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Love contemporary African design? Africa’s premier concept store just went online

Africa’s premier concept store Merchants on Long launches an online store showcasing a curated selection of African design.

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By House & Garden South Africa | September 7, 2022 | Design

African design is more than just a buzzword. Established in 2010, Merchants on Long was the first concept store in Africa to focus on contemporary Pan-African design. Serving as a platform for emerging and established designers to display their products to both foreign and African consumers.

Today Merchants continues to showcase a carefully curated selection of bespoke, luxury and handmade brands that are all 100% sourced and made in Africa.

“Our ambition was always to provide a platform for emerging and established creatives making on the continent,” says Hanneli Rupert, founder and director of Merchants on Long.

“There is so much talent here and at the time of opening there wasn’t a platform on which to showcase African brands under one roof.”

Luxe traditional and locally sourced fabrics used to craft expertly designed garments, Image: Supplied

Since the doors first opened at the original Merchants on Long, the iconic 34 Long Street building, Merchants has had three successful pop-ups in London and Paris, opened a further Cape Town store in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and most recently committed as the co- sponsor of the Africa Fashion exhibition currently on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Exclusive collaborations with some of Africa’s very best

Now, the exciting new South African site offers a range of products including men’s and womenswear, lifestyle and gifting products, plus accessories and children’s wear. There is also a selection of fashion and homeware exclusives.

Designers include many South African favourites such as Thebe Magugu, Sindiso Khumalo, Lara Klawikowski, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Rich Mnsi, Mmusomaxwell and more.

Okapi rattan tray, Image: Supplied

From the broader continent, Laurenceairline from the Ivory Coast, Maki Oh, Banke Kuku, Orange Culture, Pepper Row from Nigeria, Larry Jay from Ghana, Cecily Ophelia from Uganda and more are represented.

Homeware includes bespoke pieces by Jan Ernst, Hohodza Wood Carving and Skinny Bitch candles alongside pivotal African design brands like Ardmore, Aranda and the African Art Centre.

Further exclusives include a children’s offering from Thabo Makhetha and Okapi and an exclusive capsule of woven and hand-embroidered handbags from Thatcher House.

Committed to sustainability

“All the products we stock are 100% made on the continent and vetted for their ethical commitments and attention to materials ,” says Hanneli. “They have an innate authenticity to them which immediately resonates with a fashion-conscious global customer.

Colours galore and gorgeous textile techniques, Image: Supplied

Growth of the business

Further activations are planned over the next few months with the launch of the Africa Fashion book, published by the Victoria & Albert museum and available exclusively through Merchants on Long in South Africa.

In October, the iconic Merchants’ store on Long Street is undergoing an interior relaunch and internationally there is a Merchants on Long pop-up in London’s exclusive Burlington Arcade (close to the Royal Academy of Arts).

The Burlington Arcade activation includes exclusive designer showcases with MaXhosa Africa, Sindiso Khumalo, Imane Ayissi, Xander Ferreira, Viviers, Kisany, Laurenceairline, Paul Kristafor, Lafalaise Dion, Ardmore, Awa Meite and Larry Jay.

Want to know more? Visit the site to browse the collections available