To all the French brands I've loved before... I'm shopping local now

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Thithi Nteta in a Thebe Magugu skirt and Hannah Lavery shoes.
Thithi Nteta in a Thebe Magugu skirt and Hannah Lavery shoes.

There's no denying the fact that shopping at international retail chain stores is easier and even slightly more convenient. You can always find that block heel you spotted on your favourite Instagram mutual mass produced in a store at a mall near you. And fast fashion is generally easier on the wallet than exclusive boutique items. 

The other side of the coin is shopping thrift to avoid being a part of the mannequin phenomenon. Alternatively, you splurge on luxury threads and beauty spreads. And I believe those luxury purchases are usually of French or Italian origin. I'll admit, I too, am drawn to the likes of Estée Lauder, Clarins, Nuxe, and even La Mer (on very, very rare occasions).

READ MORE: I dressed myself like a Paris Fashion Week street styler on a budget

And oh, how we all look forward to our monthly Zara visits - the Spanish really made sure our wardrobes got a fix they'll never forget when they opened this mega retailer some 40 years ago. 

But what if I told you that slowly transitioning to local buys is where the magic is at? I say "slowly transition" because no one can expect you to go cold turkey overnight. 

One of the benefits of shopping locally produced fashion as well as beauty products is that they are often made through more ethical and organic processes than what we consume from the mass market of fast fashion. 

Secondly, the fact that local designers and retailers only make limited numbers of each item, heightens your probability of standing out and having a one-in-a-dozen statement piece. 

READ MORE: Beyoncé and Naomi Campbell prove they love these local designers as much as we do during their Global Citizen Festival visit

I mean, if Mzansi ready-to-wear pieces are good enough for style mavens such as Naomi Campbell and Beyoncé, then they're good enough for us too. We may not necessarily have "2 million" for a Rich Mnisi skirt, but it may be worth investing in (or saving towards) brands like his and others that are within the same stable. 

But international comparisons aside, I'm hoping 2019 is the year more of us start to take an interest in our local offerings whether you're a fashion enthusiast, a skincare junkie, or a home & lifestyle aficionado. And to paraphrase what is highlighted in the video below, "when you shop local, you show an appreciation of what South African creatives have to offer, thereby boosting their morale to innovate further and believe in their brand."

Joburg-based fashion journalist Tshego 'Red' Mosiane also adds that shopping local has a two-pronged benefit outcome, as both the brands and the consumers benefit. 

In terms of our benefit as South Africans, Red says that "if we think on a grand level, it's about stimulating our economy and building our own supply chain in terms of fashion retail." 

"It also ensures that people keep their jobs and there's growth overall," she shares.

According to Red, buying locally is how a brand "becomes recognisable. For example, we know MaXhosa's signature socks, we know David Tlale's work because we've seen it on the [red carpet]."

Ultimately, it creates exposure and longevity for the brand.

Alright, class is over - time to go shopping. 

These are the local brands we're going to have our eyes on in 2019:

Payday

T I L O N È T-shirt line

Dainty Frocks

Jimno Jean

byCARA.co.za

The Acne Queen

SKOON

sk.in

Corium Skincare

Poetry

Margot Molyneux

Hannah Lavery SA

NALA Cape Town

Investment

Waif

Missibaba

Kirsten Goss

The Ninevites rugs

Rich Mnisi

Thebe Magugu

Aspirational

MAXHOSA

What local brands are on your must-have list that you would highly recommend? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.

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