Now Showing: The Future
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying that change is the only constant, and indeed, it’s a saying that has remained true since his passing in 475 BC. It’s also surprisingly applicable to the world of fashion, for obvious reasons. “Fashion” changes every three or four months, our choice of garments influenced not only by the weather we’re faced with each season, but also by the trends and musings of those in the know.
But it’s also applicable for the less obvious reasons, such as the changing face of fashion retail. In the age of online shopping and the era of the savvy consumer, the days of going to specific malls to purchase garments from specific stores are gone – whatever we want is only a click or three away. It’s a growing trend that is heavily impacting larger retailers, and forcing smaller retailers to rethink their strategy and approach.
One such retailer is The Space, founded as a stand-alone store in Durban in 2000 with a simple quest: To partner with and showcase the work of like-minded, established designers, and to give a highvisibility platform to promising young designers – a chance to break into the business and not only make a living out of their passion, but to thrive. The concept was unique and perfectly timed, and it wasn’t long before consumers (and some stylish celebrities) added their support – and money – to the mix. Today, The Space
has 10 stores across the country, as well as three Space Man stores, and continues to open up floor space for local designers whose work belongs on the main stage.
But the team behind The Space also knows that retail is changing, and that one cannot tie one’s livelihood – and one’s vision – only to traditional, mallbased retailing anymore. Which is where the team’s latest project, Now Showing, steps into the limelight. It’s the group’s first out-of-mall store, and a destination in its own right. Based at 109 Waterkant Street in Cape Town, Now Showing is an ever-transforming shopping space that is reinvented every six to eight weeks around a fresh new concept. It offers shopping, after-hours events, and takeovers by leading design names, with a fantastic mix of carefully curated products combining in an experience that speaks to all the senses. The minimalist ground floor provides a blank canvas of mirrors, concrete, and whitewashed walls to allow premier collections of garments and accessories by esteemed local designers, while linen curtains conceal well-appointed dressing rooms.
One example is Amanda Laird Cherry, one of a small handful of South African designers who has historically fused the development of her clothes with that of the country. Her collections over the past three decades have presented a different kind of reconciliation process, one which unites our intersecting histories into a collective presence. She is no stranger to the South African fashion scene and fashion week runways, and a longstanding supporter of The Space.
For Now Showing, she has prepared a uniquely curated capsule collection comprising essential pieces that can be styled for any occasion or mood. “We have used natural fabrics like linens, cottons, and a range of genuine South African shweshwe, in a sophisticated colour palette of black, navy, white, olive, and stone, punctuated with shades of blue,” she explains.
Also no stranger to The Space is Colleen Eitzen, who will be presenting a collection of garments from her more upscale, premium range at Now Showing. Known for her passion for the South African culture, her work embraces the spirit of her heritage, creating an authentic design handwriting that pays tribute to the rich cultural diversity of our country. The more upmarket range now also available at Now Showing has been in her two stand-alone stores in Durban and Johannesburg since 2013.
“I like to think of the look that I am going for as having a relaxed glam feel to it,” Eitzen explains. “I like to use luxurious silks and embellished fabrics for this collection as I cater for clients who are looking for something with an extra-special feel and a little more attention to detail. Cape Town
is the obvious next choice for me, as I now have representation in all three major centres in South Africa. I am very excited to be a part of this project.”
Also making an appearance at Now Showing is Leigh Schubert, whose signature style is a juxtaposition of elements. “I create feminine clothes that are never ‘pretty’, and this is what my collection at Now Showing will be,” she explains. “Strong monochromatic colours and prints on soft fabric and silhouettes. Accessible, wearable pieces that will last in your wardrobe for many years, and always make a statement when worn. Alongside we will deliver crease-free separates, dresses in an oversized abstract tropical print and solid bold colours, with tailored ruffles and sophisticated lines. Offering a unique, fuss-free, travel-ready wardrobe that will make you shine.” On the upper level of Now Showing, a curated collaborative concept awaits shoppers. The concept launched at the end of August under the theme “The Dark Side”, which saw the upstairs area transformed into a space where all things bold, eerie, and enigmatic assembled. It was a magnificently atmospheric space offering visitors the opportunity to take home everything they delighted in, whether it was the charcoal water, inky black pasta, decadent dark chocolate, or the luxurious lotions and beauty potions. A glass cabinet which was home to a taxidermy owl, also housed opulent jewellery pieces and seductive adult items.
From November until the end of January next year, the theme is “The Light Side”, and visitors are bound to experience an equally delectable selection of items combined in an utterly seductive manner. Here, whimsy and quirk mingle in an inviting space reminiscent of a living room, where shoppers can take their time delighting in the carefully selected range of homeware gems and foodie finds, nostalgic toys and board games, and indulgent skincare products, many of which are bespoke and limited edition. Humour and fun are the key words and shoppers visiting “The Light Side” will find gifts galore.
“Being innovative and experiential is the only way to survive in an ever-evolving world,” says Neil Roake, co-founder of The Space and Now Showing. “By constantly changing the theme and concept, and enhancing the experience with different curated content, we have aimed to turn shopping into a sensory experience.”
For more info, visit www.thespace.co.za.