There's no denying the fact that shopping at international retail fast fashion chain stores is easier, affordable for the South African shopper, and even slightly more convenient. You can always find those platform shoes you spotted on your favourite Instagram mutual, mass produced in a store at a mall near you (if that's what you're into). Ultimately, fast fashion is generally easier on the wallet than exclusive boutique items. 

The other side of the coin is shopping thrift to avoid being a part of the mannequin phenomenon as well as a means of adopting slow fashion for the sake of the environment. Alternatively, you splurge on luxury threads and beauty spreads. And I believe those luxury purchases are usually of French or Italian origin - or should I say more commonly so. I'll admit, I too, am drawn to the likes of Estée Lauder, Nuxe, Berdoues, Diego dalla Palma, and even La Mer (on very, very rare occasions).

READ MORE: Cultivating beauty: You can't travel, but you can take a trip to Chanel's gardens with us

And oh, how we all look forward to our monthly Zara visits - the Spanish really made sure our wardrobes got a fix they'll never forget when they opened this mega retailer some 40 years ago. 

But what if I told you that slowly transitioning to local buys is where the magic is at? I say "slowly transition" because much like any other 'non-essential' habit, no one can expect you to go cold turkey overnight - I mean, we all witnessed the collective meltdown over smokes and spirits within the first 21 days of lockdown. 

Anyway, one of the benefits of shopping locally produced fashion as well as beauty products is that they are often made through more ethical and organic processes than what we consume from the mass market of fast fashion. 

Secondly, the fact that local designers and retailers only make limited numbers of each item, heightens your probability of standing out and having a one-in-a-dozen statement piece. 

READ MORE: 21 AFI designers unite in face mask relief program for South Africans in need

And if we can take pride in seeing high profile celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé and Florence Kasumba donning Mzansi ready-to-wear pieces, surely it can spark something in us to aspire to invest in (or save towards) the likes of Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Maki Oh, Kenneth Ize, Thebe Magugu, Sindiso Khumalo, and other African designers within the same stable, the same way we put Cult Gaia, Jacquemus, Maison Margiella and Molly Goddard on our wishlists. 

Also, it's worth mentioning that a character on the HBO hit series by Issa Rae, Insecure, was spotted wearing a Mantsho x H&M piece in a recent episode, and in next weeks's episode the show's protagonist (Issa) will be ssen wearing a red Thebe Magugu blazer, whose label she's worn before IRL. 

But international 'hall of fame' aside; we're at the tail-end of Africa Month, and I'm hoping that when the world finally figures out a way of life beyond Covid-19, we will start to take an active interest in our local offerings whether you're a fashion enthusiast, a skincare aficionado, a home & lifestyle tastemaker or a keen traveler. Alternatively, you can take a peek at some of the MRP Project collections every now and then - fresh collaborations between young local designers and the retail giant. 

And to paraphrase what is highlighted in the video below, "when you shop local, you show an appreciation of what African creatives have to offer, thereby boosting their morale to innovate further and believe in their brand."

In 2018, Joburg-based fashion journalist Tshego 'Red' Mosiane told W24 that shopping local has a two-pronged benefit outcome, as both the brands and the consumers benefit. 

In terms of our benefit as South Africans, Red says that "if we think on a grand level, it's about stimulating our economy and building our own supply chain in terms of fashion retail." 

"It also ensures that people keep their jobs and there's growth overall," she shares.

Ultimately, beyond creating an opportunity for the longevity of a brand, appreciating our own first, puts us on par with our global counterparts. Resources may not always be readily available and accessible in the cradle, but the craftsmanship this continent has to offer is certainly not inferior to that found in Europe and the U.S. 

Alright, class is over - time to window shop... or at least e-shop ready-to-wear fashion brands, skincare and a little bit of homeware for now: 

Any day

MRP Project 

Statement Fit And Flare Dress, R179.99  

local brands to shop


Love Jozi 

And the good news is that you can purchase a fabric mask here. 

Tapenade and Friends

(Beware: you may never want to leave again once you enter this store) 


Dr Pachanga 


Jimno Jean

Suki Suki Naturals  

READ MORE: How the founder of a local natural beauty brand created the solution to South African women's hair and skin needs



Margot Molyneux

Hannah Lavery SA


View this post on Instagram

Vessel in yellow + grey ??

A post shared by PICHULIK (@pichulikafrica) on

NALA Cape Town

Madame Luna Candles 


Unisex fragrances for every kind of personality and nose. 

Skin Creamery   

Super Ella

The Bam collective

For more locally produced fabric masks. 

Crystal Birch 

You can also order protective visors from this local milliner. 

Forever a good day

For investment purchases:



Kirsten Goss  

Slowdown Studio

Available at Hers His & Home 

The Ninevites rugs 

Rich Mnisi 

Thebe Magugu 

View this post on Instagram

“Anthro 1” - AW20 Showroom Fittings Paris

A post shared by Thebe Magugu (@thebemagugu) on

READ MORE: Is Africa ready to be a luxury fashion hub?

Lukhanyo Mdingi 


Sindiso Khumalo 


What local brands are on your must-have list that you would highly recommend? Tell us here.

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