Local streetwear brands that are currently in the spotlight

Chepa Streetwear. Picture: Instagram.

Chepa Streetwear. Picture: Instagram.

Published Feb 5, 2024


The street style culture is huge in South Africa. If you visit fashion hubs like Maboneng, Braamfontein, Rosebank and Vilakazi Street, you’re guaranteed to spot at least ten fashionistas dressed to the nines.

They are not going to any fashion shows, it’s just another day in the city where people express themselves through fashion.

Recently, we’ve seen many South Africans embrace local brands.

It has contributed to the rise of streetwear luxury brands that do not take away the culture of South Africans but still offer high-quality garments.

Some of those brands include Seen Pha, Chepa Streerwear, Boys Of Soweto and Pieces Of Me (POM) Jeans.

Seen Pha

With an impressive online presence and only one store in Soweto, Seen Pha is a contemporary workwear and contemporary wear for pantsula and people with a kasi edge.

Owned by Jefferson Tshabalala, from Gqeberha, the brand prides itself on inclusivity. It caters for young and old, is unisex, and all its garments are handmade, including shoes.

Handmade shoes by Seen Pha. Picture: Instagram.

“We don’t import, we produce every garment. That’s why we tell our consumers that they can arrive at our retail outlet recently opened in Soweto and buy items there, but if the items don’t fit, we take measurements for custom fits.

“We want people to be super comfortable in all our garments,” says Tshabalala.

To start the brand, he was inspired by the lack of representation of black people with a niche for kasi fashion and street style.

“I used to work as a playwright and a theatre director. When I was staging shows, I always had to consider costumes for the cast. But I realised in contemporary South African theatre and television was that they usually dress black characters as stereotypical archetypes.

“For instance, if someone is playing a gangster, you know they will give him a leather jacket and a gold chain. If someone is playing the business person, they will give them a white shirt, a black tie and a suit,” Tshabalala said.

“But the reality is the way black people express themselves in corporate and art is very diverse. People in corporate don’t look the same. People in the art space don’t look the same.”

Seen Pha is famous among South African creatives, including radio personality and comedian Skhumba, “Masterchef South Africa” and “Ultimate Braai Master” judge Benny Masekwameng as well as media personalities Mpho Pops and Siv Ngesi.

Seen Pha dungarees. Picture: Instagram.

Chepa Streetwear

Founded by Dumi Mahlangu, Chepa is a local streetwear brand that infuses everyday wear with African print.

“Streetwear has always been defined as a casual clothing style worn by members of various urban subcultures. It's also casual wear we wear daily. So why can't we wear African print daily?” reads a statement from the brand.

“We wanted to make clothes that are practical and easy to wear, but also eye-catching. There’s no need to have a sub-culture when you’re wearing African-print because you’re already wearing ‘culture’.

“In SA, African print is worn mostly to weddings or Heritage Day. We don’t make formal clothes, and we also don’t want to be boxed by how African-print clothing has always been made.

“We aim to promote a post-modern, Afrocentric culture within people to foster an appreciation for casual, modern, African-print clothing.”

The award-winning brand (2022 NSBC Africa) is loved by many celebrities, including radio presenter Mo Flava, musician and dance Robot Boii, and singer Lizwi.

Chepa Streetwear. Picture: Walthari.

Boys of Soweto

Situated in the lifestyle hub in Braamfontein, Boys of Soweto is a smart-casual brand with an eye for modern-day knitted pieces.

The brand is known for creating unique functional garments while spotlighting one of the most famous townships in the world, Soweto.

Several celebrities, including Khuli Chana, Mpho Sebeng, Trevor Stuurman, Young Stunna,and Thapelo Mokoena are all supporters of the brand.

Boys Of Soweto. Picture: Instagram.

POM Jeans

Owned by Nkateko Maranele, POM Jeans is a denim brand based in Chiawelo, Soweto. The brand prides itself on stylish denim garments with distinctive stitches and clean detailing like wide pockets with the unity sign and fold ups.

In November, Maranele launched a collection called “Khensani”, an ode to her grandmother, who has always been her cheerleader.

Xibelani skirt by POM Jeans. Picture: Sathia Pather.

One of the pieces that stood out the most from the collection was a denim xibelani.

Xibelani is a thick, colourful Tsonga skirt made of wool or excess material. It is worn by women when doing the xibelani dance.