/ 25 May 2024

Event will celebrate Africa and denim

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True blue: Tshepo Mohlala, of Tshepo Jeans, will be one of the participants at Denim Africa Day in Milpark, Joburg, this weekend

May is a time of two celebrations: it marks the birth of our beloved blue denim jeans and is celebrated as Africa Month. 

While denim was around before then, 20 May 1873 was the day Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis obtained a US patent on the process of putting rivets in men’s work pants, giving rise to jeans.

To celebrate jeans and Africa Month BlueCanvasLifeJoziSA has called local denim-makers to Johannesburg to sit in conversation about the impact of denim on the continent. 

Tshepo Jeans, Ifuku, Sir Anthony, Elpagg, Element of Truth and Relay Jeans will have a unique opportunity to honour South Africa’s contribution to the global denim industry, which has grown impressively, especially in the past decade.

Denim researcher and organiser of the event, Tanned Made, says South African denim-makers and brands contribute to the global denim story.  

“Denim is a classic American product and we never imagined there would be a denim pair of jeans with the name ‘Tshepo’ on them — and those denims are being worn overseas. There is also Ifuku that is being worn by celebrities and other people overseas who appreciate and see African craftsmanship,” he says. 

Made says what is unique about these South African denim brands is that their stories are relatable. 

“Tshepo, of Tshepo Jeans, started selling jeans from the boot of a car and now he has a store in Hyde Park. He recently came back from Amsterdam and was a big player in a room of big global brands. That is inspirational,” he says.  

The event will shine a spotlight on South African denim — the makers, the brands, their philosophies and their significant contribution to the story. These “blue tribe warriors” represent the resilience and creativity of South Africans in the industry.

“Over and above the background, we will speak about sustainability.” 

The event starts at 10am and ends at 4pm on Saturday, 25 May at 44 Stanley in Milpark, Johannesburg.