Recent years have seen a creative boom within Cape Town. There is an energy of innovation afoot and this city’s creatives have the game locked down. Playing their cards with calm calculated steps they are pushing the boundaries and making a change within this creative climate. Identifying four of the individuals who have been integral in driving this new-found energy I spoke to them about their approach to success in an industry were the hustle means your survival. From one of Cape Town’s most intimate photographers to the creator of Booty Bass, the founder of Young & Lazy as well as a ceramic jewellery designer. What sets them apart is their ease within themselves, their passion for the game, their eagerness to mentor younger generations, their hunger for change and their inspiration found in one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the world. My pick showcases creatives laying a fresh foundation for future generations to come.
Jody Brand was born and raised in Cape Town and has a background in History and Media studies. With an intention of becoming a journalist, her initial styling and shoots were merely a fun past time. After assisting Richard de Jager she came to the realization that she wanted more ownership of her images that catapulted into a shift in her focus. Jody became known within creative circles for her photographic depiction of South African youth culture and has worked as a production manager for renowned South African artist, Athi-Patra Ruga.
Since her inception into Cape Town’s creative boom Jody’s lens has matured with her and her initial claim to fame has evolved to address problematic narratives. This year saw Jody’s solo exhibition, ‘YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD WOMAN DOWN‘ at the STEVENSON gallery comprising of photographic work, installation and performance art.
This arresting body of work addresses standards of cis-genderedness, whiteness and able-bodiedness. Questioning them and regarding them as despicable in their violence against different ways of identifying and being. One of her works in the exhibition is a digital print on fabric with the following words pigmented on to its surface “Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed”. A powerful statement acting as a synopsis of her message.
Celebrating black beauty and rejecting western beauty standards it speaks of the difficulties that marginalized groups of people face within our socio-political context. Jody’s photographic eye is known for its candidly raw and instinctive nature has shaped itself into a calculated lens unfolding a carefully articulated narrative. Shining light on the truth of a narrative Jody comprehends as it acts as a self portrait of its capturer. Jody’s work is a response to our violent past as well as the malevolent nature of the photographic image itself.
ANG is originally from Johannesburg and has set herself apart as a DJ, radio host, promoter and artist manager. Her initial captivation with sound leaned itself more towards technicality than creativity. Her childlike curiosity pushed an increasing desire to comprehend the finer workings of things. “I would disassemble my boombox at least once a week, inspect all the parts and put it back together.”
Studying as an Audio Engineer she became absorbed by everything relating to sound and practiced as a sound engineer after completing her studies. Her shift from there into venue management branched into a DJ career. As a DJ she naturally progressed into online radio hosting with her own show on Assembly Radio.
“I actively pursue creating the spaces I didn’t have the privilege of enjoying when I first started playing. That has been my approach to my career from the outset and what has attracted other artists to working with me.”
Known for the genre Booty Bass that was born from her desire to give a succinct answer when asked to define her electronic music. She states, “The characteristic that got me the most attention was my defiance of genre constraints.” Booty Bass is a multi-genre, influenced by hip hop and RnB. It can be defined as bass driven dance music. “So whether its 4×4, 2step or club music it all makes your booty pop.”
Recently ANG has been named the head of SHE SAID.SO South Africa, a division of a larger global community of women from different branches within the industry working towards equality and the upliftment of women in music.
Reigning from Woodstock, Anees is the founder of Cape Town’s Young & Lazy. One of South Africa’s most compelling streetwear labels that was established in 2009. Completing his studies at the Cape Town college of fashion design, he knew from as young as the age of 10 that he wanted to be a fashion designer.
“My passion was always the construction of a garment. Coming from my background, how you presented yourself told everyone what your status was. Dressing well and caring about what you look like became everything and I got so deep that I wanted to only have things that no one else had. That’s what pushed me to start making my own clothes.”
The title of his brand was chosen to speak to likeminded individuals and ‘young and lazy’ pinpointed his audience. Anees’ initial designs emulated international trends that he subconsciously produced resulting from an aspiration to obtain similar levels of greatness. Recently the designer has shifted his approach to designing from a feeling or experience.
Looking into his heritage and role as a Cape Malay Muslim in South Africa, this wealth of culture is currently a main source of inspiration. Young & Lazy is growing up with Anees and is becoming the individualization of its creator.
Regarding his contribution to Cape Town’s creative energy as one done in collaboration with Cornerstore, Anees passionately states “I see Cornerstore not only as a shell for the brands but a place where the youth and the future of South African streetwear culture come to congregate, find their squad, find their bae. We encourage other people to build this industry with us and our brands act as platforms for even the kid in high school to collaborate with us.” His message to young creatives is to be unafraid of embracing who they are and to stay real, true and original.
Githan Coopoo is a 23-year-old creative from Cape Town making his mark on the South African fashion sphere with his abstract ceramic jewellery designs.
His infatuation with jewellery design was a late discovery in his life. Githan’s love grew only after his first piercing in 2015. “I just became enamoured with notions of adornment and opulence on the body.” Aware of his family line of Indian jewellers he did not initially consider it a personal interest till later in life.
Githan has worked in ceramic from the outset of his jewellery explorations. “I think of clay as something quite universal and accessible. It is literally earth.I love the idea of a relatively unassuming and inexpensive material being utilized and elevated to that of a precious status. I have invested in the fragility of the material after it has been fired.”
Inspired by found objects such as rubble and cement particles from construction sites he states, “I find a lot of beauty in rejected and dejected articles and objects.” Githan is drawn to working with white in his designs as it emphasizes the ceramic quality of his pieces and expresses that he is often persuaded to work within two tones. This choice makes his pieces chic and bold. The shapes that naturally occur from his process highlight a design that is minimalist and abstract.
Having produced capsules for Rich Mnisi and Gabrielle Kannemeyer for runway shows and editorials, this year saw his collaboration with New York’s Tibi. He created a capsule of earrings for their New York Fashion Week showcase.