A guide to
the best Cape Town shopping
We love Cape Town shopping and want to share our top picks to find fabulous, locally-made goods in the Mother City…from interiors and décor to gifts, clothing, jewellery and more!
Cape Town is a hotbed of cutting-edge design and with its relatively low rentals, the city centre attracts a varied and quirky retail offering, from individually-owned boutiques stocking hand-made garments to high-end African art. One-way Long Street (which becomes two-way Kloof Street as it clambers up the mountain slope) is a good starting point, though happening Bree Street (running parallel to Long Street) has been transformed into a décor and shopping mecca littered with independent boutique merchants.
Bree Street and surrounds
Bree Street favourite Klûk CGDT, owned by Malcolm Klûk and Christiaan Gabriël Du Toit (on the corner of Bree and the Fan Walk) occupies a 3-storey tower filled with wonderful, fanciful creations.
International awards, including African Designer of the Year 2011 and 2012 at African Fashion Week in Lagos, testify to the creativity of this team.
This is a shop of dreams and a glamorous retreat from the outside world – and it’s worth popping in to ogle at the luxurious ready-to-wear collections which sees brides beating a path to the door throughout the year!
Further up the strip, fashionable and edgy leather goods designer, Missibaba and London-based jewellery designer Kirsten Goss, have joined forces at a heavenly and oh-so-pretty boutique to bring you the best of South African luxury accessories. You simply cannot leave Cape Town without a beautifully hand-crafted statement bag or a piece of contemporary jewellery.
Another Bree Street wonder, Skinny laMinx showcases owner, designer and illustrator, Heather Moore’s wonderful textile and design work – all professionally printed in Cape Town on an array of cushion covers, tea towels, tableware, bags, aprons and more!
Avoova designs and manufactures beautiful accessories and gifts from ostrich eggshells. The Afro-chic mosaic effect created by Avoova is brilliantly versatile, adorning items as small as earrings and as large as table tops.
In between, you will find belt buckles, bracelets, picture frames, trinket boxes, earrings, ice buckets and beautiful ornamental dishes and bowls. These eco-friendly luxury items made from hatched ostrich eggs are manufactured in workshops in the Karoo, helping to alleviate unemployment in the area.
Robert Sherwood is well-known in the Cape Town interior design world and has many illustrious design projects to his name, so it comes as no surprise that his showroom on the corner of Bree & Pepper Streets is well-worth a visit. Robert and his partner, Alberto, have created an inviting space to showcase their local and global finds. The showroom space is small but beautifully curated, full of interesting and unique artworks, sculptures, furniture and objet. Definitely worthwhile popping in for some design inspiration!
Convoy is a collaborative retail space, shared between proudly South African fashion and accessory designers, each bringing a fresh and exciting design element to the eclectic space.
At the beautiful Alexandra Höjer Atelier you’ll find wearable limited-edition garments by Swedish clothing designer, Alexandra that reflect a modern nostalgia. Womenswear, menswear and jewellery are exclusively hand-made in Cape Town.
Stable, on neighbouring Loop Street, is a collaborative exhibition space making local design, art and artisan items easily accessible. The space hosts furniture and accessories, lighting and décor pieces as well as ceramics and smaller accessories and prints making this a good spot to pick-up local gifts and smaller one-of-a-kind pieces.
Likewise, Merchants on Long, featured in the likes of Vanity Fair, Vogue, Tatler and Wallpaper was the first concept store of its kind in Africa to focus on contemporary Pan-African design. Opened in 2010, Merchants serves as a platform for emerging and established designers to display their products. The carefully curated selection of bespoke, luxury and handmade brands are all 100% sourced and made in Africa and include everything from fashion to homeware. Merchants on Long is also the home of the African luxury handbag and accessories line OKAPI.
Another gem in the heart of the city, Mungo designs and weaves kitchen and table linens, bedding and a signature range of flat weave towels at their mill in Plettenberg Bay. At their beautiful Cape Town store and micro mill, you’ll find their full range and a working 100-year-old loom – the experiential space allows shoppers a first-hand glance into the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into weaving.
The talented artist and creator, Michael Chandler has a bijou art gallery-cum- shop, packed full of amazing finds as well as Michael’s creations of course. You’ll also find Kenyan scarves, Manina Baumann’s exquisite suzanis, ceramics, orchids from
The Exotic Plant Company as well as antiques and collectibles from Dominic Touwen creating an eclectic but delightful mix. Michael is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the Cape’s history and heritage, so do pop in for some old-world inspiration and to discover a few tales from the past.
You’ll find Chandler House at 53 Church Street. Rialheim’s ceramic pieces are skilfully handcrafted from African clay on a family farm in Robertson and radiates a sense of fun and playfulness! They make unique gifts for family and friends…and you’ll be tempted to pick up something for your own home, dinner table or kitchen!
