Johannesburg is a shopper’s paradise; from swanky designer boutiques, nestled in high end shopping malls, flaunting international designs swathed in lace and silk to cosy flea markets touting locally made knick knacks and young designer’s wares, Johannesburg offers every possible shopper the perfect shopping experience.
Known for its shopping malls above all else, Johannesburg boasts a plethora of malls scattered in every corner of the city. One of the wealthiest cities in Africa that attracts hordes of tourists, designer labels bellow from many of the shelves. There are, however, plenty of shops for the more cautious spender – where local brands cleverly mimic the catwalk chic and bargains can easily be found. Outside of the mall culture, weekend markets are becoming increasingly popular; especially in the CBD where old, abandoned buildings are transformed into venues bursting with food stalls selling locally produced grub, local designers’ fashion and young people with shiny, white teeth listening to DJ sets and drinking Bloody Marys.
Undoubtedly the best mall in the city, Sandton City is the one-stop-shop for every shopper and every occasion, positioned in the heart of the city. International fashion for the bang-on-trend can be found in Top Shop, Zara, Mango, Country Road and Cotton On, to name a few, while local favourites Mr. Price and Jay Jay’s deliver impeccable style and tailoring for the tighter purse strings. Cafes and restaurants litter the mall for the all-important caffeine pick-me-up or snack and serve as an excellent place to plonk the boyfriend or husband for proper, guilt-free shopping.
Admittedly still a mall, Rosebank is the shopping destination for the shopper who refuses to battle their way to the till through a sea of zealous-eyed tourists. Just a 10 minute drive from Sandton and now its very own stop on the Gautrain, this mall is much more alternative and niche; full of boutiques and local fashion such as Sowerto and YDE – Young Designer’s Emporium – as well as upmarket shops Trenery and Jo Borkett.
Originally a fiercely popular community market in Cape Town, this market can now be found on Saturdays in Braamfontein. Reinventing the public market as a civic institution, the two-storey, red brick warehouse boasts a myriad stalls of strictly local stuff such as hand crafted furniture, delicately painted ceramics and shiny jewelery. Each stall is punctuated with local grub for the discerning shopper to stuff their faces with; cider soaked mussels, slivers of rare beef in squares of ciabatta and crispy thin pizza, washed down with local brews and cocktails as you watch the sun bounce off the buildings around you.
Heading north away from Sandton, the Design Quarter in Fourways is a hidden gem full of exquisite furniture and scatter cushions for the design lover. Appealing to any wallet size, there is the very reasonable @Home and Coricraft, as well as the fancier Bakos Brothers and Fabri Design Studio. Crabtree and Evelyn can also be found here, which has its own quaint tea room at the top for those who would like an English tea and crumpet break in between shopping.
The city is very spread out, so it’s wise to pick a spot and then stick to it. Endless driving will spoil even the most successful of shopping trips. Comfy shoes are a must for the bigger malls like Sandton City. Even the most hardened shopper will be undone by the endless shops in spiky high heels.