Today one cannot speak of fashion without nodding to street fashion and the impact it has had and continues to have on South African youth.
Street fashion has always been a branch of fashion; however, it gained its popularity towards the late 1990s. Those whom are for the streets will often be seen sporting pieces such as jeans, athletic wear, T-shirts and more than often one’s drip is incomplete without a complementary pair of sneakers. Drip enthusiasts often follow particular brands that are popular through the various stages of fashion development; getting one’s hands-on limited-edition releases is often the goal.
South Africa’s Street fashion scene is making waves in its own right with the emergence of local brands that are at the forefront of innovating the local fashion market. One such influential brand is Pretoria based BenLuc, its founder, Ben provided some insight on creating the brand and its management.
The brand name BenLuc come from the fusion of the founder’s two names, Ben and Lucky. The brand was birthed as a social experiment, as a kid Ben says he always wanted to look and feel different which inspired him to create a fully South African owned manufacturing company that birthed the BenLuc brand. He further states that his love for fashion developed early in his youth, roundabout 2007 when skinny jeans were still the trend.
Ben describes the brand as an image and extension of himself, it is important for him that his brand mirrors the core essence of who he is; seeing BenLuc is seeing Ben himself. He has aligned his brand in sync with his daily life and its contribution to his identity and the way he regards himself. True to the intention of street fashion, Ben has made the BenLuc brand according to his own lifestyle and is grateful for the opportunity to live out life through fashion while he works on himself and his growth both personally and in business. He does not regret how far he has come because the growth of the brand is a reflection of his lifestyle.
The manufacturing side of business has been both interesting and challenging, however, he is most proud that the brand is able to manage and own its equipment from manufacturing to printing- BenLuc does not import anything, he says.
One of the challenges BenLuc has experienced since it started operating is getting fashion enthusiasts to understand that the brand is different from regular brands that are available on the market. Ben says (with Kanye-like confidence) that it is important for people to know that BenLuc is a cut above the rest and should not be compared to other brands as these brands do not have access to the quality fabric used by BenLuc in South Africa.
When asked if there is any advice Ben could share with anyone who wishes to be a brand owner, he provided that you should “trust the process” and believe in your own dreams while striving to follow them. He advised that prospective brand owners “listen to the universe because it is speaking to you, everything you see, hear and feel is a lesson that requires your understanding in order to make anything possible in your life.”
Ben’s aim is to see BenLuc being a number one selling streetwear brand in South Africa, he intends to expand the brand to overseas fashion markets in the coming years.