In Yoruba mythology, the deity Ogun is also known as ‘The Beginning’. This is because Ogun is believed to be the first of the orishas to have come to Earth. Thanks to his skills in iron-making, Ogun was able to clear the earth’s forests, creating a pathway for other orishas to follow him. In his various manifestations, Ogun is also a warrior and is associated with war, truth and justice.
David Kaniki, owner of the menswear retailer that bears the same name as the Yoruba deity, says the traits associated with Ogun are part of the philosophy that underpins the Cape Town-based brand. The garments also draw inspiration from Scandinavian and Japanese styles.
Kaniki describes the brand as mainly utilitarian but also emphasises that the clothing combines fashion with functionality. The range consists of layering basics such as easy wearing cotton trousers with ultra-modern outerwear, traditional workwear or sportswear. Accessories include backpacks, fanny packs and technical daypacks.
Ogun prides itself on mostly using locally sourced and sustainable materials, and all of its garments are made at its workshop in the Cape Town CBD.
The menswear brand is part of the 250 domestic and international brands that have set up shop inside the EGG retail concept store in Cavendish Square in Cape Town, taking up the space left by the Edgars store.
The 3 400m2 multi-experiential shopping space is the first of its kind in Africa.
It allows retailers to combine a physical shopping experience with an innovative e-commerce platform and an interactive consumer app.
Other brands on offer include SwiitchBeauty, Tshepo Jeans, Selfi, Honest Chocolate and Unframed Ice Cream.
Although Ogun clothing can also be found at various other areas in Cape Town, Kaniki says bringing the brand to EGG opens it to a wider range of consumers who ordinarily would not do their shopping inside a mall.
By partnering with EGG, Kaniki and other small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) are provided with business support including assistance with costing, live sales and stock tracking, merchandise management, access to EGG’s e-commerce platform and instore sales personnel.
EGG also provides retailers with the facilities required to start trading immediately with no planning or preparation required, including all the necessary premises requirements.
Vendors only need to provide stock and services.
The concept store is the brainchild of serial entrepreneurs Paul Simon and Arie Fabian who began working on the megastore more than a year ago. Simon is the founder of Young Designers Emporium (YDE) while Fabian cut his teeth at luxury menswear brand Fabiani.
Together, they have over two decades of experience in retail and have first-hand experience of the challenges that come with running a start-up.
A first for SA
“Bringing SMME brands into quality physical retail spaces – and then supporting them with the costing, planning, data, supply chain and service elements that traditionally challenge start-ups – is not only a first for South Africa, but represents a significant global evolution,” says Simon.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, the increasing pervasion of technology into people’s lives is now more apparent than ever. Consumers are able to be social, do their shopping, banking and the rest all from the comfort of their homes.
The prevalence of online shopping however does not sound the death knell for shopping malls and other physical retail spaces, according to Simon and Fabian.
Instead, the pair say that the increasingly digitally focused world presents an opportunity for businesses to increase their investments into customer experiences.
Fabian told Moneyweb that the brands on offer at EGG have been carefully curated to give customers an all-inclusive experience during their trip to the mall.
Within its first two days of trading this week, EGG had welcomed 7 000 customers. Simon and Fabian have already earmarked 11 other shopping centres where they plan to open up similar concept stores.
Three more stores will launch in 2021 at shopping centres owned by Old Mutual Property, including at The Zone @ Rosebank, Bedford Centre in Johannesburg and Gateway Mall in Durban.
EGG is a 50/50 joint venture between Old Mutual Property and Simon and Fabian. It “leads South Africa and the world with a new vision of what local retail brands and the Buy South African shopping experience can become in a post-Covid-19 world,” says Sakina Nosarka, head of retail at Old Mutual Property.