From CA to CY, clothing brands keep it local

Maruwaan Emandien (Y?GEN), Johan Potgieter (Rich Boy) and Dillon Lee (Mindmaze) support each other.

Rich Boy Clothing, Y?GEN Apparel and Mindmaze Clothing may not be brands that you are all too familiar with but these local brands are definitely ones to look out for as they aim to cover Cape Town from head to toe with their own unique clothes.

Johan Potgieter, founder of Rich Boy Clothing, in particular, has been passionately running his business since 2013 and is focused on getting the name Bellville on the billboards and streets of every major city in the world.

Said Johan: “I want to put Bellville on the map so that everybody out there, even as far as New York, London or Los Angeles, knows the name Bellville and that the people who come from the area are proud to represent its name.

“I will not stop until people around the world know the name Bellville and I will not stop until the people of Bellville are ‘CY Proud’.”

Johan is dedicated to ensuring that every product that has his brand on is locally produced every step of the way.

“Everything about the company is localised. I design about 90 percent of all the products and the entire production process is done here in Bellville. Even when we do photo shoots we use local landmarks for our venues and the models are all local people. I sometimes even use my loyal customers, so everything about Rich Boy Clothing is 100 percent Bellville.”

The 31-year-old has also formed an alliance with two more local designers, Maruwaan Emandien of Y?GEN and Dillon Lee and Hiesham “Lefty” Hendricks of Mindmaze to fully expose their brands all over Cape Town and beyond.

“We are a family, we all help each other out by wearing each other’s brands and promoting each other. It’s all about keeping it local, wanting to make sure that from head to toe the people of Cape Town is repping CA to CY.”

Y?GEN, started in 2010 and based in Lansdowne, could seem the most familiar as it is co-founded by local rapper Youngsta CPT (Riyadh Roberts) and his brother Maruwaan Emandien.

The brand was created by the brothers to fully expose the Youngsta brand while Maruwaan added that they are pushing to be part of a global club. “If you look at the way it is around the world in terms of the hip-hop culture you see a lot of artists linking themselves with various accessories as their brand gets bigger. So, we’re looking to follow that trend but we still try to make it as exclusive as possible.”

In terms of their partnership with Rich Boy and Mindmaze, Maruwaan said they all have a mutual respect for each other. “For us, it is about building the next brand. Whatever resources that we have is shared among each other, even if it puts the one in a better position.

“The way we see it is that we do not need to compete with Rich Boy or Mindmaze. Like Youngsta says in his music, we must all be one so we need to follow that way of thinking. At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping it local and that is our main goal.”

Parkwood residents Dillon and Hiesham began the Mindmaze brand on a small scale five years ago, but through their partnership with the other two brands, they have now seen their production levels more than double in the past two years.

Said Hiesham: “When we started we would just come out with a range of like a few caps every month or so. But now we are able to come out with a bigger range of clothes at a quicker rate and that is exactly where we want Mindmaze to be.”

Dillon and Hiesham, friends from their time at Garlandale High School, said they are both pushing to be independent and also to provide a unique clothing brand to the masses.

“Since I was in primary school, I was drawing on my clothes and trying to make them more unique,” said Dillon.

“I didn’t want to wear the same clothes as everybody else. I guess that is where my passion started and now I just want to make sure that everybody is looked after and that they are comfortable.”