Research Unit is Utilitarian Brand who design Elevated, Considered and Sustainable Apparel and Accessories for Women and Men and Kids.

Our products are thoughtfully designed by Erin-Lee and Chad Petersen, through careful use and balance of materials, considering each form, fit and it's function with acute attention to detail. " We're mostly designing pieces for ourselves and our kids first for a more sustainable future within our own everyday living." says Erin-Lee.

They initially began crafting accessories in their own workshop in Cape Town in 2013 and grew into designing Elevated Basic Apparel in late 2018.


We work with communities across Cape Town from Hanover Park to Khayelitsha to empower skilled people, especially women, by working closely with them to sculpt, perfect and design a superior quality, sustainable and thoughtfully designed product you can wear for a long time.

"We believe that one of the greatest forms of sustainability must be to give back to our community, to keep the industry and skills within it, alive and our economy thriving. 
Our pieces are therefore not mass produced, instead made in small batches to reduce waste. In fact, every piece of fabric is used to make packaging with the left overs. Our pieces from clothing to bags are hand-crafted and therefore always a limited run.
We believe that fewer products, made better, can be treasured for a long time, mainly to preserve the quality level and standard of every piece made from a simple t-shirt to a hand-crafted bag. We not about mass production, but doing our part to help the earth and humanity."
With our travel bags and accessories, we observe the age-old traditions of Japanese craftsmanship, for each of our South African-made products, while applying innovative technology and industrial design experience, to create products we trust are built to last for generations."  
Research Unit began on a bedroom floor by Founder, Erin-Lee Petersen and later joined by Co-Founder and husband, Chad Petersen. Their mission from the beginning, was to learn high-level skills of making goods to high standards and at a superior quality to compete with the rest of the world.
 With an equal passion for good design and innovation with the lowest level of resources available, they resorted to YouTube. They took the time to research and document each step during their design and development process, to offer you a well made product at superior quality and have done even more to enable these products to be made by individuals who come from a previously disadvantaged life.
"Initially, we taught our staff skills we learnt ourselves and continue to find more communities to work with in South Africa. We believe that innovation, good design and very fine craftsmanship go hand-in-hand."
The multiple-award-winning creative duo have had an innovative approach to business from the very start, raising their initial capital from the sale of an iPhone 4, they took out with a 24-month contract when no formal institutions would support, whilst collectively working in Broadcasting, Modeling, Industrial Design Consultancies and Luxury Retail for several years.