Issuu on Google+

The Darkie brand combines style and culture. It stands for originality, innovation and quality. Since the launch in 2002, the label has steadily increased its clientele and points of sale, whilst still retaining a unique South African most wanted iconic brand. Darkie is a small company, kept alive by a young and creative design team that lives and breathes street fashion and South African township culture. It was founded by Themba Mngomezulu, a dropout B-Com student, who got introduced to the fashion world through his mother who was selling used clothes. South Africa’s very own streetwear label, Darkie is hip, hot and happening. Image source

NEXT

The Darkie space


Named among 2010’s Best Dressed Men by GQ South Africa

“I come from humble beginnings. Many people don’t know my history, including the people I work with, but I was living on my own when I was nine years old up until the age of fourteen years.”

Themba Mngomezulu Themba Mngonezulu, a native of Pretoria, is known for recycling vintage and African fabrics into funky street wear that will rock your world. This instinctive designer derives his ambition from the passion for clothes.

Despite having no formal training in fashion design, Themba officially launched Darkie at Joburg Fashion Week in 2002, affirming the mantra that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

In February 2006 he joined forces with Cape Town-based designer Azaad Carrim and together they Themba was first introduced to now run a design house with 25 fashion while still in primary school employees. when his mother traded secondHe opened a dedicated Darkie hand clothing from their garage. boutique in Long Street in Cape He also accompanied her when Town and also launched a second, she went out selling used clothes more experimental label, Regime. door to door. He is now getting ready to move to He later began working from his small one-room apartment in Dur- a new store, still in Cape Town. ban, recycling clothes for himself and friends. With his clothing garnering rapid interest from the public, he began supplying the stores for which he worked on weekends.

Today, Themba is well known in the fashion industry. He was recognized by GQ Magazine’s South African edition as one of 2010’s Best Dresses Men.

NEXT

PREVIOUS

The founder & designer

“At the moment I’m not complaining about my hectic schedule. I love my job. I left my B.Com studies to become a designer. I can’t imagine wearing a white shirt and a tie everyday of my life.” - Themba Mngomezulu


NEXT

PREVIOUS


“Themba Mngomezulu’s Darkie label turns an old white insult for black Africans on its head, much as kwaito star Arthur Mafokate reclaimed the word kaffir”

The choice of the brand name “Darkie” has met with its fare share of detractors over the years. Although the brand has been well embraced in Africa and Europe, the cultural landscape in the Americas has been more challenging. But Themba Mngomezulu remains steadfast in his belief that reclaiming the pejorative word and redefining it is an empowering thing. “My designs are inspired by old things, everything that is old. I go back with the times, look at colours, textures and the fabrics, and that’s basically it. Darkie just came about as a title for the people I want to wear my clothes, people I associate with clothewise, and I must emphasise that it has nothing to do with colour” says Mngomezulu.

“I called my range Darkie Clothing because I am dark and cannot be something I am not, and know there will not be a Whitey range,” the designer jokes. “When I was at school I was teased because I was dark, I’m also the darkest in my family. My answer to them all was that one day I was going to be famous and I’d make sure they all worked for me. The main thing is that I actually love the name. I think it is cool and it has no political connotations for me at all. Besides, nobody else will have a name like this.” Themba has welcomed the controversy the brand name has sparked but maintains it has nothing to with race. “We like that. It gives people something to talk about,” he says.

“Darkie combines style and culture. It stands for originality, innovation and quality. It symbolizes the pride we feel being Africans and enables us to provide our customers and clients with products that are truly African, truly Darkie.”

NEXT

PREVIOUS

Darkie : what’s behind the name?


NEXT

PREVIOUS

“We don’t believe in celebrity marketing. If a person is a celebrity and wants to be dressed by us they will be treated like any other customer. We design, you buy, simple as that.”


“The Darkie brand manifests itself from concepts to manufacturing and from clothing to interior design. Current corperate clients include IZIKO Museum, Nandos, and moroka swallows, just to mention a few.” With their trademark afro-comb denoting their different clothing ranges, Darkie makes clothes for everyday men and women but also does corporate clothing (Darkie Corporate).

packaging and shipping, all is handled in-house.

