FEEL GOOD | The Cape Flats brothers’ clothing brand started to keep the family afloat and is now making its way to the top


Cape Flats Brothers clothing brand (included)

  • Two brothers started retrofit clothing from their garage.
  • Your grandparents have been in the clothing industry for over 20 years.
  • The money from the sale of the clothes is used to support the family and the tuition fees.

From their garage in the village of Strandfontein, Western Cape, a family is sewing a livelihood together using their collective clothing-making skills to build a business they kept afloat during the pandemic.

Retrofit, founded by brothers Franklin and Lawrance Burt, produces garments with the know-how that their father and grandparents learned in the clothing industry.

And while Covid-19 saw many businesses collapse due to financial difficulties, the small business they started during the nationwide lockdown is proving to be better than the others as they produce based on the number of an average of 120 units per week they orders obtain.

Franklin, 21, is a full-time student while Lawrance has been unemployed for two years. The brothers started Retrofit to earn an income and fund Franklin’s studies, since their self-employed father’s clothing store was the only income in their household.

“My grandparents have been in the apparel manufacturing process for over 20 years and have since grown from making simple T-shirts and tights to tracksuits, dresses, kids denim jeans, chinos and more,” said Franklin.

Her grandmother Clara Solomons and her sister Sarah van De Westhuizen are the hands behind the brand, crouching over sewing machines and creating the garments designed by Lawrance and his father Neil.

Both brothers cut the clothes and maintain Retrofit’s social media pages, while Lawrence does the photography and designs the company logo.

Clothing brand

Cape Flats Brothers clothing brand (included)

Clothing brand

Cape Flats Brothers clothing brand (included)

Neil worked in the clothing industry with Solomons and Van de Westhuizen and developed his skills by watching and helping them at the factory.

He does most of the cutting and also helps with the sewing and finishing of the garments.

While their main goal was to provide financial support to their families, the brothers’ initiative has grown bigger than they originally imagined. You can stay afloat and pay Franklin’s college debt.

Local personalities have started buying their clothes and they already have a solid social media following with over 2,500 followers on Instagram.

Radio and club DJ Calvin “Gremlin” Potgieter praised Retrofit, saying the simple design and comfort of their clothes made him an instant fanatic.

He described Franklin and Lawrence as “real, humble guys with a strong work ethic”.

“I’ve seen a meteoric increase in the number of local apparel and merch companies launched in the past 12 months. Of course, the pandemic plays a big part, but I think people are starting to see how easy social media has made it. “Start a business from your phone.”

His own wardrobe is packed with clothing brands from Cape Town, he said.

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The brothers said they wanted to change the misconception that retro clothing is “old-fashioned” and stated that their slogan – “old-fashioned kids” – embodied the incorporation of retro ideas into a more modern, trending society.

“The Retrofit brand aims to create fashionable clothing that is suitable for all ages, fits all body sizes, and at the same time underscores the idea that style has no age,” said Franklin.

Bayview’s Cayla Fischer (CORR) has supported Retrofit since its inception.

“I try to stay away from buying shop clothes and only support local ones because of the originality. Also, their clothes make you feel clumsy when you wear them, ”she said.

Proud of their accomplishments, Franklin said he wanted to show that where you come from doesn’t matter where you end up.

The brothers hope to open at least two stores in the next few years selling only locally made clothes, but also dream of growing up and selling their clothes internationally.

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