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New York menswear event showcases rising designers

NEW YORK, July 11 (Reuters) - A four-day parade of men's fashion has kicked off in New York, showcasing the 2018 Spring/Summer collections of rising designers, several making their debuts on this closely watched global stage.

That internationalism was felt this year through the fashion collections displayed.

Nigerian-born designer Taofeek Abijako dressed male models in boxy fits and bright colors, saying he drew on the colonial history of his country for inspiration.

"I took inspiration from African contemporary photographers like Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keita ... and how they reacted to Western influence," he said.

Although just in its fifth year, New York Fashion Week: Men's is fast becoming an important stop on the fashion circuit.

"I love that New York Fashion Week: Men's is really gaining momentum," said American designer David Hart, who showcased light summerwear that invoked a feel of Cuba, which has recently restored ties with the United States and seen a rise in tourism.

"I feel like there is a new energy, and big excitement, and it really is a platform for the menswear designers here in New York City," he said.

The event mostly dropped the traditional catwalk associated with large fashion shows and designers instead had models stand in large spaces to showcase the clothes.

Later in the week, the show will feature collection debuts by Raf Simons and Boss, while Robert Geller launches a contemporary line called "Gustav von Aschenbach" and Barbara Sanchez-Kane of Sanchez-Kane shows for the first time in New York.

"New York Fashion Week: Men's" will run till Thursday. (Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Paul Tait)