Scottish Leader shows a New Perspective with Dennis Chuene

Scottish Leader shows a New Perspective with Dennis Chuene

“Where I grew up, we called it the mshana bag. But across the continent of Africa, the bag has many names: the China bag, mme se keile, Ghana-must-go, khumbul’ekhaya. Each of those names has a story behind it, but each story has one thing in common. They’re all stories about a struggle for a better life. Because this bag, much like most people living on this continent, hasn’t had things easy,” says South African designer, Dennis Chuene.

He is the creative genius behind the Vernac brand that has made, what is generally referred to in Africa as the “China bag”, a local fashion statement by using it in new ways in his trendy designs.

Best-selling whisky, Scottish Leader, recently joined forces with Chuene to produce a beautifully shot video that demonstrates what the popular blended Scotch whisky brand means with its “a new perspective” tagline.

The captivating video depicts the story of Chuene and how he has very successfully managed to create sought-after fashion items, by looking at the “China bag” from a new perspective, and recycling, reimagining and personifying its application. Using the iconic African plastic zipper bags with its signature blue or black, white and red stripes, Chuene’s popular Vernac designs feature bags in various forms (backpack, tote, sling, saddle, laptop and clutch) as well as wallets.

“The video presents the concept of perspective by showing how looking at things in a new light, can serve as a vehicle to augment reality. In this instance, it demonstrates a new perspective on design.” says Jeremy Thompson, Scottish Leader’s SA marketing manager.

“Chuene’s positive and very creative outlook is a great example of what Scottish Leader stands for as a brand: the richer possibilities brought on by exploring new perspectives and investigating new possibilities. It’s about seeing the potential others can’t and making a difference,” Thomson elaborates.

As Chuene optimistically states in the video: “But you know what? Things are starting to change, and more and more people are moving forward. I don’t think most people would think these bags would ever bring the word “success” to mind. If I told somebody 20 years ago that these bags could be a fashion statement, they would have laughed in my face. But I suppose that’s the trick to life. You’ve got to try to not see things, or people, for where they are right now. You have to try look at things from a different perspective. You have to try to see the potential. Because once you can do that, man, there’s no stopping you.”

The video was produced by digital agency Mirum, with director Rod McCall at the helm.

Vernac designs are offered online via, and through African Image in Cape Town (go to,to view outlets).

Chuene was born in Limpopo and raised in Johannesburg. He established the stylish Vernac label in 2011, after graduating in fashion design from the prestigious LISOF Fashion Design School & Retail Education Institute.

Taste the award-winning Scottish Leader Original, Signature and 12 Year Old at Whisky Live in Pretoria from 4 – 6 May at Brooklyn Design Square – tickets are on sale here – and in Durban at the Wavehouse at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping from 1 – 3 June (tickets for the Durban event will be on sale soon).

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