Panashe Matadi (left) and Mungo Bates (right). Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

The Duo Behind New Zealand Streetwear Label Friends and Enemies

Mungo Bates and Panashe Matadi on how they channelled their artistic dream to create their label

Mungo Bates and Panashe Matadi are the duo behind streetwear label Friends and Enemies. They are both passionate about what they do, whether it’s clothing design, events or collaborations. Neither of them come from a fashion background but they have boundless energy and charisma that they channel into their work. The best place to find out about future clothing collections and upcoming musical events is their Instagram @friends_enemies or their site Frenemies.co.nz.

Why did you start Friends and Enemies?
Panashe: It presented me with an opportunity to impact the world. With all respect and love to New Zealand, I feel like the nation lacks a drive of culture and support. New Zealand holds many unheard artistic geniuses. Starting Friends and Enemies was a dream of mine, to create a brand or platform through clothing and other aspects of art spreading one message, which is “love”. As you see with the logo and brand name, it’s a logo of unity and love. The message is fight hate and evil with love, spread the energy.
Mungo: I saw Friends and Enemies as a getaway from the formulaic day-to-day pattern. It’s an avenue to allow minimum rules, which is where the finest creativity is expressed.

Panashe Matadi. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Whose style do you love?
Panashe: I have two fashion icons, Rakim Myers and Kiari Kendrell Cephus.
Mungo: I’m definitely inspired by Tariq Devega and the AWGE crew.

Tell us about your recent music and fashion events?
Panashe: Jewels/The Show** was our most recent event and it was emotional. The end result was good, however, room for improvement is needed. Going into the next shows, we’re focusing on the fundamentals of executing a perfect show. A big surprise is to come, so stay tuned.
Mungo: Our most recent event proved to be an experience of its own. We broadened our horizons and thought to strengthen the creative scene among the youth. The talent in Auckland holds the potential, it’s the mindset that holds it back.

What do you do for fun?
Panashe: I draw on our house wall at home.
I started doing it as a way to manifest life goals. I feature my favourite illustrations on my Instagram @paanashe. I love art and find fun in it.
Mungo: Boys will be boys, I think long-term fun instead of short-lived amusement.

Mungo Bates. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

What’s the best thing about being young in New Zealand right now?
Panashe: Freedom. The youth is up next. Times are changing and it’s scary, however don’t let fear limit you and your dreams. Freedom is the best thing in New Zealand right now, it’s beautiful. As the youth we have the ability to change a whole nation with the power of love, art and good energy. As unrealistic or impossible as it seems, you can do anything. For us and my team it’s about spreading our message of love and the empowerment of the youth.
Mungo: Youth movement. We are the ones to hold the power next. New Zealand is small but powerful enough to structure a realistic approach. I’d like to think the best thing about being young is that the liabilities are minimal, so what’s preventing high-performing standards, especially in the creative scene?

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