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South African Jewellery Designer Anton Heunis Modern Vintage Style

Exuding an air of charm and sophistication from a bygone era coupled with layers of sparkly opulence the bejewelled creations from South African jewellery designer Anton Heunis are jewellery box treasures; the type of pieces you expect see when playing dress up, and so earn the name ‘Modern Vintage’ words Anton uses to describe his work. No surprises then that Anton was inspired by the glamorous jewellery found on his grandmother’s dressing table during his childhood growing up in South Africa, which led to him eventually launching his eponymous accessories label in 2004 after settling in Madrid. Visually striking, I am reminded […]

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La Petite Congolaise African Print Textiles Furnishings

During my ‘actively running a business days’ I was always coming across various groups and associations at tradeshows, online, in the press and through word of mouth, enticing start ups to join as a way of networking with other like minded individuals and helping to build the business; there were many to choose from and some I joined and others I didn’t. One of the ones I always came across and met some interesting people through even though I never formally joined was Craft Central, previously known as the Clerkenwell Green Association, a thriving and inspiring hub for up and coming […]

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Bib&Sola Hand Blown Glassware Tackling Water Scarcity

Coming from the Latin words meaning ‘Water’ and ‘Comfort’, Bib&Sola is an exquisite and highly unqiue range of hand blown glassware paying homage to women water bearers across the globe; and for me calls to mind the familiar graceful depictions of African women with clay pots or tightly woven baskets perfectly balanced on the head having walked miles to fetch water; a vital resource for day to day life, and is a task done with dignity. Bib&Sola was established by Kira Heuer, a Southern Californian native who grew up by the ocean and in her bio refers to the impact water in its various […]

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pureDKNY Uganda Vanilla Creates A Perfume With A Purpose

Whiling away time in House of Fraser, a leading UK department store that got their byline ‘temptation on every level’ bang on, I found myself wandering the perfume aisles and came across, pureDKNY, a perfume with a purpose that was launched by the quintessential New York fashion label last year. Designed to make a difference the first pureDKNY fragrance entitled ‘A Drop of Vanilla’ comprises as the name suggests a drop of vanilla in water as the main ingredients. The vanilla used comes from Uganda, sourced with the aim of working towards sustainable long-term vanilla production in partnership with local vanilla producers, most […]

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Modern African Decor Senegalese Prayer Hampers

Ditch bog standard plastic laundry baskets in favour of some elegantly coiled modern African decor hampers hand-woven by the Wolof women of Senegal and available on The Travelers Collection, a US-based offering a diverse collection of globally inspired personal and home ware accessories and gifts. Simply stylish, the hampers are made from recycled prayer mats that have been woven using njodax grass and plastic strips and come in subtle soothing colour palettes that bring a touch of modern African decor into the interior. Available in different sizes, the hampers have ample room, not only concealing mountains of laundry but lend themselves to […]

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Sabine Pieper Illustrations Vlisco Delicate Shades Campaign

Having struggled with it in the beginning I soon grew to love the life drawing classes that were a fundamental part of my design course; and began increasingly looking forward to a whole day of losing myself in interpreting the contours and shadows of the model’s body onto paper. Starting out shading with pencils, pastels quickly became my medium of choice, rendering the figure in simple black lines and then going ‘crazy’ with the bright colours to pick out the pattern and texture in clothing and accessories, this gave my work the feeling of a layered effect. I haven’t done […]

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Anita Quansah London Bespoke Jewellery And Eco-Adornment

Bold, beautiful and highly expressive accessories that celebrate the strength of a woman without compromising on femininity; just some of the defining characteristics to be found in the jewellery pieces from UK-based accessory designer Anita Quansah. Having trained as a textile designer, Anita set up her eponymous eco-luxury fashion textiles and accessories label in 2006 and saw her intricately embellished textiles leading to the creation of ornate jewel laden neckpieces and the influence is unmistakable when you see the textural quality of the pieces. I can’t get enough of the flower-like statement choker below; the intensity of the violet hue […]

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AphroChic African American Interiors And Lifestyle Inspiration

There are some truly amazing and inspiring blogs out there and not enough time to get through them all on a regular basis. Before I started this blog I was constantly amazed at the power of blogs in allowing people to deliver their own personal take on creativity and diversity with relative ease, regularly logging onto a handful of favourites to get my daily fix of style, colour and inspiration. One of the blogs I came across and am still constantly inspired by is the Philadelphia-based AphroChic, channeling African American interiors and lifestyle inspiration, in fact it was the imagery from the online shop that caught […]

