Alternative shopping: Don't settle for old spice

07 December 2016 - 10:42 By Seth Shezi

To avoid the crazy Christmas shopping crowds, here are some ideas for alternative, fun places to find the perfect gift for the lovers of local in your life.

JOHANNESBURG

Maboneng is fast becoming Johannesburg's party central, but it's also a great place to buy original gifts. I Was Shot in Joburg - at Arts on Main - sells canvasses, notebooks, postcards and fridge magnets printed with photos taken by streetchildren using disposable cameras.

VintiQueen sells all things vintage - clothes, accessories and handbags collected from all over the world, and for the woman who has everything Hey Gorgeous Skincare makes bath and body products that are 100% organic.

Cycling is huge in Johannesburg - The Whippet Cycling Co specialises in custom-built, steel- frame bicycles and offers a selection of second-hand and vintage bicycle components. Fox and Kruger Streets, Maboneng.

At 44 Stanley Ave, Johannesburgers can finally get their hands on Katherine-Mary Pichulik's locally made rope jewellery inspired by African and Middle Eastern ornamentation and be the first to feast on the handmade delights of chocolate maker Vicki Bain's Chocoloza, Belgian chocolate with an African touch. Both are brand new in the centre known for its original stores. 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark.

The new and super popular Trumpet Building on Keyes Avenue, Rosebank, is a great place to find high-end local gifts for that really special person.

Missibaba's fabulously festive leather bags, belts and jackets are a sure hit for lovers of quality leather. Shelflife stocks extraordinary sneakers and specialises in limited edition, rare and exclusive collectable shoes by a range of cult brands.

Also on the cards is the gift shop pop-upGratitude - with local gifts curated across two tables; artisanal cheeses, olives, preserves and charcuterie on one, and hand-dyed linen tablecloths and napkins and ceramics on the other. 6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank.

A collection of shipping containers make up the unusual shopping centre27 Boxes. Here you'll find a plethora of well-priced local gifts.

At the flagship store of Krag Drag/ The Strong One you'll find original, local is lekker-inspired clothing featuring typical South African icons.

Hardcopy Books sells secondhand books and vinyls, and Wood You Believe It makes side tables, crates, book shelves and customised furniture especially for kids. There's plenty more. - Andrea Nagel

DURBAN

They say you can't buy love. Khulu Soap's makers say you can. Their range of handmade soaps promise to not only cleanse your skin, but to also polish your aura.

The Isimonyo Sebhungu soap helps cast a manly glamour, while the luck-flavoured Inhloli bar brightens the new year.

The Warehouse, 6 Station Drive, a recent addition to the hip Station Drive Precinct near Umngeni Road, is where to find old-fashioned cravats, or tiny 1960s toy trucks for collectors at The Vintager, Afro kitsch goodies such as the Shine Shine tray, or Khulu soaps at Krag Drag and Nana Mhlongo's range of children's clothes at Ntozakhe Designs.

Bag some nibbles at Artisan Cheese Co for your festive cheese board and slake your thirst with Ralph Bronzin's energising concoctions at The Cold Press Juice Co.

Across the street is the cabinet of curiosities Con Amore Home Store and the new home of Shoppe, stockist of art and designs from creatives across the country.

Down the same road are leather workers, beaded jewellery makers and décor brands. Ndumi Matiwane's Mind Over Matter store, specialising in vintage denim, is there.

Andrew Early Design Studio houses art and wood-turned pieces. The owner salvages blackwood from the Midlands to transform into furniture pieces or decorative bowls.

8 Morrison Street is the place for urban youth fashions.

Churchill House on 93 Churchill Road is the home of two vintage stores - Vintage Quirkiness and Cadman & Bailey - there you'll find everything from suitcases and stoles to men's collar clips.

For original artworks and crafts there's the annual KZNSA Buzzart 2016 at the KZNSA gallery, 166 Bulwer Road until January 15.

Khaya Records on 63 Lilian Ngoyi Road houses rare vinyl records for music lovers.

Ike's Books and Collectables on 48a Florida Road is its bookish equivalent, or try The Reader's Corner at 43 Steel Road. - Siphiliselwe Makhanya

CAPE TOWN

Situated in teeming Bree Street, Espadril's minimalist nook is where you can get a custom-made pair of Spain's national treasure, the sexy espadrille. www.espadril.co.za

On a visit to the Pot Luck Club I discovered the summer's most riveting pop-up shop. Cape Town designer Sandalene Dale-Roberts has curated a shop at her husband Luke's restaurant Naturalis, situated at The Old Biscuit Mill.

Look out for Sandalene's bucket chairs, striking sun loungers and many items appearing in both The Test Kitchen and The Shortmarket Club. The shelves are stocked with Japanese homeware by Setamono Tableware, local ceramics by John Bauer Ceramics and a selection of KitchenAid appliances in rare colour palettes. Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock, Cape Town.

Whoever thought the salon era of shopping was over has clearly not been to Maison Mara. Tucked neatly off a cobbled road, Maison Mara is a concept boutique store housed in a Cape Town heritage building dating back to the 1800s. You can shop the finest French fashion from Prada, Proenza Schouler and Lanvin all while sipping bubbles. In lieu of champagne I commend the fact that they use local bubbly, often Silverthorn or Krone. www.maisonmara.co.za

The moment everyone's been waiting for, with much glee, the striking Opulent Living Store & Gallery boutique to open its doors and if the waxing lyrical praise from the well-heeled is anything to go by, this Sarah Ord-designed, photogenic space is one destination not to miss on your next Kloof Street amble.

In true boutique style, the selection is myriad finely picked items sure to lure the most discerning of shoppers.

The Opulent Living Space is filled with handcrafted jewellery from ANPA, designs created from the original fence on Robben Island by the Legacy Collection, exotic leather bags from Mvari, Taunina bears, all handmade and embroidered by local women, as well as the colourful range of luxe Italian bags by Save My Bag.

Apart from the fashion there are plenty design covets, and art by prominent South African artists such as Jean Doyle, Marieke Prinsloo and Michaela Rinaldi will all be up for grabs.

www.opulentliving.co.za -Seth Shezi

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