Ancient Spirit- boutiques in the Western Cape and online shopping

Physical stores: Riebeek Kasteel, Paternoster and at She by Shelley Taylor in Stellenbosch

The 2023 edition of Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters, is happening in the Riebeek Valley, this weekend, August 18 to 20.  The annual event puts visual art in the spotlight with intimate encounters in studios of artists and that is why it is Intimate Art Encounters. In addition to visual art, there is live performance, film, talks, food and wine – and shopping. I think that the shopping aspect needs to be seriously foregrounded, if we may stay with visual art terminology. So, yes, may we please talk about fabulous shopping in Riebeek Kasteel? I am talking about Ancient Spirit– the boutique owned by Lizel Olckers. She is the wife of Klaus Piprek – the co-founder of Solo Studios. Ancient Spirit stocks fabulous clothes, earrings, scarves, bags and other accessories. I was at the media preview for Solo Studios, a few weeks ago and I delayed the mini bus as I was checking out the ‘Barbie Feeling’ at the store. True story. It was only a minute – a Riebeek Kasteel minute. But, ohmy, I had to stop and check out the amazing pink zip Melton jackets at Ancient Spirit.

I returned the next day and got my pink zip jacket – and two scarves. I wore the coat on the weekend, with a friend group, when we went to see the Barbie movie. In the last two weeks, I have had women running up to me and almost grabbing the jacket and floral silk scarf (utterly gorgous): “Where did you get THAT?!. OMG the jacket – where is it from?! The scarf- I must have it?!!”  I know the feeling. Invariably, I race through a mall and ask someone where they bought a jacket, shoes, scarf, bag and usually the answer: In another city or country.

I do not enjoy, GOING shopping. I like to buy things out of my home orbit and then my gear becomea memories of those places.  I first encountered Ancient Spirit in 2020. It was lockdown- the time of masks and deep sanitising. And there was this treasure trove of a shop. I bought a mask (of course) and a scarf.

What I love about Ancient Spirit is that most of the clothes are made in Riebeek Kasteel and in Paarl by women, sewing in workshops, set up by Olckers. The clothes are beautifully made- double stitched with quality fabric – made to last. This is ‘slow fashion’ and ‘sustainable fashion’ which is deeply rooted in the winelands of the the Western Cape. These are not clothes being made in a sweat shop, somewhere overseas. The clothes are well priced – way less than branded items at chain stores. Olckers with her eye for design is always on trend and her clothes are not only stylish and fabulous but are comfortable and beautifully tailored. They also stock beautiful scarves, earrings and other accessories from India and elsewhere.

In addition to the flagship Ancient Spirit shop in Riebeek Kasteel (opposite to the Royal Hotel), there is an Ancient Spirit store in Paternoster and a collaboration stare with She by Shelley Taylor in Stellenbosch, plus online shopping. 

The Barbie Feeling in Ribeeek Kasteel: Lizel Olckers, owner of Ancient Spirit. The flagship store is in Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape. Most of their clothing items are made in the Winelands in the Riebeek Valley and in Paarl. They also stock beautiful scarves, earrings and other accessories from India and elsewhere. See Pic TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.

✳ Images © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.