Over the past few years, we’ve seen a major shift in the fashion world. Before, little thought was given to where our clothes were coming from and the harms associated with supporting mass-market retailers were hidden from the public eye, but, with the growing support of the green and sustainable movement, more and more people are taking a closer look at the labels on their threads. As a market that always puts the focus first on local South African talents, Bay Harbour Market put the question to some of their trendiest vendors: “Why should we look local for our fashions?”
When it comes to buying from mass-market retailers, you are putting money into the pockets of foreign economies instead of where it should be going… our own. “When you shop local, you support your fellow South Africans,” it’s as simple as that says NAVA Apparel founder Alwyn du Preez. Allan Maritz, co-owner of Swing Cape Town with Nikki Swing feels the same. “You are contributing towards local employment opportunities, the economy and productivity and creativity here in South Africa.” Community conscious brand collective Africa Made Only adds that, like their counterparts, they pride themselves on making sure there is a win for everyone involved. “It feels good because we are keeping our economy moving forward despite the current COVID-19 setback,” says owner Ryan Amory.
First and foremost, whenever you shop local, whether that’s for clothing, crafts or even food, you are creating jobs. “At NAVA, we provide jobs by setting up workshops with local, skilled workers who work for themselves within the business,” says Alwyn. Thereby not just creating employees but entrepreneurs. Through their brand Swing, Allan and Nikki are also able to employ members of the local communities including Khayelitsha, Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu where unemployment rates were high before COVID-19 and have only increased since. And of course, Africa Made Only prioritises nurturing young South African talent, essentially becoming a steppingstone for them to reach even greater heights.
Job creation and boosting the local economy are just some of the pros of buying local, there are plenty more that many don’t realise. “It’s a great feeling to see a small business grow, knowing that you were part of that growth through your support,” says Ryan. Alwyn agrees, “You know exactly where your money is going – when you buy a pair of Warrior Boots from us, you are also helping seven families financially.” Allan and Nikki add that there is also a level of personal customer care you receive with supporting local businesses that you aren’t able to get with larger chain stores.
However, the number one reason that many fashion-forward shoppers look local for their clothes is for that one-of-a-kind factor. “At NAVA, I always try to create and design something different from the norm, aspiring to create unique and individual products that will allow our customers to dress and style themselves as we’re all uniquely beautiful in our own way,” says Alwyn. Mass-market retailers buy mass volumes and therefore have a generic look, adds Allan, “Customers look for innovation, which you can’t get with mass-market retailers, but smaller brands, like Swing, offer diversity and exclusivity to customers.”
Small businesses aren’t able to compete with the volumes of cheap products that enter the country daily. “It creates a false perception of the skill and work that goes into creating unique designs,” explains Ryan. “It diminishes the value of our local textile industry and its talent.”
It’s as clear as the sky is blue, the future of fashion is local. “We’re seeing a definite shift to a higher-level consciousness around locally sourced products,” says Ryan. Allan and Nikki add that customers want a more individualised style and shopping experience, so we’ll see more consumers moving away from mass-market retailers. Alwyn agrees, “People are looking more inwards than outwards; they’re aspiring towards a better future – towards functionality, sustainability, and slow fashion that is ethically and locally made.”
And with so many options available to us, there is no reason not to shop locally now. Get started with these fantastic vendors at Bay Harbour Market:
Quality leather products handcrafted in Cape Town, each customised to suit your taste.
Swing Cape Town
A Cape Town-based lifestyle brand incorporating ladies’ and men’s clothing and homeware made from beautiful, natural fabrics.
Africa Made Only
Creating authentic, ready-to-wear and bespoke pieces of clothing made by local talent using ethically sourced limited-edition fabric.
A proudly local apparel and accessory brand that promotes the South African lifestyle.
Moon & Son Clothing & Stretch Tents
Hand-crafted eclectic streetwear, dance-wear and party-wear made with love and your interests at heart.
Women’s fashion brand, Lumi Bespoke’s garments are designed and made in Cape Town.
Why Are We Here
WAWH represents the love of nature and the ocean and the constant desire to travel, explore and discover.
Visit local fashion vendors plus more artisans at Bay Harbour Market on Fridays from 5pm to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am to 4pm.
For more information about the traders and what they have to offer, please do visit Bay Harbour Market on https://bayharbour.co.za/ and follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bayharbour , Twitter https://twitter.com/bayharbourmkt and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bayharbourmarket/.