When we started our series, Obscure Archives, our initial idea was to create an archive of sneakerheads throughout Cape Town. It only made sense that our love for sneakers as a company needed to take shape as we connected with our local community - but as with any vision worth nurturing, we are more surprised with every new OA edition than we could have imagined. While the sneak peak into collector’s archives are still our roots, we have come to realize that perhaps sneakers act as more of a tangible symbol for Obscure Archives than a product - and that what this series is becoming is a chronicle of the human beings, the cultural keepers, of South Africa. This is certainly how we feel about Yaeesh Dollie, who’s showcase of his label Daremposh (pronounced: dâr-uhm-pôsh) took place at one of the most recent Stockroom Show First Thursdays.
There is an emotional and spiritual depth when we welcomed Daremposh to the 2nd Floor - the sense that Yaeesh’s artistic intentions are taking the format of streetwear, and injecting it with the honour and respect from his own environment in an act of celebration. You see, it’s one thing to make clothing - it’s a whole different level when your clothing is ascribed alongside your perspective, your values and particularly the preservation of your traditions. Daremposh exemplifies these pillars of intentional art & design; Yaeesh is not out here responding to trends or hype, instead the vision of Daremposh is about reflecting the tapestry of Cape Malay tailoring that runs through the city's heart; Yaeesh is bringing his elders into the conversation with photo albums of his stylistic heroes such as his grandparents and mother, and this is all done through his lens as a 22 year old in the 21st century as seen in the clean fits of his garments, or the embroidery on Daremposh fitted jackets.
“By nature, I have always been a creative person. I think wherever you come from, self-expression is the key to being free in this world. I have learned this through diversifying the mediums I use as an artist - right now I am really interested in photography. It’s funny, because we think of “art” or being “artistic” as being limited to making objects - but the more I evolve, the more I find myself wanting to apply that same creative energy towards my relationships, my studies - even romance - and through doing this, I feel like I am able to trust my viewpoint.
I trust that the stories I need to tell about my community and my heritage are meant to be experienced.” Yaeesh says in our conversation. This kind of commitment to story-telling, and using art to preserve culture, is meant to flow through generations. When we hear someone in their early twenties speak with such wisdom - then we know the flow is running its course, even amidst the chaos and uncertainty of a society that seems in disarray.
“I was never too phased by mainstream artists or media growing up. Grass-roots influences, like my grandparents, taught me about fashion and style. Clothing is very sacred in Islam, too - the hijab fo women, or Salah top for men for example - and when those elements are mixed in with tailoring or for my generation, with sneakers, there is a meeting point for the old and new. The ancient ways and the future ideas. I want Daremposh to be a home for those ideas to be explored and nourished, and for it to be a community that acknowledges and remembers this part of the cultural origins in Cape Town.” States Yaeesh when asked to describe Daremposh’s roots.
“I am not one to take dreams very seriously, but this one dream is at the back of my mind through all of this. It was just so precise. I had aunties, grandmothers and other family members telling me - almost yelling at me - at some family event saying, “Yaeesh my kind, jy lyk Daremposh?”
and it was a revelation. It was the first sign I had that this is bigger than me, and not just for me or my own success necessarily.” With Yaeesh’s ode to his background, we are reminded of Corner Store circa 2014. If you know, you know. It was when Young & Lazy, Sol-Sol and Twobop created a homebase for local streetwear ideation. In asking Yaeesh - who was a bit young to attend any events - he says “I had my eyes on those guys. That was so crazy to me, it’s like the blueprint. Apparently there was a whole studio where guys could just pop in and learn how to sew or about design. I think what those designers and brands did was show a lot of us that it’s possible to be totally ourselves. I hope Daremposh is a continuation of that spirit.”
We move with time; spaces are built, and then reshaped, and movements are usually born from a few minds coming together before anyone notices its impact.
In hindsight, those days have led up to now - and with lockdowns, disconnection and digitization of communities - the call to create places for like-minded people to be together is critical. With homies like Yaeesh, and those before him, we are really excited to see what happens next.