Give your old sneakers a new life

2016-07-07 06:00
 Brand Old’s Linda Mandela and Fundiswa Gugu Mrali showcase their work of refurbishing sneakers.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Brand Old’s Linda Mandela and Fundiswa Gugu Mrali showcase their work of refurbishing sneakers. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Two Gugulethu creatives are making locals step back into style by refurbishing old sneakers with African flair.

Linda Mandela and Fundiswa Gugu Mrali are the founders of Brand Old, clothing label with the difference. The duo renews old sneakers by taking African print textiles and sewing them in, giving them a fresh look.

Like many entrepreneur endeavours this enterprise began as a result of adversity as former theatrical costume designer Mandela lost her job.

“Two years I ago I worked for a production company that suffered financially and I had to be let go. I went to Joburg for a year and that didn’t work out for me so returned to Cape Town last year. I worked part time and things were a bit tough for me,” said Mandela.

In April she started playing around with the idea of revamping old sneakers and little did she now that a few months later she had set a trend.

“I remember when I posted one of the first pairs I worked one and I got such a great response from people and we started thinking that this might just work. Since then we have been receiving a steady amount of calls from people who want they sneakers refurbished,” she said.

The pair work from their NY112 home and charge between R200 and R300 per pair. They also refurbish belts and wrist watches. Mandela said that she chose African prints for their visual appeal.

“They are very attractive, funky and they are currently trending so it is not out of the norm. We don’t really give our customers a choice but we assess what kind of a person they are and we chose a print that will suit them and so far they have been happy,” she said.

Mrali said that most of their clients were the young and fashionable but they welcome anyone who wants to have their sneaks refurbished.

“One of our biggest challenges so far is the misconception that we fix shoes. We have to make that clear that we don’t fix shoes we refurbish them if you shoe needs to be fixed that has an added cost,” she said.

The duo dreams of opening their own store/restaurant where they will be able to set their items and offer a hospitable environment.

With Mrali being an actress the pair want to carry their thespian background within their work by also designing and manufacturing props for sets.

Brand Old can be on their Facebook page and on 0720685844.

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