That jacket? I’LL HAVE SOME FRIES WITH IT
FASHION HAS BECOME A MIXED BAG OF RETAIL SERVED WITH A SIDE ORDER OF FOOD, DESIGN AND MUSIC
when Karl Lagerfeld sent his models down supermarket aisles for his Chanel show in Paris earlier this year, it was a signal of a great new trend in fashion: a wave of hybrid stores successfully combining fashion and food, as well as other assorted concepts like food/art/design/hair. While it may have started in gentrified districts around New York and London, it is also happening right here in South Africa. Across the country, from Durban and Cape Town into the heart of Jozi, more and more of these combined retail spaces are popping up everywhere.
First up, I want to emphasise that food is the glue that binds. Naturally. A place I return to every time I’m in Durban is neighbourhood nook The Corner Cafe. Its menu is seasonal and the produce is mindfully sourced from local producers. ‘Locavouring’ is the only way to eat these days, you see. Judd Campbell, the owner of this retro-fitted oasis of effortless cool, explains that the flour used is ground from locally grown wheat, the ‘fresh-pressed juice comes in daily from a guy up the road… it’s a wonderful exercise in building relationships’ and so on – much more than a mere plate of food or a cup of coffee.
And it’s an opportunity to extend those relationships. Campbell shares the space with Nev the Barber. Neville (Nev) Ebelthite’s innate neighbourliness compelled him to approach Campbell with the potential for the symbiosis. ‘People would have a place to chill and I could offer clients a coffee while they [had] a cut,’ was what Ebelthite thought when conceiving the space. The barbershop is clad in black-and-yellow illustrations that mirror the informal barbers who line the taxi ranks of Durban. While they run as separate entities, The Corner Cafe and Nev the Barber seem joyfully entangled: ‘Nev doesn’t pay for coffee and he styles my hair every morning in exchange,’ says Campbell.
Moving south, you’ll find two similar offerings. The Loading Bay in Cape Town is an institution for us Green Point locals. It’s the spot to grab a life-changing gold juice (pineapple, green apple and mint) from owner Jon-Paul Bolus while trawling through e-mails. Their weekly Thursday Burger Night soirées are a force to be reckoned with as the checked-shirt set flocks in from near and far. The meat for the event is sourced consciously