The menswear landscape is more exciting than it’s ever been, and it’s time to take advantage. Some of the best menswear stores are hidden gems while others have reached iconic status. Whatever the recognition, our Grand Tour of the Mother City’s best has something for fashion novices to the sartorial masters who practice dressing up like an art.
Words: Tshiamo Seape
Bastille – 30 De Waterkant
After opening for business in June 2016 this spacious and inviting store, located on 30 DeWaterkant is the home of French styling within the Cape Town CBD. Bastille boasts prominent and lesser-known French brands that may differ in popularity but are equals in quality and effortless cool. If you’re discerning enough to step into Bastille you’ll probably recognise brands like Maison Kitsune, Veja, and Armor Lux, but step into the expert tailoring of Commune de Paris or some versatile pieces from Bleu de Paname, to really get the feel of what Bastille has to offer. A curated experience from start to finish, the made to measure display units, vintage furniture and spacious, light-filled interior make every visit to Bastille a pleasure.
Loading Bay – 30 Hudson St, De Waterkant
The bastion of Scandinavian minimalism is Loading Bay; the brands on the rails prioritising luxury basics, exceptional quality and fit. While the higher prices are noticeable and justifying them is an issue in itself, the quality of the garms goes down as some of the best. There are white tees and there are the unreal fits housed in this small speciality store that’ll make you wonder how you ever settled for anything less.
The most well-known brands stocked at Loading Bay include Norse Projects, Acne Studios, Our Legacy and others; the golden thread linking these brands is the Scandinavian minimalism that defines fashion aesthetics in the far north.
When you step in Loading Bay, a full-service menswear experience is what you can expect. Like the Swiss army knife of retail spaces, LB has it all: a restaurant, the clothing store and it stocks an extensive range of Aesop skincare products – the brand famed for their use of all natural ingredients and design. The entire ethos of the store is based on good ethics and this comes through in everything they do – from sourcing their food from sustainable farmers to handpicking designers who prioritise craft over trends. You could easily spend a few hours whetting your appetite and upgrading your wardrobe, so if you’re in Cape Town treat yourself to this world-class retail experience.
A-Store – 34 Kloof Street, Gardens
If the brands carried by the previously mentioned establishments seem too foreign to you, then A Store is the perfect remedy. Familiar favourites like Nike, Adidas and a number of local brands can be found on the Kloof street gem. The mix of local and international brands and focus on streetwear makes this a great location for fashion conscious customers. The store also holds a number of niche publications from books to glossy mags that will keep you pleasantly distracted while you split your time between the collection of limited release sneakers and apparel.
O.S.C.S – 7 Orphan Street
The new kid on the block, Orphan Street Clothing Shop is the home to the husband and wife team behind the Sol – Sol and Maylee brands respectively. Where the dudes are concerned, Sol-Sol needs no introduction. The past few years have seen Sol-Sol has cement itself as one of the nation’s best streetwear labels. With features in Highsnobiety and Hypebeast, the brand has made its way onto the radar of some of the world’s most discerning fashion watchers. The space is a beautifully designed ode to modern retail sensibilities – polished marble, exposed concrete and only two clothing rails create a shopping experience in defiance of the fast fashion clutter that we’ve become so used to. If your a fan of the brand (let’s face it – who isn’t) then there is no place you’d rather spend an afternoon than at Orphan Street perusing some high-quality gear.
Shelflife – 167 Longmarket
A mecca for street artists and sneakerheads across the county, Shelflife has reached iconic status. Every outfit starts from the feet, so creating a space that perfectly caters to the starting point of any successful flex is no easy task. However, through exclusive drops, sourcing ultra rare kicks, and collaborating with top-tier brands, Shelflife has become a brand in its own right and the first port of call for any sneakerhead worth their salt. Streetwear is big business and the industry shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever repping limited edition Air Maxes from the swoosh, or Yeezys guaranteed to put you at the top of the hype conversation, Shelflife is definitely worth a visit. The store, having been founded on graffiti and street art, is heavily involved in promoting the culture. Street art is as important as streetwear to the ethos of Shelflife and it comes through in all of their endeavours.