Ex-hawker enters world of fashion with 100% local brand
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Johannesburg - Local is indeed becoming lekker as a home-grown fashion label joins the mainstream.
Shosholoza, the name deriving from a folk song made popular by mineworkers that is virtually South Africa’s second national anthem, will start selling at Jet Stores nationwide.
The man behind the name, George Moyo, who registered it as a trademark in 1990, is beaming with excitement at the milestone.
Growing up in Alexandra, north of Joburg, Moyo eked out a living as a youngster selling clothes.
Seeing his fashion label selling at a renowned clothing store like Jet is a far cry from the hard life of hawking clothing at Park Station, as the Joburg railway station is widely known.
His skills in the informal business sector were honed at the feet of the masters of the trade, like the late Marina Maponya.
Moyo has a very colourful CV, including stints at Premier Foods and the now defunct Johnnic Entertainment, among many feathers in his cap.
But he has always wanted to be his own man, dedicating more than 30 years of his life to entrepreneurial ventures.
Perhaps he is best known for his work in the ANC marketing and branding division.
Shortly after the unbanning of the ANC, Moyo was appointed head of the design, branding and distribution of the party’s 1994 election merchandise.
He would later make a name for himself assisting late President Nelson Mandela with registering trademarks and patents to protect the latter’s image.
A very modest man, Moyo is at pains to admit: “I also gained skills in manufacturing, distribution and retailing at around this time. I produced textile products such as T-shirts and banners for mass democratic movement organisations.”
The highlight of his journey in the merchandise industry was when he participated in producing the “Ready to Govern “and 1994 ANC Election Merchandise for the watershed 1994 South African first democratic elections, Moyo says.
It was then that the idea to trademark Shosholoza occurred to him, Moyo says.
Since the launch of Shosholoza in 1996, the brand has gained approval and won awards in safety and high performance products, the gumboot and overalls products becoming the success in the list of competitors with a footprint in southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Moyo says.
The clothing brand now re-enters the stage at Jet Stores.
“As a young man I was always interested in business and had a passion for fashion,” he says, speaking the language that is no doubt music to the eras of the suits at Jet.
Says Moyo: “Shosholoza was created to be our country’s number one lifestyle brand, giving all who wear it the belief that we are building a new nation and heritage.”
Justine Fagan, the executive buying manager: Menswear from Jet says: “Our values and George’s aligned so well that it was a no-brainer to pick Shosholoza.”
The values in question are Moyo’s passion for South Africa’s people and to build the country’s economy.
“Every fabric we used – from head to toe, the beanies to the footwear, is 100% locally sourced. Our values to create jobs for local people is the driver that guided us here.”
The range of Shosholoza clothing was launched on Friday but “the full curation of the stock will be available from 27 August”, Fagan says.
Of the 426 stores in the Jet Stores family, Shosholoza will be available initially at 60 stores across the country, Fagan adds.
Fagan adds that the collaboration with Moyo had them “with tears in our eyes” at the presentation as the two were so compatible with their vision.
Fagan says Shosholoza is a premium brand that will be sold at “a very good price”.
It seems there’s only one way to go for this partnership – and it is up!
“I am so excited for the product to go into stores and seeing the customer’s response is going to be amazing,” Moyo says.