With the biggest malls, the most exclusive boutiques, dozens of international design flagship stores and of course plenty of diamonds and gold, Joburg is one of the leading shopping destinations on the African continent. In particular South Africa excels in handmade luxury items such as leatherware, jewellery and fabrics.
Here's our guide to the finest handcrafted local luxury items to add to your shopping wishlist.
ACCESSORIESHandbags by Via La Moda
For luxury addicts, exclusive leather accessories label Via La Moda’s showroom is a must-stop on any Joburg itinerary offering up an enormous array of finely crafted handbags and other leather accessories in a glorious arrangement of vibrant colours, shapes and textures, many of them collectors items. From handbags to purses, and leather belts, each item is made with care and precision from the most exclusive leathers, and stitched in the pristine workshop overseen by Austrian-born designer Hanspeter Winklmayr whose family have been in the leather business for generations.
19 Banfield Rd, Roodepoort, tel. +27 11 477 8008, vialamoda.com
Scarves by L'Mad
L'Mad creates beautiful wearable contemporary artworks with their exclusive silk scarves for him and her printed with works by South African artists and designers. Director Lucy MacGarry curates an evolving collection of limited edition scarves in silk chiffon, cashmere or twill that can be found at the Guillotine boutique in 44 Stanley and the Avoova African Originals gift shop and in the Four Seasons The Westcliff Hotel.
Four Seasons The Westcliff Hotel, 67 Jan Smuts Ave, Westcliff, tel. +27 11 481 6220 / 44 Stanley Ave, Milpark, tel. +27 79 739 9265, lmadcollection.com
Luggage by Melvill and Moon
The Melvill family are besotted with all things safari, especially vintage collectibles, and specialise in fine hand-crafted accessories and luggage in leather and safari canvas. At their showroom in the Kramerville design district, there are so many items to choose from but no self-respecting explorer should leave home without the Serengeti Sundowner, a leather tote with six wine glasses safely stored to prevent breakages (R2 700) or a leather bird book cover with removable shoulder strap for your Roberts or Newmans bird guides.
4 Desmond St, Kramerville, melvillandmoon.com
CLOTHINGCustommade shirts from Five8ths
Elizabeth Kading's Five8ths tailoring studio in 44 Stanley specialises in custom-made shirts that are made to last. You get to choose your fabric, mainly cottons and linens from Italy, Japan, and South Africa. Fittings will follow and soon you’ll have a form-fitting shirt made for your body and style.There is a small selection of high-quality shirts you can buy straight from the rail and handmade accessories such as ties, bowties and pocket squares made from the high-quality fabrics.
44 Stanley Ave, Milpark, tel. +27 79 739 9265, five8ths.com
Knitwear by Maxhosa by Laduma
From being featured in Italian Vogue and mentioned on Beyonce's blog to being sold at the exclusive Le BHV/Marais department store in Paris, this South African designed knitwear brand is making waves globally. Founded in 2010 by Laduma Ngxokolo, the range is inspired by manhood rituals of the South African Xhosa people, and Ngxokolo uses patterns, beadwork and symbolism from this rich culture in his modern contemporary clothing designs for him and her. You can find Maxhosa by Laduma's flagship store at the Work Shop New Town shopping emporium..
Work Shop New Town, Cnr Miriam Makeba and Gwigwi Mrwebi Sts, Newtown, tel. +27 11 492 1532, maxhosa.co.za
High fashion from Leopard Frock
One of South Africa's most original and enduring fashion designers, Marianne Fassler's design style is bold, eclectic and electric, using vibrant colours and African-inspired motifs. Many have likened her design process to something closer to the process of creating artworks than fashion design and Leopard Frock, her studio and showroom in suburban Saxonwold, is an immersive dress-up space filled with rich colour and detail.
34 Engelwold Dr, Saxonwold, tel. +27 11 646 8387, leopardfrock.co.za
Bespoke jewellery at Sirkel
At Sirkel Jewellery goldsmith Jan Bekker crafts jewellery pieces in both unique contemporary and traditional designs and also offers bespoke design services. Specialising in unique contemporary and traditional jewellery as well as offering bespoke jewellery design services in white, yellow, rose gold, platinum and sterling silver. You can find Bekker's showroom and work shop at 44 Stanley.
44 Stanley Ave, Milpark, tel. +27 11 726 2365, sirkeljewellery.co.za
Tanzanite from Bryllianta
This appointment-only destination for your diamond and tanzanite education is a perfect place to start your journey to purchasing one of these flawless beauties. Bryllianta is a plush, private and secure jewel boutique offering personalised service and drop-dead gorgeous views of Sandton while you shop. Owner Bryna's many years of experience will ensure that you can tell the difference between your carats and your carrots, and understand the quality and value of stones before you make your purchase.
16th Floor, Office 06, The Forum of Sandton Square (2 Maude St), Sandton Central, tel. +27 11 784 7867 or +27 82 441 2121, bryllianta.co.za
Beaded necklaces by Marigold Beads
Marigold’s hand-loomed beaded necklaces are the result of an extraordinary collaboration between Joburg-based artist and sculptor Joni Brenner and women’s cooperative Marigold, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Each necklace is a marvel of colour, geometry and masterful even tension, the symmetry of uniformly shaped seed beads (sourced from Czech Republic and Japan) as satisfying to the touch of the wearer as it is to the eye of all those who end up admiring the pieces. New colour combinations and patterning are continually introduced so the pieces are collectible, and inexplicably one necklace demands a companion, and then another. You can find the Marigold Beads range at Kim Sacks Gallery in Parkwood.
Kim Sacks Gallery, 153 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood, +27 11 447 5804, marigoldbeads.com
GIFTS AND HOMEWARE
Fabrics from Ardmore Design
Ardmore Design is a luxury African brand that translates the intricately patterned, brightly coloured and whimsical art of hand-painting found on the highly collectable Ardmore Ceramics range items into design and decor items that include tablecloths, wall-hangings, cushions covers, place mats, handbags, stationery and even furniture.
Hyde Square, cnr Jan Smuts Ave and North Rd, Hyde Park, tel. +27 11 268 5865, ardmore-design.com
Traditional crafts from Piece@Ellis House
The beautiful Piece gallery and store sells an extraordinary range of high-end contemporary items, and develops the skills of local craftspeople by providing an outlet to continue creating traditional crafts. Each item is handmade, authentic and ethically-sourced. Look out for the beadwork by master beader Beauty Maswanganyi who recently designed and created custom cufflinks for Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
23 Voorhout St, New Doornfontein, +27 11 447 5541, piece.co.za
Exclusive African teas from Yswara
Yswara creates beautifully packaged exotic blends of loose-leaf teas sourced from African tea estates in the rolling hills of Rwanda, and Malawi’s misty highlands. The flavours are handcrafted, the leaves hand-picked and sun-dried. One taste and tea will forever more be a special occasion. The names conjure images of African royalty, regal queens and powerful kings. Try the Pharaoh Tut with it’s scent of hibiscus or the King Lalibela rooibos infusion. Visit the Yswara tea room at The Cosmopolitan in Maboneng.
The Cosmopolitan, 24 Albrecht St (cnr Commissioner St), Maboneng, City Centre, yswara.com