Meet Neo "Gabhadiya" Selemela and Wandile "King" Lee, the co-founders of a clothing brand called I RUN JHB which is based at the Workshop in Newtown Junction mall. I RUN JHB is a street culture lifestyle brand which fuses South African traditional culture, street culture, urban street culture and African traditional culture wear.
This creative duo was insprired by eMzansi street cultures, like pantsula and is’bhujwa. Leeu and Selemela fuse traditional aesthetics with street wear from ekasi to create a proudly South African street subculture called Umswenko. The term umswenko is derived from the the English word “swank” or “swanking” which is a certain type of attitude, behaviour or a way of conducting oneself that shows supreme confidence in oneself. It can also be used to impress others.
The aim behind the brand is to tell African stories through their work and brand. The brand aims to create a unique wear for different cultures and ethnic groups in Mzansi by using indigenous traditional culture fabrics that are unique to each tribe.
I RUN JHB garments are the epitome of Johannesburg as a city that is known to be the only city that accommodates descendants from different parts of South Africa and Africa at large therefore it was only fitting that they named the brand after Johannesburg as they are the only brand that accommodates different South African traditional cultures, street sub-cultures and African traditional cultures from Africa at large.
They produce a range of items from T-shirts, dresses and pants to accessories like backpacks, fanny packs, side bags and travel bags. Leeu and Selemela have aspirations to showcase their designs, which celebrate the hustle and bustle of the City of Gold, in the world’s fashion capitals.
When creating urban street culture wear, they keep up with global trends through what is popular with the youth around the world and interpret that through an African aesthetics. “The name of the brand is inspired by the aim to celebrate the iconic city of Johannesburg which is synonymous with the hustling , go-getting and dream chasing mentality.”says Gabhadiya
“We also want to open a chain of retail stores around South Africa and to be shelved at reputable retails shops across the world. We see our brand contributing to eradicating youth unemployment in South Africa,” they say.
For the coolest Afro-chic tracksuits head to their store in the Work Shop New Town local fashion emporium in Newtown. Tracksuits come in attractive colours and detailed with African patterns such as Ghanaian Kente motifs and neon bright Tsonga touches.