Interview: Oscar Ncube, owner of Chiefs Of Angels at 44 Stanley

more than a year ago
Chiefs of Angels is the fashion label of Oscar Ncube. A unique brand that's full of attitude, it's also a fashion statement about conscious clothing. 
Oscar Ncube
Designer Oscar Ncube of Chiefs of Angels. 

Chiefs of Angels seeks to address the overproduction and overconsumption problems that the fashion industry has become known for with it's stand on producing one-of-a-kind, long-lasting items.

The brand is inspired by rock 'n roll music which Ncube considers the ideal genre to centre one's life around – everlasting, full of spirit,  and anchored in the fundamentals of life. It's this ethos that guides him to produce apparel for everyday wear.
Chiefs of Angels
Chiefs of Angels at 44 Stanley

By its dedication to sustainability and the reincarnation of clothing, Ncube wants Chiefs of Angels to  serve as a platform for challenging notions of human life and mortality. The name of the brands was inspired by his Christian beliefs and a desire to provide a different, more worthy description of human beings.

Bulawayo-born Ncube is married with three children—or four, if you count his cherished Pekingese named Zion. In addition to being a musician, he fancies himself as a student of life. 

He developed his entrepreneurial spirit from spending time with his mother. She made all the clothing she wore and whenever she hosted wealthy friends who wanted to buy any of her creations, Ncube would sketch the designs they desired and get involved in choosing the fabric and tailors. 

In Oscar Ncube's production studio at Victoria Yards, you can find him upcycling denim jackets and T-shirts or recycling leather to hand make bags, belts and shoes. “These pieces derive from designing and redesigning clothing that already exists,” he says.

The store at 44 Stanley is a second store for the brand – Melrose Arch is gome to his other store. And this isn’t by accident. Ncube says he has always loved "the vibe of 44 Stanley" and wanted to be around like-minded people and local brands with shared values and beliefs, and specifically around easy and classic clothing and accessories.

Ncube says people aren’t afraid to spend money on what’s new in Joburg. "Joburg is a dream for a designer."

Chiefs of Angels is highly original. The label appeals to the creative and spiritual, those who love timeless garments and different genres of rock music. From the studs on denim jackets to the distressed leather, his love of music is clear in all he produces.

Ncube says he always envidions how his wife and muse might style the garments and make them her own, when he imagines new designs and upcycling concepts.

When it comes to trends, Ncube sees Joburg style as both trendy and timeless. This city never misses a beat – — which is why he believes international brands find success in Johannesburg. He says Joburg’s relationship with clothing is eclectic and style-focused as opposed to brand consciousness.

On an international level, he admires the classic American luxury and loungewear of Fear of God by Jerry Lorenzo and the chic basics designed by the Olsen sisters’ The Row. Business practices and philosophies of lifestyle companies Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren inspire Ncube to think of new ways to make Chiefs of Angels a successful international brand. He applauds Tshepo Mohlala for building a strong local African brand, Tshepo Jeans, in a market where black and African designers were subtly sidelined.

Being a designer in Joburg has taught Ncube to take more risks because of the city’s multi-culturalism and diversity.  “People can find themselves [in the brand]."



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