It has been said that street culture is something that cannot be faked, bought, copied or sold and that its fashion emerged from the grassroots, away from your generic studios & straight into a world of endless possibilities. Its a type of fashion that is personal to you, something that displays your personality but is still highly trendy.
Street fashion has been successful in convincing many about its diverse influential growth, which has practically lead to its hostile takeover, which may even be seen as controversial to others.
One local street brand that has managed to emerge to challenge the standards of how we view our street culture and dissect the values of our own creativity & designs, is the one brand known as Trendscend.
HYPE got the chance to have a Q & A interview with TRNSD which included discussions on how they started out, what qualities they stand by & their opinions on the progress of our local street culture.
When and how did Trendscend start up & who are the people behind it?
We initially started Trendscend in early 2013 purely as a blog that focused on sharing the ideas of the high-end international fashion world, but also trying to keep it as easily relevant and youthful as possible. Later that year we started developing our own clothing ideas. When watching these ideas physically materialise, it put us into such a crazy creative state that it only felt right that we started our own brand. The name is derived from the combination of the words “Trendsetter” and “Transcend.” In other words, “transcending current trends.” TRNSD is made up of three young ambitious creatives: Khanyisile Dube, Khotso Makote & Luyanda Sithole.
There are quite a number of street brands out there in the market and within the Hip Hop community threads have always played a role in expressing a certain persona. TRNSD seems to tackle down bold statements such as how the brand is “not just making clothing but rather digging deep into the social norms that currently exist within the South African street culture”. From your perspective what would you say really separates TRNSD from the rest and what qualities do you stand by?
We wanted to really understand what the core principles are that drive the South African street culture, especially the fashion. We always asked ourselves what makes South Africa’s youth so unique from the youth in other countries. This bit of knowledge allowed us to be really engaged in the designing process as well as the concept development stages that are so often overlooked. We also believe that creativity should not be limited. For us, fashion is just one of the many ways we plan on communicating our ideas.
You mention how your goal is to “lead the frontier in high end street fashion through creative methods of conceptual design”. When analyzing the growth of our local street fashion today, what are your opinions on the progress of our street culture so far? Anything you would change about it?
Our street culture in this country is rich! We love that there are so many talented groups and individuals who contribute to it on a daily. Everyone is passion driven and the styles are so diverse. One thing that we shouldn’t allow is the over saturation of foreign ideas. People have a misconception that overseas brands are much better (and in some cases they are right), but we feel as though they are only better because locally we don’t communicate our ideas through the proper channels. This is something overseas brands do so well. Our goal is to bring together a refreshing way to look at product design as a whole. To show people that our ideas are just as good, if not better, and can compete on a global stage by giving them what is severely lacking; a certain level of professionalism met with brilliant & creative design.
Tell us more about TRNSD… How has the brand progressed since it started out?
With only 7 months in the fashion industry, we have been blessed to be in the position we are at today. We are receiving more interest from stores nation wide wanting to stock our apparel. Our international viewership on our blog has increased immensely so we believe we are on the right track to leaving our footprint on the global high street fashion world.
What is the brand’s philosophy?
Do well, live well and dress really well. We don’t think there is a need for further explanation on that, it’s pretty direct.
What or who influences the designs you make and where do you find inspiration today?
We try to be inspired by ordinary everyday things that we see and things we can feel & hear. We also do a lot of research by looking at works by many local and foreign designers (fashion designers, artists, architects, interior designers, furniture designers and so on). By seeing and reading about works across the many fields, we are able to visualise certain things can help us develop our own designs by relating them back to fashion (Colour palettes, comfort levels, ergonomics) More recently, we have started to look at the raw and natural underground vibe in Jo’burg.
What has been your biggest challenge as a fashion brand?
Our biggest challenge has been to develop a concrete infrastructure and resource system. South African street fashion is not given the recognition it deserves, yet we believe it is the most influential culture this great country has to offer. This has proven to be quite difficult for us to convince the corporate world that this is a booming industry with seemingly endless possibilities because of the simple fact that creativity is unlimited. There is an art to every business model and if brands could fully commit themselves to innovation, it would go a long way in contributing to the growth the economy. A solid corporate backing would help us immensely to produce higher quality pieces that can relate to a wider range of people.
What kind of threads does TRNSD have & where can one purchase your products?
In stock we currently have graphic crew neck t-shirts, flannel button up shirts and lightweight reflector bomber jackets. Our apparel is now available at DipStreet Store and Amerikana Africa both located in Braamfontein, as well as on our Web store: www.TRNSD90.com/Store We ship worldwide.
What’s on the cards for the rest of 2014 for the Trendscend brand?
There is a lot we still have to bring to the table this year that we are extremely excited about, some of which we cannot share right now but what we can mention is that we are currently in works with UK based, grime & trap producer, DJ Cable, on a collaborative EP set to drop sometime this year. We are also looking to collaborate with local artists and designers who are involved in other fields of the industry not just fashion. Street Cred 2014 might be on the cards as well.
What advice would you give to emerging street fashion brands looking to set-up their own movement?
It’s one thing to be inspired by someone’s work and another to copy it. Originality is the most important factor in this industry. We urge up-and-coming brands to be creative with everything that they do. We have grown weary in seeing your logo printed on a t-shirt or sweatshirt because you saw labels like Supreme and Pigalle do it. Play around the norms and don’t be afraid to experiment. We need brands that will contribute to the growth of the South African street fashion and the culture as a whole as well as to compete on a global scale. We will not reach international recognition if we are copying exactly what they are doing abroad.