But then Mazhar's boys and girls are like old-school royalty of sorts (just the kind that grace stages, selfies and magazine covers wrapped in NAS and Nasir Mazhar logos) they dress with the same precision, attract the same notoriety and spawn the same legions of copycats.