Its not hidden knowledge that South Africa has become a birth place for independent street brands that hustle their way to commercial/international quality success and it has been considered a norm to identify and relate with certain street brands before they they blow up to a point where association becomes a little difficult, so HYPE got the chance to interview up and coming street brand “The Unique Iconz” and spoke to them about their beginnings,inspirations and hustle…lets get familiar.
When and How did The Unique Iconz come about?
In 2011 around August after our high school fashion show, we recognized how unique we are and realized that we stood out from the competition. Our relationship started then cause we were all disqualified for not confirming to the competitions idea of “formal wear”, because we were not wearing conventional suits, our ankles were visible and we weren’t wearing conventional formal shoes, this was all coincidental as we hardly knew each other. The fashion show brought us together and this is when the idea of the Unique Iconz was born. We started joking about starting a crew and rolling together that night. Then in February 2012 we officially started the movement and dubbed ourselves The Uniconz as this induced laughter and was very provocative. A few weeks after, our younger peers started looking up to us telling us that we were very unique, then through a lot of thought and word associations we got the name Unique Iconz because when u say it fast it sounds like uniconz. Originally there were six members but the numbers dropped during our transition from being a fashion crew to a brand. The remaining original members are Sandile ‘Sanza’ ‘The Talent’ Mhlongo and Kgomtso ‘ Barry’ Dihutso, our new member is Thabang ‘Cass’ Mzizi.
What is the concept behind The Uniqueiconz as your motto says “We Don’t Believe In Humans”,can you go deeper into that?
We do not have a solid concept for our brand as we believe that there are no limits and anything goes! Which creates some excitement as you will never know what to expect next. Our motto on the other hand is very deep because during our come up, our peers and teachers did not believe in us. We were told that it’s just a phase, fashion won’t take us far, and we should wake up and stop dreaming . This is still what most people tell us to this day. We realized that since people don’t believe in us why should we believe in them? Then we came up with “We Don’t Believe In Humans.”
Your following has been growing day by day, how do you handle your marketing? Any specific people helping you with pushing your brand?
We come up with all of our marketing strategies and we do everything ourselves from conceptualizing to implementing. ‘We don’t believe in humans Fridays’ has proven to be our most successful strategy and we don’t plan on changing it, however this season will come with new strategies that we believe will grow our brand further. The only person that has helped us push our brand is South Africa’s dopest photographer Chris Saunders, who has given us many opportunities that has led to Sanza The Talent being a face for Love Jozi’s (local brand) Free Range and labeled one of Johannesburg’s most fashionable by New York’s Spin magazine. Recently he and Swedish director Peter Lindgren gave us the opportunity to design for Little Dragon’s 1st lady Yukimi Ngano, a documentary was shot during this process and everything was delivered by Chris.
What inspirations help create all your clothing?
Before designing we research to see what our market wants, what our competitors are doing and then review the information, conceptualize, design and implement. We gather inspiration from international high fashion brands and our local brands to produce unique pieces.
Where can one get their hands on some Unique Iconz clothing?
One can follow us on twitter @The_unqueiconz and send us a direct message or email us on Weareuniqueiconz@gmail.com or get our personal details on our blog @ Iamauniqueicon.tumblr.com but we are currently working on a way to make distribution easier, we don’t want to reveal much but all we are say is #THATSWHYWEDOTHIS.