Cape Town: Heather Moore

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Heather Moore surrounded by patterns and bolts of cloth.

Heather Moore surrounded by patterns and bolts of cloth. Image: Brett Rubin

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Skinny laMinx’s Bree Street storefront in central Cape Town.

Skinny laMinx’s Bree Street storefront in central Cape Town. Image: Brett Rubin

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Moore chats to a customer.

Moore chats to a customer. Image: Brett Rubin

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Fabric samples brighten up the workspace.

Fabric samples brighten up the workspace. Image: Brett Rubin

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Upstairs is home to the designer’s office and a workroom for her seamstresses.

Upstairs is home to the designer’s office and a workroom for her seamstresses. Image: Brett Rubin

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Moore’s new range.

Moore’s new range. Image: Brett Rubin

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The self-taught designer at work.

The self-taught designer at work. Image: Brett Rubin

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A sewing machine and inspiration board.

A sewing machine and inspiration board. Image: Brett Rubin

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I learned everything I need to know about design and textiles by the seat of my pants,” says Heather Moore, 42.

A degree in English and Drama certainly didn’t prepare Moore, who is entirely self-taught, for her thriving design business. Skinny laMinx began as a blog and an online store in 2007 and quickly became “a great little brand with good global reach” when Moore’s tea towels appeared in The New York Times’ Styles section alongside Marimekko and Lucienne Day designs.

Partner Pearl Thompson manages the business side, allowing Moore to focus on what she loves: design and branding. Currently she’s at work on a new African-inspired fabric range called Rough Cuts.

A year ago Moore spotted a To Let sign above a greasy scooter repair shop on Bree Street, which is fast becoming the most desirable address for hip, creative businesses in central Cape Town. It was perfect.

“Visitors to the shop love to wander into the workroom at the back, where fabric is being cut.” Moore says.

She and artist husband Paul Edmunds moved to Cape Town from Pietermaritzburg 16 years ago, to escape the sub-tropical heat. They settled in the City Bowl, where they still live.

“I take a 20 minute stroll down the road to my studio, stopping for coffee and a natter along the way,” she says.

Light industry, such as routing, laser cutting or powder coating, is also accessible to small producers. “So you can have an idea and take it to fruition fairly painlessly,” says Moore. “That’s very empowering for a designer.”

Moore Recommends:

  • Walking from Mouille Point lighthouse to the Sea Point swimming pool for a smorgasbord of people watching.
  • Church, maverick artist and provocateur Peet Pienaar’s store on Spin Street.
  • Eating a burger at the Dog’s Bollocks. It serves only 30 burgers a night, wrapped in newspaper, and serves 1.5 litre cardboard tubes of wine.

For more on Cape Town, click here.

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