By Nomali Cele
African designers are constantly making strides and innovating beyond the cliché of “African print’. Many young African designers are invested in infusing African techniques in their work. They keep African design heritage while innovating and updating it. We know the work of artists such as the iconic Dr Esther Mahlangu
African designers in interiors
The Ninevites is a multi-disciplinary design project most renown for their textiles. Over the past three+ years, The Ninevites rugs – crafted with South American weaving expertise and infused with a uniquely African style – have been on every interior design must-have list.
Zabalazaa Designs by Atang Tshikare
Atang Tshikare is a Cape Town-based artist and designer. Over the years, Tshikare has explored everything from illustration to textiles and ceramics. Tshikare often works with putting his illustrations on surfaces (metal, wood, canvas) and shoes – customisation is a big interest of his.
Yinka Ilori is a Nigerian designer who splits his time between Lagos and London. Ilori’s approach to design is colourful, fun and always had a dash of humour. He uses found objects – mainly chairs – which he upcycles to make his pieces.
MAXHOSA BY LADUMA (rugs)
Laduma Ngxokolo’s Maxhosa brand was founded in 2010 primarily as a fashion house selling knitwear. Recently, the brand has expanded to offer rugs in its signature mohair weaving and keeping the distinctive prints that the brand is known for.
— MaXhosa by Laduma™ (@MaXhosaByL) April 6, 2018
African designers in fashion
Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh
Maki Oh is one of the most popular African fashion brands, it’s so popular, in fact, that it’s had a cross-over effect and is doing well internationally. Osakwe’s designs have graced Hollywood red carpets and diplomatic podiums. The ready-to-wear, Lagos-based design house is taking classic African style to the world.
Thebe Magugu by Thebe Magugu
Thebe Magugu is a young women’s ready-to-wear designer from South Africa. The brand has risen in the last three years and was selected as one of the brands featured in Woolworths’ “Style By SA” capsule collection. Twice! One of Magugu’s designs was a finalist for the title of “Most beautiful object in South Africa” at this year’s Design Indaba.
Thabo Makhetha, a designer reimagining the Seanamarena blanket of Basotho, was recently a part of the Threads by Standard Bank business accelerator for designers. Her namesake brand is an important one in the story of African design because big, international brands such as Louis Vuitton are appropriating and “reinterpreting” the Basotho blanket tradition.
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