the urbanist: cape town

How to Shop Like a Local in Cape Town

GUILD. Photo: Hayden Phipps/Courtesy of GUILD

Many tourists end up spending a big chunk of their Cape Town visit at the V&A Waterfront — which, while it has some gems, is not unlike the mall you probably frequent when you visit your parents. To find out where plugged-in locals spend their hard-earned rand, we asked two fashion-industry insiders — Kelly Withey, co-owner of Cape Town’s ultrahip concept shop Maison Mara, and Hamzeh Alfarahneh, artist, designer, and founder of accessories brand BLAC and art exhibition Not Just a Comb — to tell us where to shop instead.

Mungo. Photo: Courtesy of Mungo

For heirloom-quality linens …
“This place sells the best-quality woven fabrics with a very natural feel — the finish is raw and the colors organic. You can pop into their beautiful store on Hout Street, or take a trip to Plettenberg Bay, a coastal town on the Garden Route east of Cape Town to visit their mill and see the whole process from start to finish. I have a particular soft spot for their lattice-weave bathrobe — it’s a goffered fabric with a geometrical pattern. Better than any robe you could steal from a fancy hotel!” —Kelly Withey

For original art and décor …
Chandler House
“It’s like a little curiosity cabinet: You are entering into a parallel universe where everything is cute and original. From art to ceramics, this is a great place to find eclectic pieces for your home. Many items are inspired by Cape Dutch architecture, and I especially like the hand-painted busts. Be sure to check out the Lucie de Moyencourt illustrations; she often has exhibitions there.” —Kelly Withey

For stylish kitchenwares …
“This is a restaurant, but they have the most beautiful selection of handmade ceramics dipped in 24-karat gold paint. They also sell table linen and housemade jams with original flavors like bergamot milk or citrus-lemon marmalade.” —Kelly Withey

For oddball collectibles …
“The name says it all! If you are looking for fine antiques and quirky décor, you need to visit this shop in Muizenberg. From old vases to majestic busts, here is where you find those extra pieces that make a house a home.” —Kelly Withey

AKJP Collective. Photo: Kate Mcluckie/Courtesy of AKJP Studio

For hyperlocal goods …
AKJP Collective
“This consortium on Kloof Street was created by fashion designer Keith Henning for young South African makers. My favorites at AKJP are epicene perfume brand House of Gozdawa and Cason Henning, which makes handmade jewelry that gathers inspiration from organic forms.” —Hamzeh Alfarahneh

For luxe animal-skin bags …
Cape Cobra Leathercraft
“Tucked away in a by-appointment-only showroom in Green Point, it’s an Ali Baba treasure trove of the most exquisite crocodile, ostrich, and python bags. My latest obsession is the cross-body Fallow bag from their Relic Collection.” —Hamzeh Alfarahneh

GUILD. Photo: Hayden Phipps/Courtesy of GUILD

For designer souvenirs …
“This store is the new kid on the block, opened by the Southern Guild design gallery. It combines both local and international talents with an ever-evolving product line. My favorite items include Ngwenya glass vases in hues of yellow and pink, Fornasetti candles, and handwoven scarves by Nicholas Coutts.” —Hamzeh Alfarahneh

For fashion hoodies and graphic tees …
Corner Store
“This is the essence of the local streetwear culture in South Africa, selling homegrown brands like Young and Lazy and 2BOP. The store is also known for its good old-fashioned raves.” —Hamzeh Alfarahneh

Bastille. Photo: Courtesy of Bastille

For menswear …
“This is named after the iconic Parisian neighborhood where co-owner Sylvain Pierre grew up. The store specializes in French menswear brands such as Maison Kitsuné, Commune de Paris, and Bleu de Paname. And recently, Bastille introduced a collaborative clothing line with South African streetwear brand Sol-Sol.” —Hamzeh Alfarahneh

How to Shop Like a Local in Cape Town