Brands Of The Season

Written  by Boitumelo Molamu 

Since the passing of cultural and fashion icon Virgil Abloh, time has only proved the impact he had on the world of fashion, hip hop and also the youth of the 21st century, further highlighting how much the worlds of fashion and hip hop cross pollinate. From the days when Kanye West, Virgil Abloh and Don C would gate crash fashion week back in 2008 to now where the likes such as Kid Cudi, Offset and A$AP Nast can be seen on luxury house runways and more such as Riky Rick, Pharrell Williams, Skepta and Kanye West being seen on front rows. Not ending with just runway shows, rapper’s co-signs have been responsible for some brands and designers careers being catapulted to newer heights in the industry, continuing the cycle with those same brands having new talents on their campaigns and shows.

With the help of fashion forward creative directors and of course the amazing stylists, responsible for a lot of the musical style icons and for opening doors for new designers and brands such as Virgil did. In memory of Virgil Abloh we present Brands Of The Season, highlighting and showing some of the brands who have left their imprint in the culture for the past seasons, hopefully while reading you get to discover a new brand or perhaps get inspired to create your own.

Featured image sources: @broke_wear @vaultclothing.company @happyville_ @gradeafrica @refuse_rfc

Ph by Jean-Baptiste Mondino

GRADE AFRICA

It would be a total injustice if we had a list of brands who had an amazing 4th quarter or even a year and not mentioned Grade Africa. Street wear is constantly being redefined and from a South African point of view Grade Africa is blowing the definition out the water, from having collaborations with huge brands such as Space Jam, Chivas Regal and Coca-Cola. At the same time opening doors for other creatives and brands who deserve a special mention on this list, brands like RichmanSkyf, Strselle, VerySorry and SinChui.

Image source: @gradeafrica

REFUSE CLOTHING BRAND

For many of us we struggle to be open minded and look outside of Johannesburg for new talent and creativity, but now and then talent from outside the city tend t command our attention and capture us like never before. Through out 2021 that’s what Refuse Clothing Brand have done. Hailing out of KZN, Refuse Clothing Brand had the year 2021 in the bag, since the presentation of their Autumn/winter 2021 collection, the brand gained their momentum but it was when they released their Spring/Summer 21 collection that got them some mainstream attention with their campaign and editorial featuring rising stars at that time Lucasraps & Blxckie… After winning and presenting at SA Fashion Week as part of the Scouting Menswear Competition 2021, it’s only a matter of time until we see Refuse Clothing in the same spaces as the giants.

Image source: @refuse_rfc

HAPPYVILLE

A co-sign can go a long way for any young creatives, but it’s always impactful when organic. The greatest
of culture movements were built on community and friendship, the same philosophy applies to the success of clothing brand Happyville. Before all the commercial success of the brand, appearing on magazines and DSP promo images, friends to the brand such as UnclePartyTime & Champaign69 were already seen and heavily promoting the brands, all in the name of belief and friendship. With their creative takes on classic silhouette such as the workers jacket and their branding, I say this with more confidence than needed that Happyville will surely be a South African consumer favorite.

Image source: @happyville_

BROKE

Located in Cape Town, BROKE is perhaps one of if not the most anticipated brands from the West. Already the “Mecca” of street wear brands and fashion as a whole, Cape Town has given birth to some of the most iconic brands to come out of South Africa, as if BROKE did not have enough pressure to deal with already. Case being so BROKE has really been able to stand it’s ground next to thee great CT brand like Sol-Sol and TwoBop. Seen on the likes such as Dee Koala and some of the most stylish individuals on social media, BROKE has built a name for itself based on community not just in the West but also the East. With much support from the street wear community and unmeasurable potential of their branding, Broke might be the next great hope of Cape Town, potentially building an unbreakable bridge between east and west, and taking it to the world.

Image source: @wear_broke

VAULT CLOTHING COMPANY

An impressive rise in the space of fashion with just a year of being up and running… The pandemic as sad as it was and still is , was probably the best thing for Vault Clothing Company, their product line mainly consists of T-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants, which were staples for many during lockdown, this gave the brand an advantage they were smart enough to see and use. After a very successful year of being opened and their garments being seen on the like such as Nasty C and Frank Casino, Vault Clothing Company still has a long way to go but it’s no doubt that they are on the right path. With their Spring/Summer 2022 collaboration with Jonny Walker, highly anticipated, Vault is surely in the mindset of taking up space and we can only wait to see, how big it becomes.

Image source: @vaultclothing.company