WATCH: Maps and Mihlali attend the opening of the Alpha Industries store | The Citizen
Joburg’s finest came out to celebrate the launch of American clothing brand Alpha Industries, the likes of TV presenter Maps Maponyane, influencer Mihlali Ndamase, rapper L-Tido and actor Zamani Mbatha donned the bomber jackets and gear from the Urban Streetwear Range.
Dating back to 1959, the company was commissioned by the Department of Defence to design clothing for members of the US military.
With thicker materials and warm padding to protect against sea, land and air conditions, not dealt with by ordinary citizen, the clothes became popular among soldiers who were facing harsh war conditions that required finer detail to military outerwear.
The main element was the reversible orange material, durable sleeves and extra padding for the colder months, seen specifically on the MA-1 flight jacket, which was created in 1963 – a design that has stood the test of time.
Word spread about the quality of workmanship.
In the 1970s, the brand quickly became a mainstream brand, manufacturing and selling jackets, underwear, bags and accessories for men and women, even while making jackets for the military.
In SA, Alpha Industries items are popular among men who enjoy urban streetwear brands which might cost just a little more but still have street cred.
One of the easily recognisable features is the red tag on the side.
This month the brand opened its first store in SA – only its second store in the world.
Mike Cirker, owner and grandson of the founder of Alpha Industries, said the South African market was important for the brand, expanding on the research behind opening the store in the country and the stylishness of South Africans.
Cirker said outside the United States, the European (German), UK and Japanese markets were the brand’s big markets.
“I’m so happy to have flown out here and gotten an opportunity to meet the people who love and wear the brand,” he said.
It’s a family brand, steeped in history and ever-evolving to embrace current fashion and street trends.
Although many will argue that Alpha Industry jackets have always been available locally through distributors, a store allows lovers of the brand to purchase original quality items at a reasonable price with no unnecessary mark ups.
The range is unisex and has many different styles, with even vegan jackets for the more discerning man or woman.
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