Shop the ramp

2015-03-22 10:00

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This week, as part of SA Fashion Week in Rosebank, Joburg, e-commerce fashion platform Spree gave lovers of fashion a unique chance to shop for runway looks as they appeared on the runway.

It’s called Shop the Ramp, and Spree has collaborated with local designer Gert-Johan Coetzee on a collection that was available as Coetzee showed it on Wednesday night.

Chris Viljoen, Spree’s fashion director, explains. “We were sitting at a Gert-Johan Coetzee show last year when the idea for Shop the Ramp came about. In front of us were two young women who were literally losing their minds over a skirt that had just shown. We thought they should be able to get that skirt immediately.”

Karen Dempers, Spree’s head of customer interaction, says: “The experience also allowed people who couldn’t be in the front row at SA Fashion Week to shop as if they were there.”

Spree, which has been running for two years, says the Shop the Ramp concept is part of its commitment to local design. It says it saw a 600% growth in its first year and is expecting 300% further growth year on year.

Dempers says: “Depending on the stats you look at, e-commerce trading accounts for 1% to 1.5% of all trading in South Africa.”

While the market is still small, Dempers says there’s huge potential for growth, but only as broadband access improves and retail spaces improve their e-commerce offerings.

Viljoen says: “One of the biggest challenges to e-commerce is South Africans are used to the shopping mall culture – and hanging out in malls is what we do. This is in addition to the limit on e-commerce offerings and the high cost of internet.

“We are passionate about South African designers, and one of the challenges faced by local fashion is a lack of outlets. With Spree, we’ve been able to make local fashion accessible to anyone in the country, which is great for the industry.”

>> The Shop the Ramp Gert-Johan Coetzeecollection is available at

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