A lack of accessibility has often been an excuse for many people to use as a way to avoid the responsibility we have to buy locally produced creations. Consumers were constantly whining about how they weren’t able to find locally made clothing.
This year alone has proven the above excuse is no longer valid. Online retailer Spree has added to the growth of the South African fashion industry by offering multiple local fashion labels. They have now also included some of SA’s top designers such as Marianne Fassler, Gert-Johan Coetzee and Thula Sindi. Besides these popular names, the online retailer also houses designer names such as Amanda Laird Cherry, Albertus Swanepoel, Blackeyed Susan, Clive Rundle and Ruff Tung… The list is enormous, yet each one offers something uniquely South African. Considering the vast number of places in the country Spree can reach and the amount of designers they offer, surely this would solve a big accessibility issue?
However, many people are still hesitant with online purchases (although I can confirm Spree is 100% safe) which is understandable especially for those who have never tried. Once again we find ourselves at another excuse but this one is soon diminishing thanks to the boutiques and markets that are now stocking many local brands. One such market, that I believe is truly trumping this myth of inaccessibility, is the newly launched Watershed at the V&A Waterfront. It is home to a large amount of African designers, crafters and artists, of which a few good fashion designers have taken up stands – from LO, milq&honey and non-european. There are also fashion boutiques which hold stock of other designers; ones that don’t have separate stands.
Why this is important has many factors. Firstly it is based in a central area and next to one of Cape Town’s most popular shopping malls – one that many tourists and locals frequent. Yes, the mother city is home to many boutiques but their low-key presence often left people, who want local fashion, scratching their heads.
The Watershed has now made it possible for people to browse and purchase these proudly African goods with ease. This means you are supporting young entrepreneurs who in turn are creating jobs – a win-win situation.
Accessibility is no longer an issue and can no longer be used as an excuse. The industry is growing and showing what it is capable of and it is up to us to support our fellow creative South Africans.