A creative destination with young designers and fashionistas
Throughout the past decade, Cape Town has become a very popular destination for winter escapers: People who come just for a holiday, digital nomads, models, photographers, and international brands. The mixture of all those different kinds of people coming to town results in a special kind of vibe. Not to mention, of course, that Cape Townians themselves are very fashionable, refreshingly creative and trendy people. When staying in Cape Town you will realize quickly that it‘s a thriving location for creativity, talented young designers and fashionistas. We spent the first three months of the year in town for the past seven years. Here comes the ultimate Cape Town fashion shopping guide as a result.
In the mother city, you will find young designers with unique ideas, shops with fancy festival clothing, as well as surf- and streetwear from famous international brands such as Hurley and DEUS ex Machina.
1) Cape Town fashion shopping in the city center
In the city bowl of Cape Town, we recommend four main roads to walk, in case you wanna discover unique boutiques for shopping: Bree, Loop, Long and Kloof street. All those four roads and many of their intersecting streets have been rapidly evolving over the past years. Besides new stores, every year new bars, restaurants and art galleries pop up in that area. It is also the place to be on a first Thursday in Cape Town.
For strolls through that area, there are two shops we recommend to visit. Looking forward to discovering some cool dudes apparel? You will find Blackwood Brothers Cape Town located in Shortmarket Street. It is a jump-off from beautiful Bo-Kaap with its colorful little houses. Blackwood Brothers offers a bunch of cool international brands such as DEUS ex Machina and Edwin Jeans. Also, they have a few clothes from local designers.
No matter if you are looking for some jeans, shirts, a hip backpack, caps or accessories: The Blackwood Brothers store will serve your needs.
Tipp: You can not only shop until you drop, but the Blackwood Brothers store also hosts a Barber Shop upstairs on the second level. To round up your visit, just on the opposite side of the street, The House of Machines is situated, where you can grab a beer and a snack. For lunch and dinner, you can hop next door after that and grab a proper bite at The Shortmarket Club. It is one of the many restaurants by South Africa’s famous chef Luke Dale Roberts. Reservation in advance is advised.
Alternatively, if you prefer to continue shopping, after five to ten minutes’ walk and crossing Loop Street, you will arrive at Zeitgeist Apparel in Long Street. Zeitgeist Apparel is a young Cape Townian brand with raw men’s clothing from scarfs to beanies as well as unique and often asymmetric designed shirts and sweaters. They also sell pieces from a variety of local designers. This place is always worth a visit, even if it is just for a chat with the designers or their lovely staff – they are all full of high vibing energy.
To make your life easier, we set up a route for you to navigate between the two stores via google maps plus an embedded map below:
2) Cape Town fashion shopping in Woodstock
Woodstock could probably be described as the Brooklyn of Cape Town. It is the outskirts of town and more and more designers and production companies find their ways into this district. They establish beautiful office spaces and shops while at the same time the area can also still be run down and a bit dodgy, especially at night.
One of the famous areas in Woodstock is The Old Biscuit Mill and its Saturday neighborgoods market where Cape Town meets for culinary delights and fine local designs. Besides plenty of food stalls, young talented local designers from Cape Town showcase and sell their work. In addition, the infamous test kitchen is situated in the Old Biscuit Mill and the Pot Luck Club restaurant.
Another area that was established more recently in Woodstock is The Woodstock Foundry. Here you will find eateries, studios, and a coffee roastery. One of our favorite jewelry designers in the world has his studio here: York van Rheede van Oudtshoorn – owner, designer, and manufacturer of outstanding jewelry is situated in The Woodstock Foundry with his Label VRVO. Make sure if you are in Cape Town to visit and check out his products. Besides his studio, he also has a stall at the Old Biscuit Mill neighborgoods market on Saturdays and a shop across the road from the old Biscuit Mill. To get more information and directions, check out our VRVO store listing.
Another cool brand we discovered at the neighborgoods market on a saturday is ROWDY Bags. Their factory is also based in Woodstock, not far from the Old Biscuit Mill. If you are into motorbikes, don’t miss out on visiting Woodstock Moto Co., formerly known as the Woodstock Man Cave.
Here is another link for easy navigation between the mentioned places.
3) Cape Town fashion shopping for festivals
Around Cape Town, you will find many festivals to join in. Small and rather intimate ones like the Wolfkopp Weekender or bigger and more famous ones such as Africa Burn, Rocking the Daisies, We Love Summer and Sexy Groovy Love amaze lots of people from all over the world. But where to buy amazing festival outfits and outstanding accessories for your perfect festival look? Alchymia in Sea Point is the answer. This extravagant shop has something for everybody- beautiful feminine dresses for festival queens, feather crowns and lots of outstanding and glamorous jewelry.
They also do custom designs on request, also for men. So make sure to go there some time in advance before a festival and get something unique manufactured to stand out from the crowd.
If you want some less exclusive festival or carnival outfit options or if you are simply looking for options to fine-tune your outfit with a smaller budget, you can also check Rockarolla The Party Shop which is almost next door to Alchymia.
