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Front row with Andile Dlamini of Hopeville Thrifts

(Banner image by FRONT ROW MEDIA)

Front row with Andile Dlamini of Hopeville Thrifts

The global fashion scene is currently going through, what I would like to refer to as an attempted shift back to equilibrium. This simply means that, most of the "injustices" caused by certain aspects of the greater fashion industry, such as fashion’s negative contribution towards climate change, are now generally understood and there seems to be a mass global movement towards redressing the harmful impact of the fashion industry on the environment.

Our next guest, Andile Dlamini, is no stranger to the aforementioned definition, and his independent thrift store, Hopeville Thrifts, is a clear example of this. Contemporary thrift stores, such as his, exercise sustainable fashion practices which aim to combat the global fashion industry’s environmental and ethical issues with fast-fashion – a type of fashion ecosystem which is characterised by low-priced garments, compressed production cycles and mass garment consumerism.

The story of Hopeville Thrifts is the embodiment of our local youth culture’s reluctance to adhere to fast-fashion, consumerism, and capitalism, to a large extent. Whether Andile, who is also known to his close friends as Ace, is operating his other joint venture, BROKE, or running the ship here at Hopeville Thrifts – it is clear that both organisations utilize the exact same ethos: which is to be rebellious over conforming to everyone's expectations.

(Image sourced on Instagram from: @originalkaapstadpantsula)

I asked Andile a few questions surrounding himself, Hopeville Thrifts, the current state of fashion resale in South Africa, and much more.

(Image sourced on Instagram from: @originalkaapstadpantsula)

Would you mind introducing yourself? Who you are, where you're from, how old you are and what you do?

My name is Andile Dlamini, but my friends call me Ace.. I’m 23 years old, and I’m a self-proclaimed tastemaker. I stay in Mfuleni.

What is Hopeville Thrifts? And how did the idea of creating it come about?

Founded in 2015, Hopeville Thrifts was initially a "seasonal digital thrift store" – well, that’s what I used to call it. When I was still in first year, everyday I’d walk through the Grand Parade to get to CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology), and every Wednesday and Saturday, they’d host this huge ass flea market. One day, I just decided to clear out all my savings and purchase a few jackets, thinking I'll just figure out how to move them. I went out and bought a whole lot of jackets – (mostly ski, as well as denim jackets), took snaps of the jackets when I got home, then go homies to post and share those photos on social media. From there, we began attending the flea market every Wednesday and Saturday morning to get new stock. Hopeville operated mostly in winter, hence the seasonal.

(All images received/sourced from: @originalkaapstadpantsula)

Which popular local and international streetwear brands does Hopeville Thrifts stock and why?

We get our hands on quite a list of brands, damn! Mostly rare finds from the classic Stüssy, Bape, Palace, Supreme, Acne Studios, Carhartt, Dickies, The Hundreds, Patagonia etc., and ofcourse the local and prominent Sol-Sol, 2Bop, Float Apparel, Artclub and Friends, Beautiful Boys – anything really – cause my way of thrifting is not only limited to buying from the lady selling on the side of the road (better known as "ko-madunusa"), but also from the homies closets.. basically your "preloved Odwa". The reason why our focus is mostly on the above-mentioned is because such pieces are really difficult to find in this city – the chances of you thrifting Stone Island pieces in Cape Town are close to none – therefore I take it upon myself to try and fill the void.. Lol, I like to think of myself as the new age Luca Bernini, mixed with a lot of Sean Wotherspoon.

(All images sourced on Instagram from: @hopeville_thrifts)

What is your take (opinion) on the current state of local streetwear and its relationship with resell culture?

Streetwear is something that is difficult to pin down, because it’s forever evolving, and the multiple definitions of what streetwear actually is often vary from person to person. But I can definitely say that in Cape Town it’s been quiet for sometime now.. however, that's all changing as we're seeing the homies putting in work to try and rejuvenate what’s left of it. In terms of resell culture, I can say that I have a love-hate relationship – because at the end of the day, bruls are just trying to make coin.

Where is Hopeville Thrifts located? As in, where are we able to interact with your thrift store?

We had been doing most of our trading from Instagram, but we recently partnered up to share a space with some of the local brands and homies at 199 on Loop.

As a young creative within this current creative generation, I would like to hear your thoughts regarding the "tug-of-war" relationship which exists between the older and younger generation.. Referring specifically to the "industry gatekeepers" whom are essentially blocking emerging creatives from the relevant opportunities.

I personally can’t talk much on that as I personally have no gate keepers – I refuse to believe that someone can block what’s mine. No one done shit for me to get here – it’s just been me and the homies doing our thing, and people just happen to fuck with it. So I don’t think anyone has the power to decide where we headed.

(Image sourced on Instagram from: @originalkaapstadpantsula)

Lastly, what is your personal stance on the sustainability (i.e. circularity) aspect which thrifting second-hand fashion items provides? Do you feel that thrifting contributes positively towards attaining circularity?

I really believe that thrifting has became the best way for us, the youth, to give back to the environment. First of all, it cuts down on the number of clothes being produced, and people might not know but our current biggest war is the war on waste caused by fast-fashion. I read a static somewhere about how, every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textile (including actual clothes) is dumped in landfill. Thrifting is not just financially, but also environmentally sustainable, so we really encourage people to try and abstain from only buying fast-fashion – but instead to try and thrift more or trade with the homies, as we buy and trade stuff as well. At Hopeville, we focus more on rare pieces, and our items tend to be above average price, however, there are so many other homies selling from their closets nowadays, such as ThreadsOnLock, another preloved thrift, UnComfortable Shop (just to name a few), plus the Grand Parade still carries some nice items.

(Image sourced on Instagram from: @originalkaapstadpantsula)


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