In the olden days, shopkeepers used to stay in rooms above their shops, trotting down in mornings to manage them and crawling back up after closing time. Those days aren’t over though and Jessica Visser is a fine example of this. 89 Kloof Street is not only her home, but the location for Monoko clothing, too. And when you step inside you genuinely get that dusty traditional feel, with the wooden floors, long narrow windows and rickety stairs leading up to the rooms.
But it’s the content of the shop that probably refines its character the best. As it says on the website, “new age fun, with a vintage feel”. Both the items for sale and the ones that aren’t contribute to this mood. The clothes are mostly vintage – some new and some second hand. You’ll find dresses from Babette, for instance, but also a collection of jumpers, pants and shirts that carry the style and feel from back in the day. As with many vintage shops, you will have to take your time to browse through the clothes as no two items are the same. The search is fortunately made fun with good tunes all round.
Then there’s also an interesting range of shoes, from classic vintage slip-ons to more modern styled leather tie-ups. Ray Flector sunglasses are hooked all over, some actually hanging on an old bird cage. Whether you want to rock the round leopard print frames or the classic aviators, you’ll find something to suit your style. Check it out in the mirror, but also take a look at the pretty framed pictures dotting the rest of the wall.
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish the accessories that are on sale from the decor items that aren’t. They’re all scattered around a display in the middle made out of old wooden crates. But this is a clothing and accessory shop, so the multi coloured cupcake candles and porcelain cats should be left alone while the many different jewellery items should be picked up and inspected. You’ll find items ranging from recycled tire jewellery to colourful bird shaped earrings. Old suitcases also stand around bearing a variety of handbags.
The interior of the shop really ads to the experience and it’s clear that some effort has gone into making this space enjoyable. And the other rather festive side of Monoko is the occasional Mojito Friday where new items are packed out and old items go on sale. Last Friday, Bacardi even sponsored the booze, making for a happy shopping cum socialising experience. Mail Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask to be put on the mailing list when you visit the shop to get invites to these events. You can also find her Facebook page.
Do go prepared though; there aren’t any debit/credit card facilities so bring cash or draw at the corner cafe one block down. And when you’re done shopping and not yet ready to walk down the steep Kloofnek hill, have some coffee and cake, pastries or pretzels at Dinkel Bakery right next door.
Monoko is located at 89 Kloofnek Road and here is the website.