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Riky Rick's 'skirt' gets viewers flapping

Riky Rick and DJ Lamiez Holworthy. /twitter
Riky Rick and DJ Lamiez Holworthy. /twitter

Fresh off the runway and straight to the stage, real men wear skirts.

That's the tune that rapper Riky Rick was singing when he rocked a knitted knee-length skirt - correction ibheshu - during his performance of I Can't Believe It on SABC1 show Live Amp on Friday night.

His gender-bending sartorial choice has sparked polarising debate on social media, with some even questioning his sexuality.

"If women can wear trousers, then men can wear skirts. Gqoka wena [Wear it] Riky Rick. Myekeni [Leave him alone]," one woman reacted on Twitter.

"Bro. You are a good singer but fire your fashion team . What is it in a skirt that says gangster?" one male user posted on Twitter.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, the hip-hop hitmaker who has never shied away from pushing fashion boundaries, remained unbothered by the mixed reaction over his wardrobe, and people questioning his sexuality.

Rick and his wife Bianca are the proud parents of two boys.

"I'm very comfortable in my skin and in what I decide to wear. I'm aware that the feedback is something I'll never be able to control," Rick said.

"Being called gay because of my fashion choices has been happening for many years, and it will never change the way I view fashion."

The monochrome gender-fluid ensemble is from the newest menswear collection by revered knitwear fashion brand, Maxhosa by Laduma.

The man behind the brand, Laduma Ngxokolo, insists for starters the correct term for the look is not a skirt or kilt, but rather it's his interpretation of ibheshu - a calf-skin apron worn by Zulu men. He does, however, confirm that the get-up was heavily influenced by the Scottish kilt.

"The collection is called culture, so the whole objective was to celebrate different cultures around the world," he explained.

"The Scottish culture is one of the few that stands out - that appeals to men and women. That was the inspiration behind this look."

"I designed the look with straight men in mind, but obviously it cannot be restricted to that. I expect females to rock that look as well; I wasn't restricting that look to any certain gender.

"People are not yet accepting of gender-bending fashion, especially our side of the world here in Africa. People just don't want to be associated with people expressing themselves in a gender-neutral way because that is perceived to be gay."

Rick said that for him, fashion is art. Maxhosa by Laduma, Rick and luxury accessories brand Okapi recently collaborated on a unisex bags collection.

"I enjoy wearing clothes the way envisioned by the designer. When I saw the Maxhosa look on the runway, I thought I could wear that, and so I did," Rick said.

"I don't take fashion literally all the time. Sometimes fashion is an exhibition. An exhibition that I enjoy being part of."

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