Ask any young creative (be it a musician, fashion designer, fine artist etc.) about 55 Long Street. Boaston Society is the newest, most refreshing space for creatives and youths to hang out and discuss ideas over some coffee or just chill and kick it. LIVE caught up with Elisha Mpofu, creative director and owner of Boaston Society and it unfolded as follows.
LIVE: What is Boaston Society all about?
Elisha: Boaston Society is a youth lifestyle company based out of Cape Town with our main office based at 55 Long Street, 2nd Floor, Cape Town. The company has interests in streetwear via our concept retail store and online store which stocks many upcoming local streetwear brands and art also via our gallery. We work with young people and brands to create projects, content and communities. Boaston Society is at the crossroads of urban fashion, music, photography and film worlds. We are positioning ourselves as a hub for nurturing creativity and supporting partnerships with some of the country’s most visionary talents.
LIVE: Who is part of the collective?
Elisha: Boaston Society, the company is led by Elisha Mpofu who is the Creative Director, Keitumetse Gabanakgosi who manages the operations and KB “Massive” Mbiola who manages the day to day operations of the Boaston Society Space. We also work with Xolani Scott Dani for design and Theo Afrika through his company, 768 Photography. In the real sense of the our activities, the whole youth community is part of Boaston Society because we are a community space now, the projects we execute, the brands we sell, the people who hang out at the space are all stakeholders because without them, there is no society.
LIVE: What is the space all about?
Elisha: Our space is anchored by three different divisions namely Project Space, café and the clothing store. The space is a project space celebrating youth aesthetics and practices, with the intention of creating immerse retail and art experiences over conventional stores and white-wall gallery exhibits. We support a wide range of youth initiatives reflective of this new subculture driven by youth artists, which blends contemporary fine art with influences such as street art, graffiti and pop art. Our space provides a work environment for young creatives as well as a multipurpose venue for artist talks, film screenings and similar activities at rates that are affordable to the young student or worker.
What makes our space cooler than other spots is the integration of the café. The café has become a meeting place, an office-away-from-the-office, a sometimes quiet spot to hide, read, blog, gaze or pretend to be working for young people. We do our best to create an inspiring, friendly and interesting café experience. You’ll find free WiFi and the much loved Hausbrandt.
The clothing store presents a totally innovative and original way to shop for clothes and products with an experimental and experiential edge. We create urban fashion, mixing subcultures to set our own on-trend rules and street movement. The store is an outlet for young designers who have the ambitions of building global brands and we always encourage collaborations within brands and work the designers to develop their entrepreneurial skills.
LIVE: Who owns the space?
Elisha: The space is owned by Boaston Society company.
LIVE: Why the name “Boaston Society”
Elisha: Boaston Society was inspired by Greg Selkoe, an entrepreneur who founded Karmaloop, the global streetwear online company based out of Boston. He is a go-getter type dude who started a streetwear business out of his parents garage and built it into a billion rand business. One characteristic that I admired about the dude is the confidence. He boasts about his business because he loves what he does so after looking at my own activities and the projects that we wanted to execute, I (Elisha) decided to call the business Boast-on as an encouragement for people to go out there and be proud of their work.
LIVE: What types of brands are you guys interested in?
Elisha: We are interested in all brands that are pushing the boundaries of either design or connections with the customers. Since our inception, we have always had an appreciation for streetwear, art and products so our store has given us the chance to showcase this love for fashion and the visitors the opportunity to purchase some of their favourite brands. We have a wide mix of brands offering people a streetwear destination for numerous innovative and highly sought-after brands. We have a key bias towards the local brands because we would like to be part of their growth into global empires so we have decided to keep our stocking on 50/50-international vs. local.
LIVE: What other products except clothing are you interested in stocking in your shop?
Elisha: We have added vinyl toys to the line up and in the new year we will be stocking magazines, collectible books, bikes, skateboards, few home items (for youth) and more sneakers.
LIVE: You’ve hosted a couple of talks, exhibitions etc. What other types of events are you guys into hosting at your space?
Elisha: Youth audiences should never be limited so we are always looking to diversify the events. We currently have a line-up of guest curators spread across different disciplines of youth culture from graffiti, streetwear, music and visual art. Together we curate events, talks, projects in their field of interest and initiate the projects utilising the space. Our main aim is to foster youth projects, create products, collaborations and a project space aimed at developing young creatives. Our categories for curators are:
- Film- short films, classic, film workshops, music videos
- Art- photography, art performances etc.
- Urban fashion- street style, trends, design, branding, talks
- Music- artists, band talks, performances
- Digital- installations, talks
LIVE: Please tell the creative reading this how they can get their work featured on your space.
Elisha: There’s no set formula. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or inbox on Facebook, we always make an effort to follow up with every inquiry.