African apparel: Clothing stores in Gauteng that have woven Africanness into their identity

On 25 May, the world celebrated Africa day and commemorated the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which is today known as the African Union. It is the day dedicated to showing our appreciation for the Motherland, but for a number of clothing companies in Gauteng that celebration of our wonderful continent isn’t limited to one day in the year. For these businesses, the beauty of Africa forms part of their business model.

Below we celebrate some of the stores in the province that contribute to the promotion of Africa’s unique brand through their contemporary interpretation of what it means to be African.

The Box Shop, Soweto

The Box Shop is a business incubator promoting up-and-coming Soweto-based clothing and design brands. It is located at the top of Soweto’s famous Vilakazi Street. The distinctive two-storey contemporary building was built entirely from shipping containers and is a space where local entrepreneurs can grow and develop their brands.

Zulu African Design Emporium, Kempton Park

Zulu African Design Emporium is a clothing and accessory shop that draws design inspiration from various parts of the continent. The store is based at OR Tambo International Airport and has been collaborating with developing, as well as established designers to create high-end African fashion that has been dazzling visitors from all over since 2015.

Bathu, Johannesburg

Bathu founder, Theo Baloyi has left a footprint in African fashion with a shoe brand that has become very popular among both children and adults. The  growing demand for Bathu comes from the shoes’ versatile appeal that allows it to complement any outfit – from formal wear to African attire. Since opening the first store in Newtown, Johannesburg, back in 2018, the brand’s success has expanded operations and trading to its additional stores in Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Thohoyandou.

P&H boutique, Menlyn

If you’re looking for a couture bag that is proudly African, pop in at the P&H boutique in Menlyn, Pretoria, and find an Afrocentric carrier that will give you a look that’s hotter than the savannah. Some of their most popular designs include Basotho-inspired statement jackets, African map hoodies, African-print dresses and colourful shoulder beads.

Chepa Streetwear, Midrand

Your winter collection is incomplete until you add some Chepa Streetwear apparel that is based on the ethos of Afrocentricity. They have collections for both men and women that seamlessly combine traditional patterns with urban design. The shop delivers during lockdown if you can’t make it to their physical store in Midrand.


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