15 Dec An Insider’s Guide to Shopping at 8 Morrison
Durban local, Samora Chapman visited Propertuity’s creative regeneration hub at 8 Morrison and wrote this guide to festive season splurging:
8 Morrison Street, situated in Rivertown, is an integrated shopping, office and event space nestled between the beachfront and the Durban city. The Propertuity development is the first of its kind in the area – a space where progressive entrepreneurs are sewing seeds and like-minded people can enjoy food, art, music and shopping in an urban environment. Here’s a guide to some of the funky and delicious things that can be found down at 8MS this crazy season…
First things first! If you need your coffee fix, then the good folks at FIREBIRD COFFEE can make you the perfect cuppa, tell you the origin of the coffee you’re drinking and educate you about the politics of the most coveted bean.
“Specialty coffee is our thing,” explains Dan Erasmus, project manager and coffee extraordinaire. “We pay extra attention to detail when we make each cup, from the roasting technique to the brew parameters and the perfect shot!”
Dan explains that Firebird sources its coffee only through direct trade, meeting the farmers whenever possible. While I sip my cappuccino out of a sexy Italian cup, he tells me exactly what I’m drinking: “We’re serving Longmiles Coffee from Burundi. I met the owner the other day, his name is Ben Carleson and he produces sustainable coffee, which means his product is socially and environmentally responsible.”
Happily buzzing, it’s time to check out some of the unique and proudly local goods on offer… no big retailers here!
Amanda Jaffer is the owner of THE VINTAGER, and she greets me with a warm smile as she sits in a pretty chair at the entrance to her shop. Inside, it’s a hipster’s dream – classic records, ornate crockery, typewriters and vintage dresses fill the cozy little space. Like everything else at 8MS, Amanda offers a personal and authentic touch to all she does.
“My favourite part of the job is sourcing,” she tells me. “I travel all over the country collecting things that interest me, stuff that I’m passionate about. I love the story behind each piece I buy. I can pass the stories on to the client, so the history of the item lives on.”
My eyes are drawn to a pair of ice skates that look like something my gramps would have worn in the 40s.
“I bought those Viking ice skates from an old man who used to be a sport skater 60 years ago. He entered many tournaments and used to skate at the Durban Ice Rink when it first opened. They’re in immaculate condition.”
For something more current, 8MS has several fresh fashion boutiques run by local designers. SOL-SOL, DIRTY INDIGO and SPINE (to name a few) have some of the coolest get-up in Tropic City, and all the styles have a strong local identity. What’s more, there’s a good chance you can meet the actual designer (or a close relative thereof!) when you visit these shops.
“Everything is patterned, cut and sewn by me,” says Thiran Moodley of SPINE as I admire a floral shirt in his shop. “I only make one per size, that’s it! No re-runs. Durban is a small town and people tend to shop at the same places, look the same, dress the same, be generic. We’re fighting against that!”
Next door, NQ at DIRTY INDIGO shows off some awesome Tee’s – modelling the gear and giving me the lowdown on the brand. The designs are bold and Afro-centric, with the intention of getting people represent where they’re from. All the Dirty Indigo gear is created by local designer, ‘Tav’, who started the label and owns the shop.
8MS has always been a supporter of the arts. As you walk in, take a minute to appreciate the detailed mural by one of Durban’s most respected designers and street artists, Skullboy, who now resides in New York. Inside the building there is an incredible woven sculpture by Kim Goodwin, which brings an organic, forest-like atmosphere to the big open-plan space. Be sure to visit ALSO-ARTISAN, which has an excellent collection of contemporary local art, including wood-cuts, paintings, ceramics, jewellery and fine art photography.
After your inspired shopping mission, you’re gonna need another pick-me-up to get you back on the road home, so pop into THE COLDPRESS JUICE CO. for a green juice that’ll blast you skyward like a gummy bear. The cold pressed green juice is made of cucumber, spinach, celery, apple, lemon and ginger and it tastes like jungle ambrosia. Yum.
What makes 8MS so ‘future’ is that the entrepreneurs and creatives the make up this community share a more conscious and progressive way of thinking working, eating, speaking and celebrating. It’s a refreshing experience.
Words and photographs by Samora Chapman.
Take a look at his homage to the city’s beachfront that we published earlier this year.