Shop SA: Egality

When I first met owner and creator Felicity Spies; Egality was a pop up store concept established in order to quickly and efficiently as possible ascertain the customers response to what Egality had to offer. Two years on, Felicty has been able find a permanent home in Parkhurst and to start to work on some exciting expansion plans for 2013.

Taken from the French word ‘Egalité’ meaning social and political equality, Egality is “inspired by UK department store Liberty of London. The founder Mr. Liberty was a great patron of the Arts and Crafts movement in Victorian Britain – supporting and selling the work of pioneering designers, an approach the present day store continues to pursue.”
“There is an incredible amount of talent both locally and overseas from new and emerging designers” states Felicity, and the treasure hunt to finding these designers to grace the rails at Egality is something she is really good at. From a local perspective this means that the team at Egality go to all the local fashion shows from graduate events to AFI and SAFW, to find a South African designer or two who have the “design magic” Egality is looking for. From then on they work with the designer on developing a consumer relevant capsule collection taking into consideration what consumers want to shop for in Egality. This often results in commercial success with the store and for some designers like Avant Apparel and Joel Janse Van Vuuren recognition in the global arena.

When I was interviewing Felicity for this Shop South Africa content slot I asked her “when it comes to South African fashion design, accessories etc, what does she look for when buying for Egality?” Her answer was simply that “fashion is by its very nature simultaneously both creative and commercial. As a result we are really looking for two key things in our designers – firstly they must have that ‘design magic’ or ‘integrity’. That ability to do something stand-out and stunning, something beautiful and just plain good. Secondly they must have a sense for commerce – what will sell, what to focus on, what do customers need and want – ultimately they need to be able to run a successful business and to partner with us as their retailer.”

Partner. I loved the use of that word in her response. Defined as a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits, the use of the phrase “partner with us” really struck a chord with me because sometimes local designers do not invest enough in the quality and execution of their garments and then constantly complain about consumers that don’t shop South Africa or local.

I suppose that is why stores like Egality who encourage designers to execute with excellence, simply because the store itself prides itself on stocking a certain level of quality and standard of apparel, accessories, footwear etc are necessary. Personally I love the idea of putting money back into the South African fashion industry with is why the Shop South Africa features are so important to me as I learn and discover more local talent.

Egality is located at no 25, 4th Avenue Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa and stocks the following designers and brands:

Apparel: Avant, Joel Janse Van Vuuren, Natalie Creed, Jaq & Bel, Terrence Bray, Silverspoon, Jessamine,  Mej. Lues, Josephine and Anmari Honiball

Accessories  and Jewellery : Pichulik, The Summit, Cloche, A Bird Named Frank, Marzipan, Duncan Stevens, Heart Africa, LouenHide Bags (Australia), Tjerrie Socks, Falke Tights, Freda Sebolai, Hout Couture, Jinger Jack

Footwear:Tjerrie, Sam Star, Lucca (Israel), Ninon, Galago, Be Only (France),

Swimwear: Love Water Love, Maaji (Colombia), Terrence Bray

Stationary: Unwrapped, Joel Janse Van Vuuren

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