This week I had the amazing opportunity to interview the creative team of South African fashion label, Junkyard Angel. It’s kind of a cool story, because recently I have heard lots of people say how facebook is not an effective marketing tool, but that’s exactly where I found this local gem, on their facebook fanpage. I saw some pictures of their current range on their website & I was like ‘I want more!’. And so, this interview was born.
Brett Robson: When was Junkyard Angel established, and how did you go about starting the label?
Junkyard Angel: The label was started in February 2009 . We have always been in the fashion industry and were looking to spread our wings and try new ideas. Junkyard Angel was born.
BR: Did you study fashion design? And what did you do prior to starting Junkyard Angel?
JA: We have had no formal training but fashion is in the blood. We have been designing clothes since primary school and in fact had humble beginnings selling our clothes at flea markets then onwards and upward into the major stores in South Africa. Junkyard Angel is not our first clothing label but it is very different to what we have done before.
BR: Junkyard Angel is an interesting name. How did you go about choosing it?
JA: Our first range was a 50’s inspired Rock a Billy, Which combined the rough street with a feminine edge.
BR: What do you think makes Junkyard Angel unique as compared to other South African fashion labels?
JA: It is unique because we get an international commercial influence and put our own spin on things. Our garments are simple and can be styled to make many different looks.
BR: Is it easy working in a team? Do you ever have disagreements about designs, fabrication etc.?
JA: No it has not been difficult, we are on the same page and feed off each other’s ideas. It is better to be in a team and have someone to ounce off.
BR: Where do you draw inspiration from?
JA: Mostly Music and TV and because we are lucky enough, we travel and have the opportunity to see what people on the street are wearing.
BR: Do you manufacture your garments locally or internationally?
JA: Definitely local!! Everything is manufactured in Durban and we have no desire to manufacture anywhere else.
BR: Do you think the quality of local garments matches up to that of overseas manufacturers?
JA: Local quality is excellent but it is of course up to the designer to oversee the production and make sure the quality is up to scratch. People are under the impression that production overseas is of a better quality, this is a myth. Most garments are made in China and the quality is dreadful. BUY LOCAL !!!
BR: You are based in Pinetown. How do you feel about the idea that Durban is not the place to be if you want a career in fashion?
JA: It depends what your goal is, if it is schmoozing, being seen and fame then maybe Durban is not the place for you, the fashion industry is very laid back here. That said, most of our well known South African designers, fashion and jewelry are Durban based. If running a financially successful business is your goal then you can do that wherever you, Durban is as good a place to be.
BR: You are currently stocked in 12 YDE stores nationwide. Do you have plans to open your own store in the future?
JA: No, YDE is a perfect for us. It allows you to almost have a store within a store. Our garments are available in all provinces instead of us having a shop in only one. Plus YDE has an established clientele. YDE is definitely where we want to be.
BR: Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
JA: In all YDE stores with a diverse clientele. Being seen on our local celebs
BR: Can you name 3 celebrities you think would be the perfect brand ambassadors for Junkyard Angel?
JA: YFM’s Hlebo & Ntando Masina, and multi-talented Bonang Matheba (see below).
|Hlebo & Ntando Masina|
BR: What advice would you give to anyone hoping to start their own fashion label?
JA: Be passionate about fashion, be prepared for a lot of hard work and do it for the right reasons. There is a saying “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life”. That is how we feel.
I would like to thank Emma Jackson & Bianca Minnie of Junkyard Angel for giving of their time for this interview.