The corporations they work with are open-minded because they know that the designs will be streetwear-inspired.

Themba Mngomezulu has been involved with many projects from the design of South African casual dining restaurant chain Nando’s uniform, to clothing lines for government institutions and other private and corporate design.

Not compromising on the brand’s creative reputation, the Darkie team works on every corporate project from scratch. From manufacturing, printing, boxing,

“We dress sexy men and women who want to look and feel good, no matter what their body shape,” says Mngomezulu.

NEXT

PREVIOUS

Expanding the Darkie footprint


NEXT

PREVIOUS

The streetwear brand, with the afro-comb signature, is inspired by the South African youth culture. This is a brand where one will find South African street lingo and style. The brand fuses tailoring and sport to create intriguing luxury streetwear.

Image source


NEXT

PREVIOUS

The runway show videos Darkie - Virgin Mobile Cape Town Fashion Week 2008

Darkie, fashion from Cape Town


NEXT

PREVIOUS


NEXT

PREVIOUS


NEXT

PREVIOUS

“Some people expect us to do a quick show without realising the effort that goes into planning, designing and producing a collection. Many people see us as entertainers. Only when people realise how important designers are in society, we can have a chance to succeed. So I’ve got to keep giving people what they love so they buy into designs. And that’s what I do best.” - Themba Mngomezulu


NEXT

PREVIOUS

“Merging memories and future dreams, that’s what it’s all about.”


Known for its signature Afro-comb, the streetwear brand is characterised by interesting colour combinations, innovative patterns and funky t-shirts sporting the faces of cultural icons such as Muhammad Ali, Ray Charles and Nelson Mandela. Playing with graphic images, the comb is embroidered as a logo on much of Darkie’s creations. Also, slogan t-shirts feature phrases shouting out “Youth will be heard” and “Cape Town on my mind” in homage to the magnificent Ray Charles classic, “Georgia on my mind.”

NEXT

PREVIOUS

Fashion inspired by cultural icons


“A Darkie racer-back that says I love boys, combs and Darkie and Darkie bell-bottom jeans and Mandela tee.�

NEXT

PREVIOUS

What are the three items every woman should have in her closet?


Darkie Clothing’s design headquarters and creative flow hub is located in Cape Town’s municipality of Woodstock. Railings of clothing and pattern sheets occupy the office in volumes. The basic design philosophy remains the same as how Themba Mngomezulu has always exercised his creative genius: “I just took shirts and pants, cut them up and mixed them together, added pieces of old curtaining, made skirts from neckties, that sort of thing. They were all once offs. It was

really more out of necessity that I recycled clothes because I grew up wearing secondhand clothes.” But even now, Mngomezulu says he simply can’t get himself to wear new clothes. “I don’t believe in them,” he says. “Recycling makes my mind creative, and it’s a process that works for me. I don’t know really what a fashion designer actually does; I just do what I do.” Everything he designs is still inspired by vintage clothing and giving new life to old pieces. “It’s all about living your philosophy.”

NEXT

PREVIOUS

The creation space


NEXT

PREVIOUS


Image source

NEXT

PREVIOUS

“The brand is inspired by vintage and all surrounding old things such as furniture, cars, buildings, curtains, people on the street�


NEXT

PREVIOUS

“My pet hate, though, is when someone says they know what their style is. Designers know what your style should be, and that’s why we do collections every season. That’s how development happens.”


Bring the Darkie brand to your store

Contact the authorized Canadian agent: Culture Shox Media Inc. 307-243 Eglinton Ave West Toronto, Ontario M4R 1B1

PREVIOUS

Tel.: 647-781-6441 e-mail: contact@darkiecothing.com Web: www.darkieclothing.com

* This document does not contain original copy but is an amalgamation of content from various websources including: - “The Darkie Has Landed” by Khetha Mkhize - “Designer notes: Darkie” by Lee-Shay Collison and more ...

Return to Home


Darkie Clothing