As part of our founder interview series, we speak with Daniel from Rhumaa about creating a clothing brand that truly celebrates local artists.

Founder Daniel Beernink

 

How did moving to Cape Town, South Africa inspire you to launch a clothing brand?

I was in fashion before and I was creating t-shirts with art prints. I saw so many talented artists in South Africa that I wanted to start a cooperation with them and offering them a platform to showcase their work to the rest of the world. I decided to do this by starting a fashion brand where we share art stories through fashion design. Talented artists out of the poor communities of South Africa make the artworks we use for our collections.

Rhumaa collaborates with artists throughout the developing world in efforts to share their art stories through each Rhumaa collection. How do you find the artists you work with, and what is the design process like when you are working together?

We work together with art galleries that are searching for talented artists in the Townships nearby Cape Town. We get the artwork and we integrate this artwork into our collection. Every collection we celebrate one different artist and we are building a whole concept around the collection based on the story of the actual artwork.

Rhumaa has several compelling collections inspired by artists that range from ‘Township Soul’ to ‘Supreme Woman’.  Do you have a favourite collection? And if so, why?

I personally like the collection township soul the most. It is such a powerful artwork and a wonderful artist to celebrate. Not only the story, but how the story is integrated, the materials we used and the designs are just brilliant. I love that collection.

What common design styles and themes unite all of your various collections?

It’s a clean style with an African touched print integrated into a certain part of the collection.

As opposed to the better known ‘farm to table’, Rhumaa advocates ‘farm to fashion’. What does this mean, and why is it important to you?

A healthy approach to the environment and to the people we work with is a very important subject for me running the business. We have to take care of the world and the human beings living on it. That’s just my motto!

5% of turnover goes to the Rhumaa Foundation. What does this foundation do, and how would you like to see it grow in the future?

The Rhumaa foundation supports skills development programs in South Africa. In the nearby future, we will start organizing exhibitions for the talented artists out of the townships to give them a platform and to help them become economically active. Our future plans are to expand this worldwide!

What was the most challenging aspect of setting up Rhumaa?

Finding the right production partners that are willing to work with a start-up brand and that are working towards our values in doing business. Mostly when it comes to labour standards and sustainable fabric sourcing.

‘Ethical fashion’ is a bit of a buzzword.  What do you think are the core pillars of creating an ethical collection?

Being fair and honest to the people you work with and to carefully select the fabrics you use for producing your collection!

What responsibility do you think consumers have in creating a more sustainable and fair fashion industry? How can we encourage consumers to lead this transition?

To make them aware of what they purchase and to offer them beautiful things for a reasonable price that are fair and sustainable. At the end of the day, people just want to buy what they think is beautiful and affordable. We, as a sustainable industry, have to offer this to them!

Lastly, if you had to have another career outside of Rhumma, what would you be doing?
That’s no option! This is just my dream and this is what I love!

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