African-inspired men’s fashion brand launches in Salford
A master’s student at the University of Salford has launched a men’s fashion brand that explores the incorporation of African culture into the Western world.
Ncedo Matomelo, the Fashion Design student behind it all, named his brand JUNE-16 6205RSA after the Soweto Youth Uprising that occurred in 1976 in South Africa. It involved students protesting against the segregation happening at the time.
Ncedo said: “It comes from those roots of young people standing up for what they believe in.
“It’s kind of rooted in the past and the present, integration versus segregation. What I’m trying to do is build a community of people who are likeminded.”
Featuring African Artisan techniques and ideas, Ncedo’s designs are influenced by the culture and heritage of the Xhosa Tribe. However, it isn’t solely about the culture.
“You don’t have to be African; you don’t have to black; you can just be somebody who understands the movement, the idea of young people coming together and having a voice,” he explained. “It’s not just a brand about clothing, it’s a community.
“I’m trying to bring Africa to the west and let you know that this is the side that they don’t show you.”
Ncedo is currently selling his designs on his website, having just released the first part to his new collection, Devotional Fridays. He is eventually hoping to open a pop-up shop when the pandemic is over, and his designs will be a mixture of high-end fashion and affordable, accessible clothing.
Already, he has presented a collection at New York fashion week and London fashion week. He also styled London rapper, Kojey Radical, for his Glastonbury festival performance in 2019.
Ncedo is part of the University of Salford business incubator, Launch@ Salford. Launch was set up in 2018 with the idea of aiding students and alumni in developing their own business. As part of a six-month support programme, users get access to a plethora of support from the team, including training, guidance, office space and financial aid.
Justyna Turner, Incubation Manager at Launch, said: “JUNE-16 6205RSA is a creative and meaningful fashion brand that Ncedo has put a lot of hard work into. I know the outcome will be something he can be proud of. It’s been a joy working with him to develop his ideas.”
The idea for JUNE-16 6205RSA initiated in South Africa, and Ncedo had plans to pursue it after graduating from his Bachelor’s in 2019; however, he felt that he wouldn’t have had the funding nor time to do exactly what he wanted. That’s where Launch came in.
He said: “I’m a very creative person and during my studies, I’ve only focused on the creative side, so what Launch has taught me is the business side.
“They really help you to understand the fundamentals of running a business and writing a business plan. Launch and the funding I got – it was the kick start I needed.”
Ncedo hopes that in the future, his brand can progress beyond clothing and move onto art pieces.
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