KOIKOI CLOTHING: BROTHERS BOND IN BUSINESS
We meet Damon and Camron Christoforos, the brothers behind the proudly African brand, KOIKOI Clothing, as they chat to us about what it’s like going into business with family.
They say that having a sibling is like having a built-in best friend, and that is most certainly the case with the Christoforos brothers who were raised, went to varsity, did their honours, and launched their own business – together.
The Johannesburg-born boys have called Cape Town their home for the last six years and have been loving every moment of it. The natural environment of coastal Cape Town even inspired them to launch an environmentally-friendly company.
“Since we were young, we have always wanted to create something or start something together,” explains Damon.
With a keen interest in fabrics and a love for the outdoors, the brother duo decided to create something that represents them that they can sell to the public. Thus, KOIKOI Clothing was born.
The name stems from the fabric, Kikoy, that is used for the garments. Kikoy, or Kikoi, is a colourful African fabric traditionally from Kenya and Tanzania.
The fabric is 100% cotton, and for their clothing line, the fabric is coloured with organic dye, that is carefully weaved into the final garments.
“We have been wearing kikoy our whole lives and our mom just said, ‘boys, turn that into a pair of mens shorts,’ and that’s what we did,” says Damon.
After producing kikoy shorts, the brothers went on to develop long pants and trousers, and then decided to complete the full kikoy look with shirts. In the near future, they would also like to come out with a women’s range as well.
As their range developed, their appeal widened and word spread via social media and public figures, such as the likes of DJ and Model, Brian Mayera, who has been sporting their threads.
Although the name might confuse some with the Japanese goldfish, KOIKOI Clothing is all about original African designs and fabrics.
“While we were coming up with the name, we were throwing a whole bunch of ideas out there and Camron let something slip and he was actually trying to pronounce ‘kikoy’… and it came out ‘koi koi’…and it just stuck from there.”
The brand has been a success in South Africa as 40% of their online sales were from returning customers, who came back to order more. The indoor experience however, is what inspires buyers the most.
KOIKOI Clothing’s flagship store is located in the Watershed Market of the V&A Waterfront, an ideal location for vibrant, young and local brands.
“Because of the way we have utilised the fabric, it is really important for customers to come inside the shop and feel the fabric for themselves,” says Camron.
Damon and Camron’s leisurewear projects the surfing, hiking, exploring and natural living which they enjoy on a daily basis.
“[We] spend a lot of time in nature, and the more you do that and the more conscious you are of that, you want to create something that is more environmentally friendly,” explains Damon.
In addition to the positive impact that brand is having on the environment, they are also uplifting the local community as all their workers are recruited from underprivileged areas and have undergone extensive training.
Local fashion is benefitting from the support of these two brothers who see the whole, traditional African fabric community as their greater family.
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