A “cotton eater” is a termed coined by South African hip-hop artist and fashion guru, Riky Rick. Though there is no set dictionary definition, a fair assumption would be a person who has an impeccable fashion sense and a love for all things style. This term doesn’t usually apply to the everyday individual in the city hustle and bustle. I mean, how many times have you seen the same pair of shoes cross your path worn by five or more people? Or the same outfit formation at every event you go to (bomber jacket, skinny jeans, original Adidas superstar sneakers…Etc.). People being afraid of showcasing their vibe, what feels comfortable and right for them & separates them from the masses. Those who don’t share this fear are subjected to overpriced brand label goods in order to try and fit in (hence the lack of authenticity you see in the streets). The days are ceasing to exist though; growing street culture continues to make waves in the way fashion is presented these days. Just like you see five people wearing the exact pair of shoes, you’re also likely to see an individual whose style could turn your head. These kids are communally referred to as “Braam Kids” or “Hipsters” for their outlandish fashion choices, major contributors to this wave are the fashion collective known as Happyhippevintage. Dedicated to promoting individualism in fashion at low prices, this collective of stylists (Fray, Lebza & Jones) are pushing the boundaries in the way people choose to express themselves through their fashion.
If you have ever taken a walk to Campus Square you’ve surely come across these creatives showcasing their range of authentic & exotic threads in the bustling streets of Auckland Park Johannesburg. “We’re trying to bring culture to Auckland Park more than anything because what we’re doing is being done elsewhere so we saw an opportunity to bridge a gap between the kids and the streets,” Lebza. The collective set themselves apart by gathering pieces & influences from the older labels of the fashion world to create outfits that resonate with only the most stylish but still appeals to the average consumer. “We’re not really bringing new brands, we are just reviving the old ones like Kappa, retro Adidas, retro Nikey, to push this new sportswear wave in the streets or as we call it a happyhippievintage,” Fray.
Bright colours, tracksuits, fanny packs (& very soon, whistles) are what these creatives are about and endorse outfits a high school kid in the nineties late for school would throw on or the fresh prince of Bel-Air himself would be proud to be seen in. All artists have influencers they look to for inspiration, for Fray its 90s US Olympic team in Barcelona, dashed with any stylish sportsmen of that era as well (Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson…etc.). Lebza prefers the modern hip hop street culture topped up with vintage pieces that you “can’t get from the store.” Looking to the future, you’re more than likely going to see happyhippievintage producing their own merchandise and selling familiar and (in most cases) unfamiliar products, having their own app and official online shopping website to put you in the direction of any and all things urban. You can also expect future collaborations with big celebrities whose identity unfortunately had to be withheld by the crew. I suppose it is safe to say you’re probably going to see your favourite celebrity designed by the guys you pass everyday on your way to catch a taxi.
“You don’t need to depend on anyone, degrees are needed but are not a guarantee in this life, step up & do your own thing,” Fray.
So if your closet is feeling depressed, the happyhippies, will gladly be its therapist, opened from Monday to Friday all afternoon (12:00 – 17:00).