The idea is to express a visual reference of progressive art, self-expression & experimentation through the study of aesthetics identified in modern Africa. How does the Dark Continent find its identity through all the noise being poured down its esophagus from foreign civilizations? Forget the colours, & forget the prints as these characteristics only serve to limit the gaze of Africa's ambition.
May you give us a brief description of your brand?
It is clothing that challenges the mind sometimes through the use of Art or experimentation. It’s an alternative approach to Modern & ancient African aesthetics.
What is behind your brand name?
The time was right. I’ve always known that I’d use my name when I was mature enough as a person and through my discipline. The “/studio” part of the name, just stands to highlight that no man stands alone.
There is a massive amount of teamwork and collaboration that takes place when putting out good work.
What are your views on street culture, would you say your brand is aligned to street culture.
I guess we all have our own ideas of what is right or wrong. In some cases there is a lack in individual identity. Our own stories have been abandoned or replaced by international trends.
What makes matters worse is that we are being dictated too in regards to what “Africa” is. That individual of ‘African decent’ who can confidently identify their heritage through a brightly colored printed pair of shorts might as well be considered brain washed.
There are other things to be considered like; silhouette, religion, culture, messages encrypted into African cloth, history and undiscovered hand techniques etc. Printed fabrics can’t speak for the whole continent; all it does is cluster us into this box void of individuality, diversification or originality.
There is a lot of inspiration from our own streets of which the studio tries to capture. St. Georges Mall for example. I spent two and a half years there as an apprentice to Gavin Rajah. What I started to observe there is that there is a way that pantssag, from people that live on the streets to the next young Jay–‐z wanna–‐be, How towels/blankets are wrapped around a lady with an infant on her back, Cape Towns fixation with harem or jogger pants to Islamic influences.
What new elements have your brand brought to your industry | street culture.
It is very easy these days to draw comparisons as the industry has become so competitive. We can only focus on what we are trying to do. The important thing is that the studio reflects a persona of this moment in time with an eye on a future African identity. So the studio is currently in the process of discovery & experimentation touching on silhouette, colour & pattern construction methods.
What inspired you to have your own brand and is your brand reaching your target market aligned to your vision when starting the business.
customer profile is so important when starting a business yet it is rather difficult to create original ideas or looks and not be classed as avant–‐garde in South Africa. Design Indaba 2014 was a great platform to see whom the brand is attracting. What was noticed is that people are able to identify with the inspirations, thus sparking conversations around an African identity with in the fashion business. Those are the type of responses that the studio was established to create.
Would you like your brand to be exclusive to a particular market or to go into the mainstream market?
There are limited runs to the production of the garments on sale. These are well made items that look just as good on the inside as on the outside. There isn’t an objective to make clothing for an exclusive individual or class.
Do you think the concept of pop-up stores work?
In your views, what causes others to shut down?
I guess it adds a little excitement to the retail business. I’d like to use the concept for a project one day.
How do you advertise your brand to reach your primary market?
I’m no expert on this issue but the Internet, especially online shopping, has changed the way the world works.
What do you think emerging brands should pay attention to in order to reach new markets?
• Authenticity is so important.
• Your brand should be able to tell your story.
• Quality should never be sacrificed for money.
• Give yourself time & room to grow with your brand.