"I love dressing up in expensive clothes...I can't be caught wearing sneakers and jeans. That would be the joke of the year if I did that," a young South African man named She-Ra says into the camera. Later, another boy taunts a group outside by pointing to his own flashy, Versace-esque designer ensemble and saying, "This is expensive! I bought it! What do you have? Nothing!" Welcome to the culture of izikhothane.

Found mostly in South Africa's townships, izikhothane are street crews who fight each other not with guns and violence but with fashion. The young men who make up these crews are Born Frees or black youths born after the country's oppressive Apartheid system ended and who, as She-Ra says, "can shop where we want...[and] can express our views without being imprisoned." And in this case, shopping is serious business and schooling a punk on his swag -- or, more accurately, lack thereof -- is a way to earn respect in the community by making others think that you're wealthy. (And, of course, it's ultimately a way to win those things most important to adolescent males: "clothes, booze, fame, girls.")

But not everyone is impressed by their antics, which includes buying inordinately expensive designer duds and then destroying them during elaborate dance routines as a way to show off in front of girls and rival crews. As the clips shows, many of their working class parents and members of the older generation who still remember the horrors of Apartheid are disappointed that their kids are using their hard-earned money to purchase swish clothes only to light them -- and even money itself -- on fire or dousing them with custard. But then again, as the video explains, a lot of parents put up with -- and finance -- their sons' shenanigans because fashion gangs are a far better alternative to those of the criminal variety.

It's a super fascinating video and an even more interesting sub-culture. Definitely worth spending five minutes watching.

[via Vocativ]