Tucked away a block up from Long Street is plucky new boutique Portfolio. With a mission to promote fresh South African talent and an almost kamikaze business zeal they make a welcome addition to Cape Town’s fragile underground fashion scene. The idea is that they rent out rail space to young designers (so they make no commission). It’s an interesting way to approach running the store – and also gives the designers a stake in promoting it as all profits go straight to them (once they’ve paid the modest rent).

When i popped in they’d been open a week and to be honest it looked a bit bare – however the staff are uber friendly and very helpful and i assume that its looking more finished now. The labels ranged from avant-street to something more sensible – and the prices are damn reasonable considering your buying from independent designers not mass-produced mcfashion from China.

They sent me this about their designers:

At present we have 11 designers, each with an individual flare, not found anywhere else in South Africa. They are all focusing on different aspects of design, from clothing to bags, from shoes to belts. One of our most established designers, Sue Engels the owner of Zasu, creates each pair of shoes individually, made for your comfort and enjoyment by bespoke shoemakers nestled in a small studio in the heart of Cape Town. They use traditional methods of shoemaking, which date back for centuries together with modern twists on design. These unique designs are defined by slick lines with contrasting inlays and combinations of beautiful soft leathers with exotic skins. Colours are rich earthy blends ranging from blacks and deep browns to reds and paler shades of sand reflecting our African surroundings.

Hand crafted belts and bags are also found at Portfolio, by DE ARCANGELIS. She particularly loves working with leather especially exotic leathers such as ostrich or crocodile skins, which is incorporated in her range of handbags, belts, wallets and jackets. There is so much elegance about designing ones own timeless accessories and as a designer she will aspire to create a range that embodies all elements of being a woman.

CSO and Nimbus, Two complementary ranges designed by Claire Scott and Shaun Haschack, creates effortless style for both men and women. Original copy writed graphic designs are found on t-shirts, coupled with elegant, yet edgy style lines and cut. These two creative’s, based in East London, have now taken on Cape Town as they have already conquered their home town.

Luenzo, based in Joberg brings a modern afro chic feel into the store. Luenzo Clothing concentrates on the diversity of cultures and thus appeals to most people. They believe in the interrelationships between fashion, modernity and human identity. Traditional hand painted tops in modern cuts are found, creating much excitement as well as a cultural experience.

Stacey Paige, a Cape Town based designer, is inspired by fashion icons from the past. It is a woman’s collection which is worldly and sophisticated, it is suggestively sexy, decadent and yet demure, it is a dress for a party animal and yet a wallflower could be in the exact replica. It is familiar and yet mysterious.

Vinya and Black believes life is all about expression. Vinya is a casual wear range with an element of freedom and comfort. Freedom to move and express, meaning that you can wear one of her garments, and still be able to express your own style at the same time. Black is the t-shirt range found under this label.

De’Lola’s mission is to bring a new genre to fashion for both men and women. To bring forth a new concept of creativity and skill in the technical and visual part of a garment. The main focus is on fit and quality, to distribute more than clothing but a lifestyle appeal!

Indinga, meaning fulfilment of the purpose I was created to do, embodies all the elements of Afro-modernism. We want to look modern but with a beat of our African heritage still represented. . She has used denim combined with African print, knitted tops as well as linen fabrics lined with African print. The look is versatile so it can be dressed up for a classic look or down for a more casual easy feel. It can be worn for any occasion and is not restrictive.

Nabeela Couture’s ideas and creativity stem from her eastern roots which she has attempted to merge into a fusion of colour, wonderful fabrics and very clean cuts. Nabeela is the Arabic translation of “purity,” something which she would like her clothing to be recognized by.

Wi- We designs was established in 2008, by Wiedaad Samsodien. Her designs reflect the carefree, easy going, stress free lifestyle that the Capetonians lead. All her garments are all locally produced. She outsources all her work, thus creating employment in the local community. Wi -We has various projects in which they are empowering the unemployed women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

Portfolio is at 199 Loop Street, Shop 3, Cape Town. Shop Local.