Local makers, including designers and brewers, are not only advancing local production and driving innovation – they are also behind some of the country’s most beautiful products.
From hand-made bamboo leather watches to a lamp awarded the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa – find out why these products embody local creativity.
Bamboo Revolution crafts unique, bamboo and leather watches, and relies on a business model that is sustainable, and supportive of local industry, according to an article by Elle Magazine. The brand was started in 2012 by 28-year-old Amy De Castro.
The brand has collaborated with Mini Cooper which gifts each new purchaser of a Mini Cooper, a Bamboo Revolution watch.
MaXhosa by Laduma is an internationally-acclaimed fashion brand founded by one of South Africa’s fastest-growing fashion exports, Laduma Ngxokolo. The brand includes knitwear with African-inspired patterns. The clothing line was born from a final year project at the Nelson Mandela University. He wanted to create a knitwear collection that reflected his isiXhosa heritage, and decided to focus on the male initiation ceremony.
The brand has garnered the attention from celebrities like Beyonce and Alicia Keys.
South African non-alcoholic beverage brand, The Duchess Virgin Gin & Tonic is the world’s first sugar-free, non-alcoholic gin and tonic according to Good Taste. The brand also prides itself on its beautiful packaging. It is available on major retailers’ shelves, including Makro, Spar, Liquor City and online at Yuppiechef. The brand was founded by 28-year-old Johannes Le Roux and Inus Smut.
The brand has also recently been awarded the Best Adult Drink as well as Best New Drink Concept at the 2018 Zenith Innobev Awards in Prague, a newly launched event celebrating successful innovation in beverages worldwide, and formed part of the 14th Global Soft Drinks Congress held in April.
Johannesburg-based Mash T Design Studio was started by 28-year-old Thabisa Mjo and focusses on lighting and furniture pieces that according to Elle Decor represent her childhood and culture in a “tongue-in-cheek and refreshing way”.
Mjo’s Tutu 2.0 light has received a lot of recognition so far. The design won the award for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2018 Design Indaba, as well as the “Nando’s young designer” award and Best Product at 100% Design SA. Mjo has also been invited to exhibit at international design fairs including 100% Design London and Maison&Objet Paris.
Pichulik is a Cape Town-based accessories range designed by Katherine Mary Pichulik. The accessories are made from manufactured ropes, beads, and other unique materials. International celebrities like British actress Emma Watson and US singer Solange Knowles have supported the brand.
The brand has also been selected in 2017 for the Top 40 National Gazelles which is an initiative aimed at propelling the selected top 40 high growth SMEs to the next level through multiple interventions.
Mother Tongue Creative House is a creative agency founded by South African illustrator and designer Karabo Moletsane. In 2017, Moletsane was selected along with graphic artist Sindiso Nyoni and African fashion brand Kisua to be part of the Russell Hobbs Art of Living campaign.
The designers worked in selected Boardmans stores in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to create an immersive installation experience. The campaign also included a selection of appliances wrapped with distinctive designs by the creative workers.
Lwazi Mshibe is the founder of furniture brand Songa and studying for a Bachelor of Technology Interior Design Degree at the Durban University of Technology.
This year Mshibe was announced as the student category winner at the 5th annual furniture design competition awards held at the Homemakers Expo in Johannesburg from September 22 to 25. The furniture design competition is a dti project which seeks to elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities and enhance its competitiveness locally and abroad.
Sibusiso Ngwenya started a luxury sock brand after he spotted a gap in the market in 2012. Established in April 2013, Skinny Sbu Socks is the first 100% black-owned sock brand to be sold at Africa’s multi brand store Stuttafords alongside brands such as Ralph Lauren’s “Polo”, Tom Ford, Banana Republic, Levi’s etc.
In 2017, the brand became available at Markhams stores nationwide.
Unfayzd Designs is a Cape Town-based design studio that uses Plywood, Oriented Strand Board and Valchromat to create a range of modern and simplistic furniture and ambient lighting products. The brand was founded by Fayaaz Mahomed, an industrial designer working in the field of packaging design.
Mahomed collects and reuses left-over materials from previous designs in order to limit his wastage. He has worked on a range of clocks made from the offcuts of his latest seating collection, according to Design Indaba.