Walking into Rodney Mudzengerere’s new store at 44 Stanley is like stepping into another dimension. Ifuku.one is a mecca of all things material; denim, leather, teak and canvas. You are instantly immersed into a tight-knit culture of clothes, coffee and brotherhood, the always impeccably dressed Rodney is never not surrounded by passion. Artisans, creators, fashionistas and everyone in between swarm the quietly spoken denim-clad man, all framed by a carefully curated enclave of the best in second-hand clothing.
44 Stanley Ave, an island of restaurants, delicatessens and coffee shops in Braamfontein Werf, Johannesburg, has only seen innovation during the darkness of lockdowns. Jozi’s only independent cinema, the famous Bioscope, stocks a 3thrifty5 pop-up of premium vintage crewnecks. Around the corner is Gone, the exclusive stockist of Patagonia, a craft leather workshop, a gallery, Mr Vinyl’s prime record stock and a quintessential second-hand book store. The centre is brimming with design, creativity and artistic appreciation. The newly opened Ifuku.one has the allure and exclusivity of a concept store, offering wares such as Selvedge denim, Levi’s vintage, Doc Martins boots and hand-picked items.
For Mudzengerere, denim is a culture, a lifestyle and most importantly, an inspiration. His story and outfits attest to the hardwearing nature of the material, how wear and age accentuate the craftsmanship and quality of the pieces and the perseverance of his character and hard work. He is a masterclass in humility and taste; everything is discerned, from his laces to his buttons.
His CV is as voluminous as it is varied, from selling Shona wire art in Greenside, to DJing as a student, to being a waiter. One thing has remained constant: a devout appreciation for denim and style. Mudzengerere was raised by his grandmother in Zimbabwe and fondly remembers his first pair of thrifted jeans at age 12 — blue denims became his first love.
“Clothes are my life, I love sharing them and giving them another life. Clothes should be shuffled and remixed rather than remade. They [Fast fashion, retailers, etc.] keep repeating everything; I give my customers the originals,” he says.
For the past three-and-a-half years, his day job has had him at crafting the best coffee at Father Coffee in Rosebank, and this store is the next step in his rise. He has recently introduced Ifuku.one coffee, his own blend, roasted by Father Coffee, that represents his growth and the culture of thrifting; “Style, fashion and repurposing garments is a social experience and nothing represents that more than good coffee.”
• Ifuku.one is shop 22 at 44 Stanley Avenue, Braamfontein Wharf, 2092