Photography by
Photography by Tarryn Hatchett

Proponents of Collaboration // Swift Thrift & Chaf Kozy

“Collaborating is especially important for the youth trying to build a name for themselves through their work. You can’t just always be waiting for someone to call, you sometimes you need to do the calling.” – Joseph Ntahi

Electric shades of youth morph into athletic leisure ensembles. Iconic tennis-court green is juxtaposed with eclectic sportswear hues. Peppered with colour blocks of enthusiasm. The young founder of Swift Thrift and collaborator of Chaf Kozy, Joseph Ntahi, described the creative collective as, “a group of friends who are involved in different forms of art. Collaborating on projects together is easy because of our skill set and chemistry. There’s a lot happening among young people in this city and we’re happy to be around for it.”

The Johannesburg based group of: actor, model, stylist, musician, graphic artist, skater all draw on their individual talents to contribute to the project. “For all of us, this last year was our first year out of high school. As we all know, what follows after high school is usually period of self-discovery and trying to find your niche. Fortunately everyone in the group has their own artistic and cultural niche, but we started occupying the same spaces. As they say where you go says a lot about who you are. A lot of us already had personal relationships with each other so coming together as a group was just a matter of bridging the loose ends.”

As is the reality for many artists in the industry, Joseph has siphoned profit from an alternative income generator to fund this passion project.  “Luckily this year I got into the modeling industry and I’d save up the money I’d take from there until I had enough money to get everything started, and yeah I guess this is where we are now.” Taking initiative appears to be at the centre of his practice.

Part of the mandate for creating Swift Thrift was to make style accessible. “A lot of people have a fashion sense but cannot afford to live up to it, thrifting gets rid of these barriers by making the clothing much more affordable. Thrifting is then an important tool to have in a society like South Africa where the masses cannot afford retail clothing. What we aim for at Swift Thrift ZA, is allowing people to curate their own style for an affordable price”. However, he does note some of the pitfalls, “I feel like a lot of people who thrift these days have forgotten this and the result is everyone looking the same in their 80s puffer jackets.”

Joseph and Chaf Kozy appear to be fierce proponents of collaboration and artistic diversity. “You get people who try to be very exclusive with their work and want to do everything on their own because all that matters to them is their personal advancement. Although that may work for some people, I find that to be as much harder and longer way to get yourself to where you want to be. I think in a creative process collaborating is important because it allows for different talent and also abstract mindsets to come together and create something truly beautiful.”

Creative Direction: Joseph Ntahilaja

Photographer: Tarryn Hatchett

Stylists: Joseph Ntahilaja & Phil Baloyi

Models: Chaf Kozy featuring  Loyiso Mbere, Bonolo Shiceka, Lebo Jean-Paul Tilsley, Salma Vallee, Dani Wolf

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