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Tashanda Sadza Batik Fabric Technique To Create The Afrobag

The Zimbabwe sadza batik fabric technique is a modern African batik fabric that has been used by Tashanda to create a collection of fashion accessories. Sadza batik is staking its claim as a future ‘traditional’ fabric and is one that takes pride of place across homes around the country and beyond in the form of wall hangings, bedspreads and tablecloths. I have mine that my mum brought back for me from Zimbabwe, I’m just trying to find the right size frame for it to hang on the wall, a task that has proved harder than I thought. The Sadza batik […]

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African Home Accessories Magpie Art Collective Chandeliers

Finding the beauty in discarded rubbish, the one-of-a-kind South African home accessories are handcrafted using reclaimed trinkets and other found objects including bits of mirrors, toys, charms, copper wire, glass bottles, mosaic pieces and beads all woven into a collection of ornate chandeliers, wreaths and pendants. A socially conscious business working from a studio based in Barrydale, in the Western Cape region, Magpie Art Collective was founded in 1998 by designer, Scott B. Hart and social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow, Shane A. Petzer; who were later joined by Richard Panaino and fine artist and painter, Sean Daniel in 2006. Together the […]

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Tunisian Fashion Designer Azzedine Alaïa Return To The Catwalk

A mild autumn has kept the need for piling on the layers at bay, and after several weeks of toying with us the cold gray weather has finally decided to descend. Sunday brought with it a definite chill in the air coupled with grey overcast skies that couldn’t help but signal the arrival of the autumn I have become accustomed to; a development noticed by everyone I spoke to! For those, who like me, have been resisting for as long as we possibly could, alas it’s time to pull out the chunky scarves, gloves, and winter coats. Although I hate […]

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Beldi Moroccan Interior Accessories Traditional Ceramics

I love pretty ceramics; so ideal for adding quick, interchangeable bursts of pattern and colour throughout the home and whilst browsing beautifully stylish blog, AphroChic I came across a posting featuring new online store Beldi, which is introducing customers to the authentic, Moroccan interior accessories and way of living. Visiting the website I spotted these gorgeously patterned plates and bowls, hand painted and hand glazed by artisans in Safi, a place renowned for its skillful pottery creations. The spirals on the ‘Spiral Safi bowls’ are based on the ancient Berber symbol for eternity, said to be a common symbol throughout Morocco. The intricate patterns, often […]

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L’Occitane Packaging Inspired By West African Print Textiles

Escaping the crowds on Regent Street I ducked into L’Occitane in search of a few moments of respite. When it’s comes to tourist attractions London’s Regent Street is notoriously congested. I have been spending quite bit of the time in the area due to a current assignment and most lunchtimes have literally found myself doing battle as I try to make my way along… frustration is not the word, but in an attempt to avoid the crowds have found myself wandering off the beaten track, discovering some quiet oases in the process. One day however I wasn’t quite as lucky and got […]

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Lawson Oyekan British Nigerian Contemporary Ceramic Sculptor

Until Friday 11 November 2001, the lobby of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf London plays host to the ceramic creations of British / Nigerian contemporary ceramic sculptor Lawson Oyekan. Regular visitors to Canary Wharf may already be familiar with Lawson’s work, the artist has had four ceramic sculptures on permanent display as part of Canary Wharf’s permanent art collection for a while now, and this current exhibition sees some of his more recent works going on display alongside them in a showcase of the artist’s talent and evolving ideas. Lawson’s pieces are organic ranging from towering monolithic forms to beautifully etched […]

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South African Ceramics Brand Love Milo Message Mugs

What a cute and novel idea! Your favourite hot drink delivered with a heartwarming message… well at least that’s what I think modern South African ceramics brand, Love Milo had in mind when they created this wonderfully quirky ceramic message mug. Featuring a notebook design, the smooth surface allows you to write messages directly on to it using the pen provided. Love Milo was created by Nicki Ellis, a South African photographer and film colourist whose original photographs inspired by nature are captured in a distinctive silhouette style and then depicted across a contemporary range of textiles, homeware and ceramics designed to […]

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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