Throwaway Twenty: A beautiful and unapologetic coming of age story

Throwaway Twenty, which is a Johannesburg-based label, in concept is a coming of age story and the "second time around" idea is one that its founders Lana Enslin and Rome Wepener can fully relate to.

Photo: Rome Wepener (left), Lana Enslin

"Lana and I often found ourselves chatting a great deal about my greatest aspiration - creating a menswear label," said Wepener.

"We decided to take on this idea together. Notebooks and pencils ready in a bookstore in the Middle East, we kept going back and forth on what the brand would be about, and most importantly what we would call it.

"Somehow conversation took a turn about life experiences and nostalgic wild anecdotes. She spoke about someone she knew who had an exceptionally colourful youth and how he threw his twenties away."

This was how Throwaway Twenty was born.

The talented South Africa duo started the business in 2015 and focused a lot on building their story first and creating a strong visual aesthetic that was true to them.

They released their first series in 2016 and only became operational in 2018 when they started with stocking their first store in February.

They were invited to be part of the South African Fashion Week trade event and from there they had their debut show at SA Menswear Week last year July.

"Two shows, three stores and three trade events down the line we are growing and becoming more confident each season. Our story is becoming stronger and stronger."

Along the way they have also managed to put a lovely team together from branding all the way to production.

"Our team consists of me, Lana and Sophia, along with an amazing support system from our friends and family that truly believe in what we do.

"We work well together because we know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Lana trusts me as creative director to make the right choices in terms of aesthetics and storytelling so that my creative process is never interrupted.

"When it comes to our day-to-day dynamics, we always find a way to make each other laugh even when our days are demanding. We have a lot of fun together."

What is special about the brand's concept is that it is all about second chances. It's about making the best mistakes, being mischievous, gutsy and unapologetic whilst being on a road to rediscovery.

"It's also about taking the underdogs along on the journey and coming home reborn showing the rest how we've lived and how we live now.

"It's for everyone who needs a comeback story," said Wepener, who added that all their fabric was locally sourced from some of the best suppliers in the city.

When choosing which colour and material combinations to use they think about how best to express the story they want to tell each season.

Wepener said he tended to select what ever he gravitated towards at the time from its story or concept.

"I do however like to use easy fabrics but also bold prints for simple silhouettes. I also enjoy using plush, luxurious fabrics for casual garments.

"There is always a juxtaposition of luxury and comfort in my work."

He added that they had created some really beautiful printed pieces from jackets to trousers, dramatic faux-fur coats and hand-knitted scarves as well as some very humorous tongue in cheek accessories.

Another exciting development is their beautiful new winter range that was inspired by Wepener's dad and the small mining town he grew up in, as well as the opposite career paths they chose.

"The protective gear and neon colours were a reflection of that, fused together with my love for a dramatic and indulgent winter where two different worlds perfectly merged together.

"This season we went with a bold neon palette that was balanced with muted masculine colours. We combined active fabrics, wool and heavier faux-fur that played off the serious yet whimsical elements in the two inspirations along with classic silhouettes that are worn by the everyday man."


Being able to create a story and a world that he loves and that everyone can be part of and enjoy is his favourite part of the process.

"I love beautiful things, so getting up in the morning knowing that my day is going to consist of creating beautiful clothes is a wonderful feeling."

Their ultimate career goal is to establish the Throwaway Twenty brand even further in SA before taking it globally by expanding it on various platforms.

"Kidswear is definitely something we'd like to venture into because it fits in our fun and easygoing philosophy."

Wepener says as cliché as it might sound, hard work really does pay off.

"If you truly have a dream, you must put in the work to make it happen. It will never be easy, but it will always be worth it.

"A dear friend used to say to me, 'everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end'."

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published