Platform Profile: Smith & Abrahams

Smith & Abrahams / Image by Luvuyo Nyawose
Smith & Abrahams / Image by Luvuyo Nyawose

“It’s important to have a brand concept that will keep you inspired for a long time. Have a concept that runs deep or that you personally are invested in.”

Future – time regarded as still to come.

Nostalgia – simply described as a bittersweet longing for things, persons or situations in the past.

Birthing a brand in a city that becomes captivated by endeavours that capture an intense enthusiasm which is often shot-lived they have remained true to what excites them. The city has ignored its habit of biting off and spitting out start-ups according to trend, and has remained true to Smith&Abrahams vision and offering. In this way they have stayed current and sustainable as a brand that speaks to quality, creativity and most importantly brotherhood.

The idea of starting something by yourself or following through with a passion project in our twenties is quite daunting. We as a youth culture need more examples closer to home such as these to show us that once you are willing to personally invest in it can be attained.

I speak to Anthony Smith of Smith&Abrahams about the journey of starting your own brand from the ground up and find the lessons and values they share as a young brand in the growing Cape Town creative brand building and clothing manufacturing industry.


How long did it take for you guys to get to where you are?

2Bop started in 2004 as a side project and we started doing it seriously in 2008. Smith and Abrahams is still a baby as we only opened it in November 2012

What keeps you motivated in your space? 

Good music in the workspace and having an attitude of gratitude for what we have. Also the fact that we get to collaborate with artists and designers we admire.

What have been the challenges that you’ve faced along the road?

Capacity as a growing business is a challenge, managing growth without having venture capital is tricky. Finding quality suppliers in a country where the clothing industry took a huge knock has been a challenge but, we’ve overcome them

What is the most important thing that young creative people in Cape Town should learn to obtain when taking on endeavours such as starting their own brands?  

It’s important to have a brand concept that will keep you inspired for a long time. Have a concept that runs deep or that you personally are invested in.

What are you guys doing to help young Cape Town creative youth to do more?

We have 2 student interns, a marketing and a design intern currently. We hope our work inspires others to do their own thing. We wish we could do more but we’re a small team who do a lot. Now that we have the shop space we’ll be hosting more events and info sessions with artists talking about their work starting in November.

We’ve also given advice to quite a few people who have started their own brands. We’d love to see a re-emergence of the South African clothing industry, especially the manufacturing side.

Written by Ess Swartbooi for a now-defunct section of Platform called ‘Society’.

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