Andile Mbete on personal style – from beards to bucket hats


Andile Mbete is a youth engagement strategist at the Johannesburg-based creative agency, AndPeople. Known in both Jozi and Cape Town as a man with a standout personal style; he has been covered in GQ’s Style Diary. He has also co-founded a pop culture blog called Andile’s Bored Company.

What influences your personal style the most?

Music has played a really big role in my life and my dress sense is mainly influenced by the music I listen to. I’ve spent most of my life obsessed with Hip Hop, post punk and No-wave so my fashion choices kind of reflect that in a way. Essentially I spent half my time trying to dress like Beans from Anti-Pop Consortium who was my favourite rapper in my late teens.

What are your favourite brands locally and internationally?

Locally, I’d have to say Punk and IvySol-Sol and this brand Soigne’ that make some really rad shirts.
My favourite brand has always been Adidas. I’ve always associated that brand with my favourite era of Hip Hop and I’ve had a very romanticized perception of the brand – I even worked at the Originals store at varsity.
Other international brands I like are Kitsune and Brooklyn Circus. Too bad I can’t afford them.

What is the worst trend/ style choice you’ve made?

Cornrows, without a doubt. I thought I looked like Larenz Tate but I actually looked like a frightened deer for two months with the itchiest scalp.

What are your thoughts on the street wear fashion coming out of South Africa at the moment?

I think SA fashion is in a really interesting place. The street wear explosion has really democratised fashion and made it more accessible to some amazing young talent. I love the entrepreneurial aspect to it. Like RHTC which is an online store started by this young kid who saw a gap in the market and created something quite unique.

What are your thoughts on bucket hats? A lasting style item or are they played out?

Bucket hats are rad. The hype around them is really, really dumb. The bucket hat trend is what I hate the most about hypebeasts. Ruining a perfectly simple thing because the internet told you it was cool. I can’t speak too much on it because it makes me angry.

Is there a fine line between being trendy and being a hypebeast/ fashion victim? 

Well, yeah. Street wear and street style really opens itself to inauthenticity by some individuals. It’s a “buy in culture” really. Wearing Supreme doesn’t immediately make you street but some people really think it does. Having said that, I started out like that. I thought I was super cool in my Boys of London denim even though I looked silly. It was only when I kind of got a greater sense of who I am did my style choices change and develop.
I think the best kind of street style guys are the ones who really use brands and clothing as a facilitator for individuality rather than, like, a statement or because it’s cool.

What is your most prized piece of clothing/ accessory you own?

I guess that would have to be a black denim jacket from Topman. Not so much the jacket itself, but it’s become an unofficial showroom for my patch collection. I really love patches.

What are 5 essentials that any man should have in their winter wardrobe?

1) Beanies.
2) Bad ass boots.
3) Long-johns (for real).
4) Sweatshirts for days.
5) Bold ass knits.

You’ve been known to rock a big manly beard. Give us some tips on how to maintain it. Do you go el naturelle or do you have to regularly groom it and shape it up?

Shampoo and condition on the reg! Like, the beard hype is a bit dull but girls only started taking interest in me once I grew one so it has it uses. Shampoo and condition and regular trimming is the biggest difference between a fly beard and a Vietnam war veteran beard.

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