The first Chivas Venture X Grade Africa's workshop happened in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this year. Zaid Osman, the founder of the Sneaker Exchange – Africa’s largest youth culture event and streetwear brand and movement, Grade Africa, and his four apprentices got together with renowned fashion and brand front-runners to discuss vision, inspiration and the essence of their brands and the outcome was tantamount to the birth of A Grade splendour under Chivas’ patronage.
The narrative was clear at the outset: the A Grade capsule collection is driven by the culture, the art of storytelling and collaboration. In an in-depth dive into their passion, intention and purpose, the apprentices shared what moves them to create. Josh Badenhost, Robyn Agulhas, Sabelo Shabalala and Lindiwe Modiselle share a collective insight into street culture. To this group, the culture is not a trend but a way of life, expression and identity; it is a movement. They took all of this into account when they began ideating and designing the A Grade capsule collection which they presented to the heads of Chivas Global to prove that they deserve their seats at the table.
During the 3-week workshop, Josh Badenhorst, Robyn Agulhas, Sabelo Shabalala and Lindiwe Modiselle visited the Laurus Factory where they pored over various materials and fabrics and learned about garment construction. They also stopped over at firebrand designer David Tlale’s new Cape Town store on Kloof Street – who better to delve into bold and disruptive design with? This was the beginning of the apprentices’ journey to creating the A Grade capsule collection where they learned practical skills such as sketching, designing patterns and cutting fabric.
In addition to their visit to David Tlale’s store, Zaid and the apprentices visited with other industry leaders. Craig Jacobs, the founder of Funduzi, spoke to the importance of creating something that inspires and excites consumers who “walk into stores and see something they have never seen before”. Lufuno Sathekge of Miss Brown Styling emphasized the importance of collaboration: “…allow your artistry to meet up with people’s art to make magic”. Hayden Manuel, Puma Marketing Manager and a prominent figure in street culture in SA and Anina Malherbe-Lan, founder of Vivid Prime a luxury PR and branding agency also dropped wisdom from their experiences in the industry – the apprentices were armed tothe tee with credible knowledge.
One of the key learnings of the workshop were taken from the Proudly South African webinar focused on localisation as the driving force behind economic growth in the country which is the motivation behind Chivas Venture’s collaboration with Zaid Osman and Grade Africa. Chivas Venture is set to support the need for local community projects that drive positive action and social change and these talented nu-wave entrepreneurs are off to an impressive start.