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Thrifting & Finding Herself: The AFROGRUNGE Origin Story

Growing up in the Cape Town townships in the early 2010s, Anita Hlazo always felt like an outsider among her older cousins and neighbours. As a creative 13 year old undergoing the typical teenage identity struggles, she found solace in alternative interests like studs, piercings, thrifting, skateboarding and rock music - uncommon trends in her community at the time.


With limited spending money, Anita would scour local markets and vintage shops for unique secondhand fashion pieces. One formative experience was visiting an avant-garde Cape Town designer's garage-turned-boutique, with its indie furnishings and accessories. Trying on clothes behind makeshift curtains spanning the shop made Anita feel special - and long for a space to call her own one day.

Anita landed on AFROGRUNGE, fusing her African roots with her grungy style and sensibilities. The word captured exactly who the 14 year old was in those moments: an Ellokshini girl drawn to explore counter-culture interests beyond her neighborhood. Years later, AFROGRUNGE still encapsulates Anita's drive for creativity, inclusion and embracing outsiders.


Over a decade later, AFROGRUNGE remains an embodiment of Anita's formative experiences as a creative outsider, born out of not relating to her peers. What started as a young teen’s imaginary boutique has since evolved into an inclusive movement embracing those who forge their own paths.


AFROGRUNGE still symbolises that Long Street garage shop that sparked Anita’s passion for vintage fashion, and her drive to one day provide similar wondrous dressing room experiences. More so, the word itself fuses Anita's African upbringing with the grunge ethos she identified with, serving as an inspiring reminder that we each have permission to blend societies and cultures in our own unique way.


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