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Dannijo African Antique And Vintage Trade Beads Jewellery

I stumbled upon the blog Out and About Africa where I came across some colourful creations that included striking African antique and vintage trade beads jewellery pieces from trendy New York-based jewellery and accessories label; DANNIJO. Working with an eclectic mix of materials, beads and inspiration sourced from around the world; DANNIJO was founded by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder in 2008; and sees their handmade designs mixing Danielle’s bohemian, rocker vibe with Jodie’s preference for timeless sophistication. The initial inspiration for DANNIJO came about through a visit to Kenya by Danielle, who upon graduating college sought ways to affect positive change within the […]

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Luxury Africa Travel To Exclusive Boutique Hotel Villa Monticello

Whether you’re a frequent traveller to Ghana or just looking for a stylish luxury Africa travel cityscape, Villa Monticello is an exclusive boutique hotel positioned to tempt the discerning traveller in search of ‘something a little bit different’ without having to compromise on luxury and quality. Situated in the capital, Accra Villa Monticello combines the ambience of luxury Africa travel with the rich culture of Ghana and is a very chic city retreat comprising just fourteen suites, a defining feature that allows the hotel to extend a highly attentive and personalised service to each guest who comes to stay. What sets Villa Monticello […]

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Luke Irwin Custom-Made Hand Knotted African Inspired Rugs

I came across some beautifully patterned, richly hued rugs by Luke Irwin; a London-based designer and manufacturer of custom-made hand knotted rugs. Believing that a rug should be a foundation upon which various elements of an interior’s décor are brought together, Luke Irwin works closely with clients to create the desired piece and the portfolio on the website offers a glimpse into some of the design possibilities, and was the place where I found a few rugs that I like to think of as being ‘African Inspired’ given the names, themes and distinctive patterns used; ‘Botswana’ and ‘African Crescent’. [Image credit: […]

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Aidya Stylish African Leather Handbags

Loving these stylish African leather handbags and clutch bags by London-based accessories label, Aiyda. Chic and elegant, the ‘Addis’ clutch is made from supple leather and is secured with a long strip of leather that winds around the side of bag, which makes for eye-catching detailing.

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Malée Natural Science Premium South African Made Skin Care

It is getting chillier and chillier as the days go by and more important than ever to protect your skin from the harsh drying effects of winter; makes for a good excuse (not that you really need one!) to indulge in some luxurious pampering sessions with products that care for and soothe mind, body and soul. A premium range of bath and body products made using natural active ingredients; I first stumbled across the Malée premium South African made skincare line when I followed a link from the Timbuktu Chronicles blog. Based in South Africa, Malée was named after founder Zeze Oriaikhi’s great grandmother […]

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Contemporary African Architecture Author Lesley Lokko’s Ghana Home

I’ve just finished reading a book called ‘Saffron Skies’ by author Lesley Lokko; whom I came to know of the by chance when I happened to catch a fairly old rerun of the lifestyle show Studio 53, featuring an interview with her. As an avid reader I can’t understand why Lesley Lokko hadn’t crossed my radar before, but a couple of clicks on Google brought me quickly up to speed and having got my hands on a couple of her books I’m definitely making up for lost time! Sweeping tales, offering escapism to some of the world’s most glamorous and intriguing locations, Lesley’ […]

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Cobra Society Boots And North African Kilim Textiles

The latest print issue of Vogue UK has an interesting article on the rise of a new breed of entrepreneur that they’ve called ‘globalists’; trend-setters who combine fair trade principles with business savvy whilst scouring the world for exciting new products that celebrate craft and heritage and marrying them with contemporary styling to create a fresh, modern and exciting product. Amongst the featured profiles was that of Cobra Society’s Alex Davis, whose debut Autumn/Winter 2011 collection of Western style boots with North African Kilim textiles was snapped up by Net-a-Porter.

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Ronél Jordaan Felted South African Interior Decor

Last week a cousin of mine was visiting London from South Africa, and I got to spend some time, albeit brief, showing him around London’s famous landmarks, taking pleasure in being a tourist for the day; we walked so much taking about 5 hours to cover the centre of the city in a circle. Making our way down Regent Street we passed the National Geographic Store and fascinated he wanted to go in have look around. As we crossed the threshold I noticed this large greyish rock in the window display, that I instantly recognised as one of Ronél Jordaan’s amazing South African interior […]

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Earth Couture Eco Leisure Wear Indigo Dyed In Nigeria

With it getting chillier and darker outdoors, it is so tempting to stay in doors curled up in comfy clothes but sometimes comfy can mean ‘living’ in your favourite PJ’s or tracksuit when the opportunity arises… nothing wrong with that, but if you want to up the style stakes then Earth Couture’s easy-to-wear collections are perfect offering stylish yet comfortable clothes so you can still look good whilst slouching around the house.

