Enter Kitsune, a boutique salon and multipurpose experience that, according to its founders, functions as “a coven, a co-op type space with a lot of room for creativity.” 

Located in Bo-kaap, where the streets are lined with picturesque terraced houses, along cobbled lanes, the Kitsune brand completely transformed 72 on Rose, a property with a history linked to the 1966 scheme of restoration and development instigated by The City of Cape Town. According to Pococks’ survey of 1884, 72 on Rose has its original façade parapet mouldings and flat roofs still visible, and in 1972 a few alterations were done by the City Engineer’s Department. These original features are complimented by the refurbished, quaint and calming interior. From the exterior, Kitsune resembles a mystical ingress into a heavenly world. Painted with a buoyant cadet blue, the walls of the space can be seen afar. At the entrance, you are welcomed by the immediate flash of ‘KITSUNE’ engraved with a bubble-letter font which peers above the salon’s entrance-red-door. 

Today marks 1 week since the launch of Kitsune shop – making it an extension of the ‘Kitsune umbrella’. As a multipurpose space, Kitsune is a hair and beauty salon, with an additional space used as an artist studio, and the newly added, Kitsune shop. 

Being Kitsune’s first dedicated store, the Cape-Town-based concept stop gives visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the boudoir styled space. ‘’We envisioned a space where clients could get their hair/nails done, whilst browsing beautiful clothing and accessories in between time,’’ Duncan explains. 

So, what exactly does that entail? Kitsune shop stocks local designer wear made by established as well as emerging designers. Crystal Birch (@therealcrystalbirch), Blünke/Trotse Tert (@trotsetert), The Floyd’s Cleaning Company (@the_floyd_cleaning_company), sinCHUI (@sinchui_), and Socio culture (@_socioculture_are) are the selected fresh talents spotlighted on this platform. 

Kitsune shop acts as a space where the works of designers and creatives encourage prosperity in connection through creativity, and was a judicious decision on the part of the brand’s founders. COVID has had a tremendous economic impact on freelance workers and creatives, causing uncertainty and detriment to those in the industry seeking to maintain a steady means of income. As in-person events have become more limited and shoppers turn to e-commerce (a burgeoning trend even before the pandemic), Kitsune shop provides a retail experience that’s more than just transactional. It is clear that this brand was able to determine novel ways of attracting new customers and maintaining existing ones. A major contributor to this success, incorporated reconsidering their marketing strategies in the light of the recent restrictions and circumstances faced due to the experiences of the Pandemic. ‘’Brandon does all the editing on Photoshop of the clients’ portraits we post online. The Kitsune logo and artwork you see on our page was made by the amazing Kim Bischofberger (@kimkimbolino) of Super Elastic Studio (@superelastic_studio). Our online aesthetic and social media presence would not be where it is without her amazing design skills. We are obsessed with Japanese anime and yaoi, and wanted to try to re-create it in our space. We want our social media to be Pop art and interesting to look at, and for our clients to have a unique image of themselves. We are selling dreams, not reality,’’ Duncan adds. 

The founders of KITSUNE 

Kitsune started with Duncan Gosling, alongside co-owner Brandon Reeff. Duncan (@saint.paradise) is a professional hairstylist, while Brandon (@benoniplastic) focuses his efforts as the brand’s lead content creator. The team has evolved and expanded to include freelance hairstylist & MUA Marchay Linderoth (@marge_linderoth), nail artist Ambour Rose (@rose.nailhouse), apprentice / assistant Nomzamo Tshazi (@zamo_tshazi) and visual artist Georgia Munnik (@georgiamunnik). 

Where does your story begin? 

‘’During the first lockdown myself and Brandon had a lot of time to sit and think about the future. We decided to take the leap of faith and start our own salon space. Marchay and I worked together at a previous salon. With her impeccable skills and knowledge for hair, I could not imagine anyone better to work with at Kitsune. I always shared a sisterly bond with her. We started with a beauty center in Gardens and later moved to our current home located at 72 Rose st, Schotsche Kloof. We added Nomzamo to the team as she wanted to learn more about hair, and is already an amazing second pair of hands. We also wanted to add nails to the space and found Ambour through Instagram. We fell in love with her skills doing acrylic and hand-painted nail art.’’ 

The Kitsune space has an aura that is so light, tranquil and comforting. Tell me more about the decision in this choice of space. 

For the longest time we had a vision of a co-op type space with a lot of room for creativity. We found our current home and fell in love. The open space with high ceilings was everything to us. We like to think of Kitsune as a coven. Everyone who works here, works under the Kitsune umbrella but also works for themselves. To finish off the co-op space, we have our close friend and visual artist Georgia Munnik, in her artist studio within the Kitsune home. Her exquisite sculpture and image-based work is made from laminated rose petals, butterflies, crabs, carbon paper, among other organic and unexpected materials. The presence of Georgia’s work in Kitsune makes the space feel like an enchanted forest. We chose all white walls and pops of pastel colours. Everything has smooth rounded edges in the space. We want our clients to feel like they are entering a pastel dream. 

If you had the chance to open up another salon in Africa or abroad, where would it be? And how would you integrate your version to a wider audience? 

Our salon is more of a boutique style salon, as there are only two hairstylists and one nail artist. But, if we were to open another space it would be in Duncan and Brandon’s home city of Johannesburg. And would only ever happen if we found the right people to do it with and that follows out with our mantra. 

Photo credit: of the space Brandon Reeff @benoniplastic 

Portraits: David Shiffman @shootfilm_cpt 

All developed at Cape Film Supply @capefilmsupply 

Kitsune, 72 Rose street, Bo-kaap, Cape Town CBD 

For more information: https://www.instagram.com/kitsune_hair/ 

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