BY AURELIA MOUTON
From the sandy streets of Strand comes a force to be reckoned with. The Cape Town streetwear brand BRAhSSE opened the doors to its first pop up shop on 31 July 2021, proudly announcing a new era of expansion and empowerment. The trendy shop, located at Shop 3 in the Sandz Building in Strand, boasted live DJ music courtesy of Deep Down Sundays, a relaxed atmosphere and fresh local styles hanging from the racks.
The brand was created in 2017 by Abdu-Shakoer Baderoen in Metanoia residence at Stellenbosch University (SU). Since its creation, BRAhSSE has taken on a life of its own, bursting onto the South African fashion scene with a bang of bright colours and a brave message – unity. The Cape Coloured slang word brasse (the inspiration behind the name) quite literally means “friends”, and taking a closer look at the collective behind the name, they don’t just say “brasse”, they live it. BRAhSSE is essentially a group of friends with a big vision and a whole lot of daring ambition to bring change to a whole generation of South Africans.
“With everything going on in our country, I want people to know that we can do something different. We don’t have to have the same issues we’ve been struggling with,” said BRAhSSE creator, Abdu-Shakoer Baderoen.
One of the key messages Baderoen has infused into BRAhSSE is the expression of heritage and freedom – for unity. BRAhSSE is an invitation to South Africans, young and old, to be friends, to be brasse. This born-free goal drives Baderoen and inspires many of the BRAhSSE designs.
“You experience a lot of challenges as a small business in the fashion world, like minimum quantity orders. We manufacture everything ourselves so that’s been the biggest challenge, but we’ve also had some big victories. Our collaboration with Jive [Cooldrinks], made us realise that people are seeing us,” said Baderoen.
Their biggest achievement is that they have been able to remain operational, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequent lockdowns.
With the help and support of his friends and family Baderoen has spent the last five years hustling and investing into BRAhSSE while still working a day job in logistics. He hopes to grow his passion project into a self-sustaining business he can eventually go into full-time.
The BRAhSSE team consists of co-creator and creative director Chad Mockey, Ethan Beukes, Yusra Baderoen, Ziyaad Jeftha, Irvin van Rooy and Zahraa Kafaar.
“I help out with the admin and wherever he needs me in the shop. It’s exciting to be part of this,” said Baderoen’s sister, Yusra Baderoen.
“I know I can rely on the people around me. They help me overcome whatever obstacles come. I also know that if I don’t succeed today, tomorrow I will. That’s the motto I live by,” said Baderoen.
He credits his work ethic and business savvy nature to his years as an SU student finishing a BCom in logistics and transport economics. He also completed a postgraduate diploma in marketing.
“I always say, ‘What is the point of being alive if you don’t try to do something remarkable?’ You must try to do something remarkable while you are young and if there are obstacles, try again tomorrow,” said Baderoen.
He advises young South Africans to follow their creative and entrepreneurial pursuits as he believes there is a lot of potential in the local communities of everyday South Africans.
The BRAhSSE shop will be open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 to 16:00 until 26 September 2021. To keep up with the cool crew of creatives, find them on Instagram @brahsse_.