Vintage Zionist x Afropunk's upcycled leather fashion is pure rock 'n' roll

Get the new collection at Afropunk festivals around the world from New Year's Eve

02 November 2017 - 10:46 By Sandiso Ngubane
Vintage Zionist loves upcycling discarded leather pieces.
Vintage Zionist loves upcycling discarded leather pieces.
Image: Supplied

Jozi clothing brand Vintage Zionist last week unveiled a new collection in collaboration with Afropunk.

This marks one of many partnerships Afropunk will be undertaking with creative South Africans ahead of the Afropunk Johannesburg festival next month.

Ripped and leather-patched denim, distressed tops and a large amount of the brand's signature leather garments dominate the largely monochromatic collection.

Vintage Zionist was born in Braamfontein four years ago, when co-owners Mandy Newman and Oscar Ncube met at a clothing stand the latter had been operating for just two weeks.

Newman would eventually become the business brains behind Ncube's creative vision of a rock-inspired brand with "Christian and pan-Africanist connotations", as the designer puts it.

One of the brand's main tenets is around the upcycling of old garments, and leather specifically.

Says Newman: "Zionist means the rebirth, and that is exactly what we are doing. We are giving a new life to all our pieces when we up-cycle old garments and turn them into Rock n Roll Vintage Zionist pieces."

"A great deal of recycled leather goes into every piece of our clothing, even if it is just a patch of recycled leather on a pair of jeans.

"Our core style - the leather jacket - is made with 100% recycled material."

Ncube explains how they upcycle old clothes to create new collections.

"All our leather products were once part of a vintage garment. Other apparel can be made of bought and reworked, sale, or discarded stock."

While they also incorporate new fabrics, careful consideration goes into how fabrics will eventually wear and tear.

"If the textile ages beautifully then it can be used in its brand new state," he says.

"When all is said and done, it's all about using fabrics that are timeless and cuts that are classic, and can stand the test of time."

Afropunk's Matthew Morgan says their collaboration with Vintage Zionist happened organically.

"We are always on the look-out to help elevate our community's talent," he says.

"We came across Vintage Zionist at Neighbourgoods Market on our first trip to Johannesburg, and I purchased an item for my partner, Jocelyn.

"Three or four trips, and many conversations later, we met the team from Vintage Zionist, had an instant connection, and agreed to work together."

The collection goes to retail at Afropunk festivals around the world, starting in Johannesburg on New Year's Eve before heading to New York, Atlanta, Paris and London.

 This article was originally published in The Times.