• The BROKE Concept
  • THE BROKE Team
  • The difference about the BROKE Brand
  • What’s the BROKE must-have item?

BROKE CLOTHING’s effortless nonchalance is expressed somewhere between audacity and charisma. The aesthetic is an artful homage to the nostalgia of the 90’s, an economically inclusive philosophy and a gloriously South African coolness.

In an era over stimulated by screen time, curated look books and “get dressed with me” videos, one should forgive the current generation of taste makers for their uncalculated homogeneity. But, from this endless, repeated sameness, blows the refreshing air of BROKE. For a change, we have a clothing brand truly invested in their manifesto and their vision. More than snappy marketing, they have touched their audience in a very authentic way and transformed them into a thriving community united by the desire of their apparel and viral activations.

Their legend begins with “where you there when” BROKE dropped free merch and limited pieces to a streetwear mob in the heart of Jozi. Crowded pavements and IG LIVE paid witness to a galvanised group, eyes glazed with religious fashion fervour. It was beautiful, noisy, chaotic, culture shifting moment. Then there was the very first “boot” pop-up sale in front of their unfinished store, drawing both fashionista and urban hustlers. The crowd, both audience and shopper, were all swept up by the egalitarian performance art and retail fever. Seizing the day and the opportunity, BROKE are currently on a nationwide tour of pop-up boot sale events in South Africa’s big cities, literally bringing their wear to the people.

From concept to fashion range to social movement, there is something very compelling about the brand. Clothing as philosophy is nothing new, but BROKE’s power to connect people cannot be dismissed. The WIRE sat down for an exclusive chat with one of the BROKE Boys, Mzwandile, about all things BROKE that we need to know.

The WIRE: Who are the team behind BROKE?

BROKE: BROKE is a collective of individuals who share similar interests and are trying to figure out this life journey together. There are about six members who actively participate in the group namely Sindiso Tshuma, Andile Dlamini, Mzwandile Sithole , Simbongile Ntaka, Akhona Beja and Hlumelo Goso.

TW: What is the BROKE clothing Concept?

B: Taking a negative concept and turning it into something positive, BROKE is a family. Conceived in Cape Town by Broke Boys in 2016 and officially launched in 2020. BROKE is for all the rebels; the misfits; the youth; and all those who try to overcome incredible odds to achieve bigger dreams. Inspired by real life experiences, along with the heavy 90s and pop culture influences, we aim to give youth an experience not just clothes.

TW: Who is your target shopper?

B: We could say our audience is the youth. We intend for the brand to transcend through the bounds of race, nation, sex, gender, and culture because being BROKE is being rebellious over konforming to expectations.

TW: As a new clothing Brand to SA, what is different about BROKE?

B: The energy we are bringing is what separates us from the rest. What we have done is build our community in a way that is inclusive and welcoming. BROKE is unifying the youth from all walks of life. In a BROKE setting we are all one big family brought together by the love of culture.

TW: What was the first BROKE piece that was designed?

B: In 2016 we started off with a t-shirt capsule called “The Amazing World of Broke Boys”, bootlegging the cartoon “The Amazing World of Gumball”, and that got us some notoriety in the streets. The rest is history.

TW: What was your breakout item, i.e the piece that sold out first?

B: After taking a twp year hiatus, on 4th of December 2020 we relaunched the brand with our staple BROKE tees and “Big Bold B” Caps which became fundamental pieces to our followers. These are consistently sold-out items.

We turned construction delays into a nationwide phenomenon! Facing construction setbacks for our Flagship store opening, we saw a golden opportunity to connect with our audience in a truly BROKE way – just as we’ve always done. We pulled up to the unfinished store, popped the boot open, and the BROKE Boot Sale was born. This move gave life to the iconic BROKE Boot Sale Tour that we took across Mzansi, uniting us, reshaping our identity, and forging an unbreakable bond with our community.

TW: If one is new to the brand, what should I buy first?

B: Getting the Broke staple Tee and The Big Bold B cap is the entry level to the brand and community at large.

TW: Who is BROKE’s celebrity crush?

B: It’s difficult to say as we are individuals in a group and our taste differs.

TW: What is the BROKE must have item for summer 2023?

B: We have a lot planned for the summer and can’t say yet. For ladies, already earmarked are Tank Tops and detachable Maxi Skirts; then for the gents we’ve got Bowler shirts and shorts.

TW: What song are the BROKE boys vibing to right now?

B: With BROKE being divided into different departments from the Fashion side of things to Events and Music, we find ourselves listening mostly to music created by our members, as some are artists. We are currently jamming to a lot of unreleased songs as we have been working on different projects.

The WIRE looks forward to BROKE shifting culture in Fashion, especially with the opening of the store in Cape Town on the 9 Sept 2023 (SAST) at 53 Wale St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa. It is sure to be one of the fashion events of the year.

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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