4) Cape Town Fashion Shopping in an Outlet outside of town
If you’re on the hunt for bargains, visit the Access Park in Kenilworth. It‘s just a 20-minute drive from Cape Town. You can find some good deals for products from brands such as Converse, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Vans or Quicksilver out there but also smaller brands with beautiful clothing for the ladies. Don’t expect too much, but if you need some new Supergas, sneakers or for shopping any type of sportswear it’s worth a visit.
Timewise you might need at least 3 hours including the drive forth and back.
5) Cape Town Fashion Shopping at The Bay Harbour Market
We highly recommend a scenic sunset motorbike ride on a Friday evening from Cape Town to Hout Bay. Stop for drinks at the famous 12 Apostels Hotel & Spa. Make a reservation beforehand to ensure that you get one of the desired tables facing the ocean and – well, direction sunset, of course.
Afterward, there is still plenty of time to get to Hout Bay and visit The Bay Harbour market, since it’s open until 9 pm on Fridays. You will find a huge selection of food stalls and usually, there is live music. The concept of the market is similar to the Market in the Old Biscuit Mill: besides food, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping for clothes and other goods. You will find well-selected linen clothing, accessories, jewelry, interior stuff, and souvenirs.
6) Cape Town Fashion Shopping at the Oranjezicht City Farmers Market
The best thing to do on a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning is to go to the Oranjezicht City Farmers Market, grab delicious food and drinks and start your day right. You can choose between super healthy vegan food or the savory beef burger option- there are plenty of options for every type of diet.
Afterward, you can buy some super fresh local products such as cheese, sausages, natural cosmetic products or clothing and jewelry. You will find the most amazing colorful shirts with any kind of patterns from tropical to flowery from The Proper Store CT (and have a nice chat with the owner Paul and his kind wife). Paul is also the founder of the South African Brand Blue Collar White Collar with a Store on Kloof Street and if you visit the House of Machines (mentioned above) you might have bumped into Paul already over a beer. Besides that, many other vendors are offering unique and outstanding vintage apparel as well as sustainable local fashion.
Tipp: Come early since this market became quite popular and gets crowded at around 10:30.
7) Cape Town fashion shopping outside of town
South Africa has way more to offer than just Cape Town. Over the past seven years we have travelled the country in all directions and here are a few more recommendations of places we enjoyed visiting very much.
Make sure you visit some places nearby Cape Town, such as Kalk Bay. It’s a 30 minutes drive from Cape Town and located close to Muizenberg, which is one of the famous surfer’s spots. This tiny village has some nice shops along the main road, where you can buy home decor, Morrocan inspired clothing and jewelry, art and a big variety of genuine leather goods.
Tipp: Have a break for lunch or a coffee at Salt.
Timberlake Organic Village
If you wanna get away hit the Garden Route for a couple of days. Make sure you stop by at Timberlake Organic Village. It’s a village with lots of local shops, restaurants and an art gallery that all work sustainably. Besides slow food, you will find jewelry, homeware, apparel and leather goods such as shoes and bags from NAVA apparel.
NAVA is a South African brand that was originally established in Cape Town. Since the owner Alwyn du Preez wanted to slow down his life, he and NAVA moved to The Timberlake Village.
The Timberlake Organic Village is located close to Victoria Bay (halfway between Wilderness and Sedgefield) and opens all year round, 7 days a week.
When you drive further along the Garden Route, stop by in Plettenberg Bay. It’s not only a cool surfer’s destination with a very laid back vibe, but also a great opportunity to get away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle in Cape Town without cutting off all the amenities such as cool coffee places and nice restaurants. In Plet (as locals call Plettenberg Bay) you can find rare home decor for decent prices in the Lookout Centre, great jewelry design and of course beach clothing. Enjoy your time in Plet and have dinner in one of the nice restaurants (we highly recommend the Teriyaki Bowl at the Golden Palm).
Tipp: Have a stroll through the Harkerville Saturday Market. It’s a market for second-hand clothing, local products, and art. Definitely, have some sandwiches and fine pastries at the Île de Païn stall- they are damn good! The market is open from 8 until 12 and located midway between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna.
8) Cape Motorcycle Tour
This ain’t got anything to do with shopping. But if you are a rider, we highly recommend doing a motorcycle tour. Cape Town and its surrounding areas offer a lot of beautiful landscapes. Do a day trip on a motorbike around the Cape. Start in Camps Bay and head direction Hout Bay. From there hit Chapmans Peak drive. Drive from the west coast to the east coast after and say hello to the penguins at Boulders Beach. Afterward, drive all the way down to Cape Point. Find your way back from there along the west coast, back to Cape Town. Make sure you stop at Misty Cliffs.
Where to get a bike rented or even a whole trip organized? Contact Jason Dadd, who runs Cape Corporate Tours. You can either go for Self-ride Harley Rentals or Chauffeured Harley Trips. Jason is a really nice chap, got cool bikes and good vibes only.
Click here to get route directions on google maps for your day roundtrip.
End of Story
Cape Town has a special place in our hearts and we hope you gonna like the recommendations we put together.
The stores Blackwood Brothers, Zeitgeist and VRVO are permanently listed on RAW Looks in our store section. Check out the listings for more information, more impressions and external links.