Behind Styla Gang: The fashion line worn by Emtee and Boity Thulo

The camo connection This range is chic and simple  Pictures: Itumeleng Galane
The camo connection This range is chic and simple Pictures: Itumeleng Galane

Soweto has long been a breeding ground for pioneering talent. Iconic musicians and electrifying sports teams are synonymous with this hood. The Styla Gang is now breathing new life into the fashion of this area, writes Phumlani S Langa.

You ever noticed the simple but dapper looking shirts a few local rappers have sported in their videos with the word “gang” printed on them? Well, these are the work of Styla Gang, which is based in Soweto at the popular Zone 6 venue.

Mpho Makua – at the helm of this brand – spoke to #Trending about the brand’s vision and how it became so successful.

It was born in 2012, a year after its founders wrapped up high school.

“The dream was to create a graphic sportswear label that bridges the gap between high-end fashion and streetwear. The brand was established as a creative platform to showcase our take on fashion, sport and what we consider trendy.”

Styla means style in colloquial terms and Gang represents a group of people working together.

“The Gang is made up of driven and forward-thinking individuals who believe they can change the world around them using nothing but unity and love as elements of progression.”

The Gang comprises seven individuals who cover skills ranging from design to writing and even music.

Styla Gang creations have been worn religiously by people like Emtee, Nasty C and Boity Thulo. Makua says: “We haven’t worked with a lot of celebrities; we just recently released a capsule collection with Emtee for his second studio album titled Manado. We have been fortunate to have a lot of celebrities wear our products on big platforms, which has managed to help generate traffic towards the brand.”

The simplicity of the garments intrigues me as it almost seems too understated at times and yet it works. Streetwear should make a statement, but it should strike a balance between that and the clothes that won’t; you don’t want to be looked at for the wrong reasons. That can be tough.

Besides the more popular “Gang” printed shirts, the brand also has a dinosaur – a raptor to be exact – as part of its logo. Being a Ralph Lauren fanatic, I view this as a reference to that fashion house and its polo horsemen, or even Lacoste.

Asked where they get the inspiration for their clothing: “We make sure we have a story to tell. Our clothing products serve as a platform to communicate and express how we feel about the world around us and this makes it possible to start conversations outside media platforms, since black communities don’t own any media outlets.”

Product prices range from R150 to R800 and include upper body apparel.

Makua says: “We are working on a capsule collection series, which will see us release a new capsule every Friday till the end of November.

“We have upcoming collaborations with 10 local clothing brands, nine with local and international artists and two with international brands – and we’re dropping a second edition capsule collection with Afropunk at this year’s festival.”

  • Shop it at Zone 6 Venue Soweto. Follow them on Instagram @sgod_za
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