1. Our Man Crush Wednesday
“Isintu is ‘The Way of the People’. The ancient philosophy, social ethic and cultural paradigm, including supporting rituals, ceremonies and art forms, that sustains our collective memory and collective well-being. With a mission to inspire every individual who wears our brand, to feel bold and brave as royalty should be. If anything, the goal is to be the world’s first best traditional-contemporary brand.” Forming the Isintu team are Musa Radebe who is the Founder of Isintu, working hand-in-hand with Sibusiso Nzima who is the communications officer.
Musa is a natural fashionista and style guru who holds a diploma in paralegal studies. With a very trendy fashion taste and outlook, he is the founder of Isintu. The fashion junkie has a huge hand in designing the garments, and is all about bold moves and styling. He overlooks the operations at Isintu; ensuring that the brands intellectual property (designs/patterns) are protected.
Sibusiso on the other hand, with a BA Corporate Communication degree, obtained from the University of Johannesburg, studied in South Africa and the UK, is the communication manager and investor. With his critical and systems based thinking, he leads and develops organizational and communications strategies. Working closely with the design and marketing team, he ensures that the brand operates holistically, and is working towards reaching its brand and business objectives.
The two members of the team are best friends and their relationship is based on trust, support and hard work, they share the same vision and are in their way to fulfil their mission. There are people who come on board to work along with the team and provide different services like financial services. The business started at one of their back rooms in Kwa-Thema at the East Rand and they continued to work hard to the point where everyone would ask, “What is Isintu?”
2. Their Thing
Isintu is a lifestyle. It is representative of the lessons that the creators got from their elders. The tales that they grew up being taught. The superstitions. Culture. It highlights that single element of culture that you find in a household of a person who especially grew up in the townships, for example, one of the things you’ll always find are your little blankets that grandma wears over her shoulders or the famous coal stoves that keep us warm during those cold winter days. It is a matter of re-living such teachings and looking at their grandmother’s houses and the artifacts that are found in their grandmother’s homes. Like that very old rugged mat written ‘Welcome’ outside the house. Though that is just one thing, but when you look deep into it then you see that there would be those cultural events like a traditional wedding where there is “umembeso”, and people cover themselves up in blankets. The idea suddenly came that if they can clothe in those blankets, why can’t one wear the blanket as a jacket and still look stylish?? That would actually be cool!! This lead the co-creators of the brand to play around with these blankets, putting them around their necks, their arms, leaving them to drop down their waists and that is how Isintu started. That is what Isintu is.
3. Model their way
Most of the time, traditional clothes or objects are handmade. “As a designer, growing up, one of the first things that I was taught was how to sew on a button, how to put together something that had been torn apart, how to put a thread into the needle and how to make everything straight; hence we believe in hand crafting”, Musa said. He continued to say “the jackets had to be handcrafted whether we liked it or not, and even though we may use a machine here and there, but the finishing touches have to be handcrafted such that one is immediately able to see that these jackets are definitely handcrafted!”
The brand Isintu was created for people who are very cautious about their identity. People who do not want to be part of the “clutter” associated with the “Western Culture”. People who are very bold. It is more about one’s identity than it is about their positioning. Because you can either have an identity or you can position yourself in a different manner everywhere you go, and if you have an identity then everyone knows that this certain person is like that, no matter where they go. So with Isintu it’s a matter of always having that one element that people can use to distinguish one from the rest. And for a person to like Isintu, they must have an identity and one that is true. And for those who feel that they do like the Western style, Isintu is accommodative by having a bit of the Western feel though it is not the main focus of the design or brand. It is a brand made for bold people, people who do not care about the status quo and people who want to look expensive. It’s a new brand and its always been about communication. And even wearing it is basically communication on its own. It was made for Queens and Kings, the noble persons of royalty.
4. Their shine moment
Isintu found its exposure when everyone wanted to know what Isintu is and what it is about. So much such that they had an interview with UKhozi FM where they talked about the brand and its aim to preserve heritage as the youth, bringing those artefacts back to life with a high-end approach. This led them to a better following on social media. And it even led them to the opportunity of showcasing their range at the social market that took place in Pretoria, where businesses showcase their work. A lot of people came and they fitted the clothes, took pictures and made more orders. Orders even came from as far as KZN, Mpumalanga, the Eastern and Northern Cape. They then had more than one photo shoot and one of the photo shoots were requested for profile compilation. They even went as far as being featured in a newspaper article, the Langa Newspaper in KZN. This was amongst other blog collaborations that the brand had. All these had quite a great review from the public which then motivated the team to broaden their range to more than just the jackets in future.
5. Watch them soar
Hence, Isintu is looking into more. There are still dreams of expanding the brand using many other different and detailed materials. Where they will take even much simpler things and make them extraordinary. ‘Something as simple as a table cloth or a traditional mat’ Musa said. The aim is to create. Isintu has dreams of getting more orders from around the country, especially from the Western Cape where most of our tourists are located. Isintu recently went through a brand revamp and they plan to launch their brand, with an entirely new start up around March/April 2017, so do watch out for them and we at Seen Vicariously will keep you posted as well, like we always do. There is also an opportunity to go to the Maboneng fashion week looking up and the team is also looking at going to showcase their beautiful work there. Musa lastly mentioned that the ultimate goal is to create thee South African outfit using local designers (e.g. Tshepo the Jean Maker and Skinny Sbu Socks – he mentioned) that are big in the fashion industry.
The jackets are even ordered using their own names!! Isn’t this amazing?? Here are a few examples from the first and second photo shoots:
Thandolwethu (Our love)
Umthokozisi (One who gives joy)
We at Seen Vicariously wish Isintu the best in all their endeavours. With such a handful of goals, we can’t wait to see it all unfold and continue to share every detail with our Seers 😉
You are welcome to check out their website soon after the launch: isintusouthafrica.co.za
Until next time, Isintu what’s good?