The top end of Long Street, known as the backpacker precinct, has a grungy feel but there a few gems worth exploring; if you continue at the Long Street Baths up Kloof Street. The Opulent Living Concept Store & Gallery is first up, showcasing accessible and authentic contemporary South African art and luxurious artisanal products.
Further along, you’ll discover a little piece of fashion heaven at Adriaan Kuiters and Jody Paulsen’s concept store AKJP Collective. The art-inspired easy-to-wear garments from the AKJP Collective decorate the store and you won’t have to look long to fall in love with their shapes, textures and pops of colour. They also showcase other local designers, so you’ll have your work cut out for you, choosing between a selection of quirky socks, designer bags and hip accessories.
Ashanti is a celebration of traditional and colourful craft. Their signature eco-conscious fabric is hand-woven from the fibres of perfectly good fabric that would otherwise be sent to landfill. It’s a feast for the eyes!
In complete contrast is LIM’s calms and serene space, curated by Pauline Mutlow and renowned for select African collectables, throws and hand-made products.
Make sure you pop in at Mr & Mrs next (look out for the signature fuchsia and gold façade on the corner of Kloof and De Lorentz Streets). This tiny MUST-visit boutique store is a treasure trove of pretty cottons, candles, throws, jewellery and clothing. After a year of traveling through Indonesia, Argentina and India, owners Cecil and Sarah Jane Bosman returned to open their lifestyle and design store on Kloof Street. Mr & Mrs hosts a range of South African fashion designers and also stocks beautiful beachwear.
Bo Kaap precinct
The Bo Kaap also has a small but vibrant offering! Colourful African beadwork, made by local township women, are Monkeybiz’s super-successful stock in trade – you’ll find their products around the world but the largest selection – in a myriad of colour combinations – is here. The Monkeybiz beaders create unique artworks and all profits from the sale of these pieces go back into the community. Their colourful, unique creations are quite amazing and make great gifts too. Be sure to pop upstairs and view some of the behind the scenes in their workshop.
New to the area is the trendy Bo-Op which you can’t miss with its primary colours and key position on the corner of Wale and Rose Street. This is home to ten of Cape Town’s fashion brands including quirky shoes from Grandt Mason Originals, beautiful clothing from Charlie H, Ballo sunglasses, Sealand and more.
Deluxe Coffeeworks sits alongside the Bo-Op and on the other side you’ll find Detox juice bar for a quick refuel.
Across the road, South African surf brand Mami Wata has opened its first store in Cape Town. Designed by Mami Wata’s three founders, the space features a mixture of modern, Scandi-inspired design elements complemented by raw stone walls. You’ll find the brand’s full range within the space, from boards, each of which has been hand-made by local master shaper Hugh Thompson, to bags, shorts, T-shirts, caps and fair-trade coffee. All of Mami Wata’s products have been designed, sourced and manufactured in South Africa.
Easy City precinct
On the other end of town, in the up-and-coming Easy City Precinct (and near the Castle of Good Hope; en route to District Six Museum) is coffee-shop-cum-gallery, the Haas Collective, which gathers together a hip selection of SA design objets and serves a good coffee (19 Buitenkant street). Here you’ll also find SA designer, Margot Molyneux, best-known for her feminine silhouettes, classic styling and superb tailoring.
The shop interior is suitably pretty with an elegant and sophisticated shopping space featuring beautiful Art Deco detailing and a subtle colour palette of soft pinks, whites and fern greens.
The Book Lounge is a glorious little independent book store, bang on the corner of busy Roeland Street. Housed in a row of beautiful historical buildings, it is a must visit for any book lover. As well as being the purveyors of fine reading material, the Book Lounge is also the host to numerous literary events such as book launches and author interviews – if you’re in town on a Saturday, don’t miss story time with the little ones in the basement lounge, while mum and dad can grab a coffee in the on-site café.
A kilometre from Cape Town’s city centre, Woodstock used to be home to more textile factories than fashion outlets. But in recent years this industrial area with its stupendous mountains views has changed dramatically.
The transformation of the Old Biscuit Mill into a hub of cafés and creativity led the way for further regeneration in the area. “The Mill” is a compact, easy-to-navigate pedestrianised complex with a small, good selection of shops (amongst others look out for Heartworks for affordable quirky pieces sourced from South and East Africa, and Imiso for ceramics).
There are also excellent restaurants (including Pot Luck and Burrata). Diagonally opposite is Salt Circle Arcade, rammed with more interesting shops (including an excellent book shop and some good clothing shops like Imagine, specialising in flattering dresses for the fuller figure). Moving towards town but still in Albert Road is The Woodstock Foundry (160 Albert Rd) where talented furniture designer Jon Vogel (designer of Cape-Nordic style furniture) has his showroom, and you can check out Casamento’s ‘handcrafted heirlooms’ and the delicate jewellery on offer in Dear Rae.
