Athlone clothing designer Abdu-Daiyaan Ford hopes to bring culture back into the clothing industry of South Africa.
The 23-year-old from Bokmakierie launched his brand Flex Nation last year during Heritage Month, which is celebrated annually in September.
The brand promotes the diversity of art and culture and is trendy in fitness, fashion and urban street wear – a clothing range that youth can relate to with a combination of old and modern styles.
The clothing line started off with prints onto T-shirts, hoodies and vests and when Abdu-Daiyaan noticed how fast it was selling he decided to take things a bit further.
This year he decided that Flex Nation would promote modern culture and trend.
“After sitting with different designers, I finally found someone that understood my vision. I’ve always admired many local clothing brands and before all this started. I had a vision that I would bring something different to the industry,” he said.
He plans to use his brand to help youth by showing them that anything is possible if you have a vision and believe in yourself.
He said the only way to see a dream become a reality is by working relentlessly to achieve that goal.
“When you find something you love and have passion for, it’s usually those things that make you become successful in the future,” he said.
Abdu-Daiyaan said he was proud of how far his clothing line had come in just a short period of time.
“It all goes to show what commitment and dedication do when you invest in something you want to see grow. As a South African owning my own clothing line it makes me feel grateful and blessed as it’s not easy due to the competition within South Africa with new business ventures popping up on a daily basis,” he said.
Abdu-Daiyaan’s advice to fellow youth embarking on their own business is to invest their time in research first, and how to market themselves.
“My vision was to become someone that others could look up to and see me as a motivation or inspiration or even a role model. I want to show others that regardless of what you go through, even if you’re up against all odds in life, you can still leave a mark on this earth. I’ve noticed that these days children have a lack of encouragement, and motivation and I want to show them that even if your support system is small, you can still conquer your goals,” he said.
Abdu-Daiyaan’s future plans
include gettin the brand known locally and internationally.
“I want to invest in brand ambassadors and grow a bigger team to help promote the brand on different platforms and to also sell my merchandise in any store”.
He encouraged the youth to bring about change in their communities and show others that regardless of their surroundings, they can still win.
“Become someone that can inspire others going through a difficult situation. The youth today do not realise what they are capable of. I was never academically strong, but I knew that I’m destined for something worth more than my struggle,” he said.