Deejay Medicine switches the microphone to enter the highly competitive fashion industry.
The latest street fashion cred in Soweto is to be seen in an The Akademy label.
From T-shirts, caps, tracksuits, sportwear the young and old are fast warming up to The Akademy label.
Behind the slow rise of the label is Themba Kharibe, 37, aka DJ Medicine, who is the sole owner.
Based inside Kharibe’s garage at his home in Protea Glen, Soweto, The Akademy currently employs four people.
Among the popular people who has bought his items are Kwaito musicians Tokollo “Magesh” Tshabalala and music producer Godfrey “Guffy” Pilane.
Majority of his clients are ordinary people in the townships.
“I think I am ready to enter fashion shows now and previously could not because I think I was not ready.”
The Akademy label didn’t come by sheer luck. He fell in love with fashion at a young age always wanting to look glam and hip.
The brand was formed in 2007.
“We started this brand as a clothing label for our t-shirts only with a friend who is a DJ while we were hanging at a place in Diepkloof, Soweto, listening to music. People fell in love with the brand and they started ordering t-shirts.
“My friend then pulled out of the business and he continued with his music career. I moved the company to my home and carried on making clothes.”
The soft-spoken music DJ, explained how he is applying everything in his powers to ensure that the brand is competing with the best both locally and internationally.
“The market is difficult to penetrate. But, with skill and determination The Akademy will one day reach the sky. It’s not going to be easy, but am prepared to do all it takes to penetrate the fashion industry.”
Kharibe said there is a demand for his label which caters for both male and females aged between 18 and 35.
He added that he is now also targeting young children.
“Since most of my clients are parents, after buying an item they would ask for me to make similar outfit for their children because they want to match with their young ones.”
His vision is to ultimately have premium clothes that competes with well-known brands.
“I want to be on that level or above it. I want the world to see that South Africans are creative as well and am proud of what other designers are doing in putting our country on the map and showcasing our talent to the world.
“This industry is not an easy one. It requires time and effort to succeed.”
You do not need to break the bank to buy The Akademy products.
Prices range between R80 for a hat and up to R1500 for a jacket or jumpsuit.
Kharibe is also selling women swimwear and has recently introduced men’s sportswear.
His label caters for all sizes.
“People are addicted to training and they want to look and feel smart when they are sweating either on the road or in the gym.
“I am not worried about the size of my clients but I am concerned about the quality I serve them. Clothing makes one happy especially when one is wearing a quality material which is properly handcrafted.
“My other vision is to have quality shoes for all as well as underwear. In future, I want to see The Akademy sold in big clothing retailers where everyone in the country can access them,” he said smiling.