Now Show­ing: The Fu­ture

SLOW Magazine - - Edition 43 - Text: Christo Va­len­tyn Im­ages © Si­mon Deiner | Roger Jar­dine | Leigh Schu­bert | Tony Christie

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.

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