Images from
Images from Jungli

Jungli // A Brand Subverting Cultural Appropriation

Officially launching on Instagram in September, Jungli is run by Leila Khan and La’eeqa Mosamin in Cape Town. With their offering of hand-made products that span from tassel earrings to coin chockers, t-shirts and bright yellow sweat shirts bearing slogans such as ‘NO TO APARTHEID’, this brand has a powerful message.

The launch of Jungli was a process that required almost a year of planning and design experimentation. For the duo, their label began as a side hustle to earn money. They had witnessed multiple white owned businesses profiting off culturally appropriated jewellery and t-shirts printed with white feminist slogans as well as slogans appropriated from black women. “We thought we might as well be the ones to make money off of designs and fabrics from our own cultures and give people the option to buy less problematic t-shirts with strong political statements.” Before joining forces the duo were both designing and creating jewellery in their private capacities as hobbyists.

Currently studying law, they have expanded their craft with their Jungli collaboration. Leila expresses her creativity in a variety of practices stretching from drawing, painting and printmaking. Skills that she has built on since school and later at the Peter Clarke Art Centre. She still continues to build on her practice by means of self-teaching.

The word Jungli is an Urdu/Hindi word containing multiple meanings. The creators of Jungli tell me, “We got the idea from La’eeqa’s grandmother, who used to tease her as a child by calling her ‘jungli’, meaning ‘wild’. This word was also used in colonial rhetoric to refer to people from the subcontinent as ‘barbarians’ or, ‘savages’. For example, the Oxford Dictionary illustrates the definition of Jungli using the quote, ‘the East India Company decided that it could not allow its employees to go jungli, native’. It also lists ‘primitive, uncivilized, uncultured, uncultivated, uneducated, ignorant’ as synonyms. We are attempting to subvert this meaning by calling ourselves Jungli.”

Expressing that they have received a lot of support thus far into their joint venture, the team indicates that there has been quite some interest in their ‘no justice, no peace’ t-shirt. “It’s great because it shows that people rally behind and identify with this message.”

 

Jungli’s Instagram profile is not only eye-catching but unfolds striking, well curated imagery. Leila has taken various images on the account with both a film and digital camera. Images intended as advertising for the label are more than that, with messages that spread far wider than youth culture captured in an intimate frame lock.

La’eeqa and Leila look forward to a future of creating more t-shirt designs aimed at challenging complacency within wearer’s spaces with fashion. Taking on a different direction they express a desire to place an emphasis on mental health in the brand’s upcoming designs. “Generally, we want to keep making nice things for people to wear at a more affordable price.” Quality and affordability are of high importance to the up-and-coming brand. Keep a look out for what they have in store for you.

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