INSIGHT | Muubaa In Johannesburg

Braamfontein courtesy of Play Braamfontein
Image courtesy of Play Braamfontein

Johannesburg may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of fashionable cities. However, with its own Fashion Week twice a year since 1996, new designer malls like Sandton City and design hubs like 70 Juta Street, Jo’burg is ready to take its place on the international scene. Muubaa were there this week to open in some new stores and we met up with local Muubaa representative and Brand Manager at Square Hip Distribution, Batia Surat.  We asked her a few questions about herself and Johannesburg.

Batia SuratWhat is your background and how did you get into fashion?
My great grandmother owned a CMT (cut, make, trim)  in Krugersdorp in the 60s and my grandmother passed on her love of fashion to me. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work in fashion.

I received a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion from the London International School of Fashion in 2009 and began working in Retail at Mango. I then went on to manage various international brands such as Banjo and Matilda, Bijules, Cyk and Silvian Heach in South Africa before working as Brand Manager for Square-Hip distribution where we distribute, merchandise, market and do the general management for Muubaa.

What is a typical day in your work as a brand manager?
Wow, where to start! I start off my day checking all emails and getting my admin work in order. I then check on all our stores; stand alone or independent! I will normally visit our retailers to see how they are merchandising our brands, spending a little time fixing up the stores to make them look perfect. On delivery days I will tag all the stock, separate it into stores for delivery and send it out. A couple of hours a day is spent calling boutiques and spreading the word about our brands. In my spare time I update our Facebook and Twitter feeds with any new up and coming information so that our consumers get full brand awareness.

How would you describe your style?
My style is very old-school.  My inspiration definitely comes from  Hollywood 50′s style.  I like vintage looking pieces with lace, pearls and a little embellishment.  I’m often out in a pretty dress or some high waisted shorts teamed with peep toe heels.

What are your three favourite fashion items that you could not live without?
A pair of pearl earrings, a great pair of heels and a versatile leather jacket that works in any type of weather!

If we designed a Muubaa jacket just for you what would it be like?
It would definitely be a black jacket with laser cut lace detail on the collar!

What do you think Jo’burg’s style is and what has influenced it?
I think there are many different styles as our culture is so diverse. We are called the rainbow nation after all.
There has always been a theme of people incorporating African culture into their clothing and most recently we’ve seen the the hipster trend getting really big (influenced by the opening of UK High Street stores in the last two months).  It’s a really hard question as there is no set trend for South Africans.

Tell us a bit about what’s going on in Jo’burg right now. Where should we be heading for great food, fashion and culture?
Braamfontein is definitely the most happening spot in Jo’burg at the moment. It’s a recently redeveloped part of town that had been rather neglected that is now buzzing with rooftop bars and clubs, old stores and warehouses that have been converted into markets and a vintage cinema called the Bioscope. 70 Juta Street is a relatively new, super-trendy hub of restaurants and retail spots that is fast becoming Johannesburg’s next place to be seen.

For breakfast I would definitely visit Tashas, an upmarket restaurant in Sandton where you can have everything from muesli to a traditional English breakfast. If you are in Jo’burg over the weekend Arts on Main or Neighbourgoods Market is the place to go for delicious and different dining.  For lunch Salvation Café at 44 Stanley has a chilled alternative vibe where you can get the best gourmet burger in Jo’burg, with the most amazing relish, and for supper I would definitely head for Turn and Tender in Illovo for a great steak!

For high end fashion shopping you can’t beat  Sandton City for size and choice but if you want a more edgy, alternative vibe I would visit 44 Stanley and anywhere around Braamfontein.

Braamfontein Johannesburg

Muubaa has just launched in Johannesburg in Stuttafords stores in Sandton and Eastgate Shopping Centres with a selection of our current (SS 2013) collection including Minsk Padded Biker in Silver, Agena Leather Jacket in Sandstone and Persei Leather Skirt in Black.

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