The last collective shopping hub in Albert Road is the vibrant Woodstock Exchange (66 Albert Rd) which has bought even more fashion and design to the area with a collection of ‘workshops-cum-boutiques’, cafés and collectives housed under one roof.
Mosey around the lanes here and you’re likely to walk away with some truly unique finds. This design zone reflects how Woodstock is growing in stature as Cape Town’s ‘artsy’ hub with many of its boutiques occupied by young entrepreneurs – and many of these spaces fulfil a dual role of retail shop as well as workshop space…take a sneak peek behind a screen and you may just find a designer at work.
Designs on offer vary from arts to clothing, jewellery, collectibles, homeware, object design, furniture and the like. Look out for Pedersen + Lennard, a South African company focused on well-made products with a simple aesthetic.
If street shopping is not your bag, you can enjoy a sanitised mall with some street shopping in De Waterkant. It’s a small gentrified precinct of cobbled streets, with two squares, one of which is the central point for Cape Quarter, a smallish mall that opened a few years back.
Maison Mara is a grown-up concept store based in a beautiful heritage 3-storey house that offers a curated selection of local and international ready-to-wear, accessories, skincare and homewares.
Africa Nova offers a very grown up classy selection of African craft; nearby Nap Living has lovely feminine homeware, relax wear and jewellery and Just Cruizin has floppy cotton clothing that’s ideal for safari (cool but long sleeves and legs, to keep the mosquitoes at bay). If you’re looking to get your hands on exquisite, genuine leather products, the family-run Cape Cobra Leathercraft should be your first port of call.
Made with authentic and interesting leathers such as Nile crocodile, ostrich, whip snake and python – all strictly sourced under the regulations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – you can find a range of elegant handbags, evening bags, briefcases, belts, wallets and other leather accessories at the store based in De Waterkant.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s are notoriously bad days for shopping in South Africa and we recommend keeping these days free for site-seeing. That said, if shopping over the weekend cannot be avoided, The Watershed at the V&A Waterfront is your go-to-place to stock-up on gifts and mementoes.
Many of the city (Bree & Kloof Street) stores have outlets in the Watershed and this shopping collective was introduced for the very purpose of being able to showcase and offer a platform to small businesses and up-and-coming designers.
With over 150 stalls in a large warehouse building, it offers by far the biggest, most varied selection – all beautifully displayed, curated and styled. The space has a contemporary, industrial feel and features well-known labels such as Mungo & Jemima (for local street-fashion), Beach Cult (for fabulous swimwear), Galago (create your own bespoke leather sandals) and Pichulik (super-cool, designer jewellery) to newer, lesser-known names and a selection of curios. So, not only is this a wonderful platform for designers to exhibit and sell their wares, but it’s also super convenient.
Silo district at V&A Waterfront
Then, there is a new one-stop spot in the V&A Waterfront that has everyone talking! Not only is the new Silo District, home to the incredible Zeitz MOCAA but it features some amazing culinary and retail spaces.
The Yard is a fresh new concept store-cum eatery located in this hip-and-happening district, and an artfully curated space: single-origin Rosetta coffees, poison-apple cocktails, Italian charcuterie, local preserves, African wax-print washbags, and even a bespoke ‘forestware’ range by Anthony Shapira.
When it comes to showcasing the best-of-the-best South African design and art, nobody does it better than the Guild Group, whose co-founders and owners Trevyn and Julian McGowan, are the brains behind a string of exciting design-related brands. A multi-faceted venue, Southern Guild houses an in-house studio, concept store, furniture range, as well as a gallery space, adding yet another ground-breaking element to the already feted Silo District.
All in good company, local luxury brands Kat van Duinen and Kirsten Goss also have retail spaces here. Kirsten Goss first opened her doors in 2002 in London. The designer has since opened in Johannesburg, Durban and on Bree Street (Cape Town) – as well as her newest space in The Silo district. With distinctly Scandinavian and African influences, her pieces are truly unique. Kat van Duinen’s new showroom at the Silo is home to exquisite, luxury fashion and genuine exotic-leather women’s accessories, proudly handcrafted in South Africa. Born in Poland, Van Duinen specialises in luxury exotic leather accessories, including genuine ostrich, python and crocodile. Celebrities like Solange Knowles and Diane Keaton have been spotted with a Kat van Duinen bag.
Lastly, if you’re venturing out along the Cape Peninsula, stop off in the seaside village of Kalk Bay for really pleasurable window shopping (bohemian-style clothes, jewellery, art, etc.) – don’t miss Anpa for eye-catching jewellery, browse the many bo-ho clothing shops lining the main road, and funky art/craft galleries like ArtVark and Kalk Bay Modern.