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Swaziland Ngwenya Glass Contemporary Interior Accessories

Ngwenya means ‘crocodile’ and encircled by mountains nestles the tiny kingdom of Swaziland, where one of the mountains is said to resemble a basking crocodile; at the summit of this mountain is an ancient iron ore mine that dates back 43 000 years and at the foot you will find the Ngwenya Village, home to the Ngwenya Glass Blowers. I mentioned Ngwenya Glass in the recent post I did on the ‘Piece’ jewellery exhibition and although they created some of the beads that were used, Ngwenya Glass’ scope is much wider. Ngwenya Glass is a factory cum studio producing some rather striking, […]

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Ousmane M’Baye Recycled Contemporary African Furniture Design

I was recently introduced to the colourful and innovative creations from Senegalese furniture and home accessories designer, Ousmane M’Baye, whose colourful abstract chair instantly reminded me of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian’s famous colour block, linear paintings; paintings that have inspired countless designers throughout the decades. Mondrian was one of the revolutionary founders of the Modern Art movement and as an art student I was captivated by his work; something to do with the minimalist simplicity of it all I guess. [Image credits: Armchair 2011 – Ousmane M’Baye]

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Piece South African Jewellery And Adornment Exhibition

Some of South Africa’s top creative talent have come together to create a stunning range of contemporary South African jewellery and other adornment in an exhibition entitled ‘Piece’, a pioneering brand that is active in the handicraft sector with a focus on business training, product development and creating sustainable business. Working extensively throughout the Southern African region, the idea for Piece was born when founder Eugenie Drakes, who was attending a workshop at Ngwenya Glass Blowers in Swaziland, met and asked ceramist Andile Dyalvane of Imiso Ceramics, to make some ceramic beads for her. Upon receiving some sample beads the team at […]

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Lanvin Dolls Made In Swaziland In Collaboration With Dessine L’Espoir 

Lanvin, acknowledged as the longest running couture fashion house, recently launched its first ever girls wear collection, called ‘Lanvin Petite’ and to mark the occasion has commissioned a set of four very chic soft dolls. Designed by Elber Albaz, Lanvin’s celebrated Creative Director, the beautifully hand-embroidered and hand stitched limited edition dolls were produced by a community of women in Swaziland and will be on sale from November. Lanvin, a fashion house with a rich heritage teamed up with charity Dessine L’Espoir (also known as Designing Hope) to create the pretty little Lanvin dolls which are dressed in miniature versions of the new ‘Lanvin […]

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Akhaya Cookery School Modern African Cooking And Food

New to African cooking or simply want to try your hand at creating dishes from another part of the continent, then look to Akhaya Cookery School to help you on your way. I was watching a recent episode of CNN’s Inside Africa when I saw a profile on young Nigerian entrepreneur Jennifer Okpapi and the African cooking classes she runs in Tottenham, North London based on her love for African food.

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Spectacular Africa Travel To Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Last summer I spent four amazing days representing Zimbabwe with my jewellery at an art fair in Oxfordshire; amongst the memories I left with were the number of people who stopped by my table to reminisce on their visit to Zimbabwe, frequently mentioning Victoria Falls; and what really made my day was hearing how most of them had visited within the last few years. The Victoria Falls is a must see Africa travel destination; and is a place that holds a special place in my heart; not only did I get to work on some of the brands established in […]

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  • This popular Africanisim beautifully illustrates the pioneering spirit of togethernes. It highlights how working and collaborating with others can propel you to new heights. Building a business rarely happens in isolation. Atelier Fifty Five seeks to to shine the light on African brands, and this includes extending a hand by sharing our knowledge and expertise to help African brands become the best they can be. So let us go together. Sign up to the Atelier Fifty Five Academy mailing list and join a community of ambitious creative business owners dedicated to creating brands that make their audiences sit up and take notice.⁣
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.  #quotes #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #africanproverb #brandstrategy #creativeentrepreneur  #entrepreneur #mycreativebiz  #brandbuilding #africanstartup #africanbusiness #makeithappen
  • Preserving traditional skills the Kayla cushion by Frida 54 highlights the art of Tritik, a process of knotting and sewing that results in a variety of symmetric patterns. Handwoven with 100% cotton from the cotton mills of northern Cameroon the textiles are dyed with handmade dyes using ancestral techniques. [📷 credit: @frida_54 ]
  • Values . Respecting the design [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Infuse your interior style with the colourful elegance of African beaded necklaces courtesy of The African Woven Necklace light shade by @moderngesture. The design features graduating circular hoops each hand wrapped with colourful woven thread bands. Handcrafted in Cape Town, South Africa by designer Candice Lawrence, the lighting is available in the  Atelier Fifty Five shop. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive