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Fashion is a sense of identity for many locals, and Soweto is home to some of the most stylish and fashion-forward individuals in South Africa. Here’s our complete guide to looking good in the City of Gold, whatever your style may be.
We’re all familiar with the distinctive dandy stereotype, where cufflinks and a handkerchief complete the look. In Johannesburg, however, the idea of the dandy is taken to a whole new level and has become synonymous with style.
The City of Gold’s style crews dress to the nines and add loads of colour, pattern and prints to their outfits. Think vintage blazers, buttoned-up shirts, stylish hats and shiny dress shoes, all tied together with a pair of bright trousers.
There are so many different style subcultures in South Africa, it’s difficult to focus on only one. One of the most well-known subcultures is Izikhothane (also known as Skhothane), which is all about expensive brands and flashy items. Izikhothane means “to boast” in Zulu and followers do exactly that.
I See a Different You is a fashion/photography collective whose aim is to show the world the “real” Soweto – in all its glory, and fashion plays an important role in their work and campaigns. “We feel that fashion is one of the most expressive forms of art: it’s the way that we choose to physically represent ourselves,” they write on their website.
As far as fashion goes, Johannesburg’s locals are overwhelmed by different subcultures, styles and as such, options.
Buying the clothes is one thing, but radiating the swagger to pull off the look is a whole different ball game. Luckily, Johannesburg’s creatively charged neighbourhoods will inspire you to wear your outfit with confidence. The inner city is filled with stores selling every item you could possibly need to complete your style journey, whether you want to go all out or keep it toned down.
Take a trip to Maboneng where stores, such as Hamethop, are filled with pieces tailored to fashion-forward men. You’ll have no shortage of stylish items to choose from and the best part, most items are locally designed and manufactured so you’ll be supporting independent designers. If you’re not that into colourful clothing, opt for a quirky accessory instead. Local brand WoodiZ produces quality, wooden sunglasses and bowties, perfect for completing your ensemble.
Men in Johannesburg are particularly proud of the beards they grown, and facial hair in all shapes and sizes are seen all over the city. Whether trimmed and styled daily, more on the rugged side or kept under wraps, barbers in Johannesburg have their hands full, quite literally.
If an on-trend experience is what you’re after, check out Bonafide Barbers in Parkhurst. Situated next to Urban Grind Roasters, they’ll treat you to a cuppa while taking care of all your hairy needs. Then there are of course the more typical, street-style barbers, which many locals use. It’s a cheap cut but is guaranteed to live up to any other experience you’ve ever had.