Gauteng News

Rooted in fashion

Places inhabited by troubled or desperate people often double as a haven for creativity. Musicians and comedians have documented how their craft was shaped by difficult circumstances that existed earlier in their lives. The art of expression exists in many forms and fashion is one of them. 

Established in 2018 fashion label Homegrown Shandis is growing at a rate their counterparts would only anticipate in a few years. Comprised of a large number of members each individual brings their unique talent to the table and a fashion statement is made

I had the opportunity of interviewing co-founder SiceloMabuza who explained the concept behind Homegrown Shandis.

“We are not fashion designers but prefer being called creatives”, he begins. The interview takes place in their booth at a flea market in Newtown occupied by other businesses.

Positioned between 2 entrances Sicelo says the move was done strategically in order to attract customers entering and exiting the market.

His journey as a creative started in high school when he left home as a teenager. it was only natural for his hustle instincts to kick in considering the circumstances.

Self-taught in graphic design, photography and taking videos it was only a matter of time before their fashion label would be born

He continues,” Homegrown Shandis caters for people’s needs. We interact with our customers and get the sense of the kind of products they need.” 

This can be seen in their choice of material used. An old fabric that might be familiar to township dwellers, known as ‘Itshali’ or a traditional blanket, is used to make sneakers and scarves. If this doesn’t blow your mind maybe their customised wrist watches with the faces of their intended customers will.

The main inspiration behind these products is to preserve that homely feeling one gets when surrounded by family. “Itshali can be used as a door mat or for warmth, in some instances, but we see it as an African treasure that needs to be cherished,” Sicelo explains.

The team has had the chance of being interviewed on various media platforms and being noticed by prominent figures such as radio DJ T-bo Touch.

Their sneakers ‘Mama Kea’ are in demand in England while their other products are causing havoc in China.

Clearly, anything is possible when you consider yourself a disruptor of the conventional method of doing things. What’s better than disrupting the market with a Shandisthat is Homegrown.


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