25 March 2021
Streetwear start-up born out of Gippsland Youth Advisory Group
When Kuku Mahmoud thinks about his life in Kenya, the first memory that comes to his mind is digging up the ground looking for peanuts. “It was a lot of fun, I remember playing with my friends in the streets to see who could find one before everyone else, you could find food everywhere,” he says. Born in Sudan, Kuku lived in Kenya until the age of nine when his parents moved to Australia looking for better opportunities for their family and better education for their children.
Today Kuku is 22 years old and has just finished his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and is waiting to graduate soon. At his young age, he decided to become an entrepreneur and created Slime Streetwear, a clothing brand that he founded in 2019 with the idea of representing Africa’s cultural diversity through its designs.
“What truly inspired Slime Streetwear was the lack of Black/African owned clothing companies, especially in the Gippsland region, so the clothes, somehow, did not represent the diverse African youth in Gippsland, and beyond,” says Kuku.
After a tough year in 2020, the brand has managed to overcome some problems during the lockdowns, and today it has six young people working on the coming collections for this year. Now, Slime not only represents the African culture, but it is aiming to increase its fan base among young people from other cultural backgrounds.
In addition to his studies and working with Slime, Kuku has been part of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) for the past four years, a program that he acknowledges played a major role in the creation of Slime.
“The YAG was really important to start, it has been a great opportunity in terms of the networking and business management skills I have learnt in the workshops we do,” highlights Kuku.
Although he recognises that he did not know what the YAG was about at first, he liked the idea of working with other young people from multicultural backgrounds.
“I have found the initiatives that the YAG has for young people useful, especially for those that do not usually have access to the programs. For me, being a member is the way I can make a positive impact on others.”
Kuku plans to travel to Africa for the first time since arriving in Australia, to gather new ideas to bring out the richness of his African heritage in the new Slime Streetwear clothes. In the meantime, he keeps encouraging more young people in his community to get involved in the YAG and benefit from the opportunities it offers for multicultural youth in regional areas.