More and more people are shunning chemically formulated on the shelf beauty products in favour of natural, holistic handcrafted formulations, and the beauty industry has witnessed a rise in brands around the world catering to this need by tapping into their own homegrown beauty rituals and bringing them to global attention. And Africa is no exception. Natural skin care ingredients such as cocoa butter and shea that have been used by African women for centuries are being recognised for their benefits, but we are only just scratching the surface. Fruit of the African soil, ingredients such as baobab, marula, and rooibos are all being used to create luxury natural skin care brands that are proudly made in Africa. And among the names to know is 54 Thrones, a luxury handcrafted beauty brand on a mission to show the Africa we know, by celebrating the continent’s rich diversity in natural resources through skin care.
Trésors d’Afrique translates as Treasures from Africa, and is an ode to past and present, culture and modernity presented in the form of luxury jewellery pieces by the prestigious French jeweller and watchmaker Chaumet in collaboration with Kenyan artist, Evans Mbugua who is based in Paris. Trésors d’Afrique is third and final destination in the Mondes du Chaumet collection, a globe-trotting journey through jewels that has taken in the splendours of Russia, and Japan. Chaumet is inspired by the coming together of different cultures that celebrate and honour majestic femininity to create new ideas, imagined by their master jewellers who continually push the limits of what is possible with jewellery.
Water Hyacinth is a plant that takes root in waterways the world over, causing destruction to aquatic and plant eco-systems. For communities that rely on their waterways for food, livelihoods, and transportation water hyacinth blocks access to the water essential to their survival. In Nigeria, a local social enterprise, MitiMeth, is harvesting water hyacinth and turning it into functional handcrafted products, and empowering members of the local community.
I have mentioned my love of tea several times on the blog. For me, it is about more than justing drinking it, but rather a chance to take a break unwind, relax and reflect. So naturally, am drawn to brands that create an exceptional tea drinking experience. And recently discovered Sayra, a high-end tea house that celebrates the art and history of Moroccan tea drinking rituals.
HKA | Hermann Kamte & Associates is an award-winning architectural practice based in Yaounde, Cameroon. The practice was founded by Hermann Kamte, a rising star in architecture who seeks to bring a new dynamic to African architecture and introducing it to the international community. HKA is defining future living as it explores sustainable architecture with social impact, devising solutions that enable people and communities to live without negatively impacting their environment. An issue that is of increasing global concern.
Luxury footwear ZYNE, known for modernising the traditional Moroccan babouche slipper has launched an exclusive crystal embellished satin and raffia collection with the online luxury fashion portal Net-a-Porter. The collection features the brand’s signature style of jewel colour tones, elaborate embroidery and shimmering beads and sequins. For about ZYNE see my previous feature here.
Kenyan-based jewellery designer Adele Dejak turns to her Nigerian roots with Àmi, her latest luxury jewellery collection designed in collaboration with Afrominima, the Nigerian design and lifestyle brand by Olubunmi Adeyemi that fuses the ethos of Scandinavian style, Japanese minimalism with African heritage.
Salone del Mobile, the prestigious Italian furniture fair opens its doors today offering visitors the very best in international furniture design concepts. Salone del Mobile is also home to SaloneSatellite an event that spotlights promising young designers under 35 by giving them a platform to connect with manufacturers, buyers and talent scouts. Noted for launching the careers of designers such as Oki Sato of Nendo, this year’s SaloneSatellite theme is Africa/Latin America: Rising Design – Design Emergente and as such is presenting a group of designers representing both regions. Among those representing African design is Jomo Tariku, founder of Jomo Furniture who is unveiling a new design, The Nyala chair, which is inspired by the graceful curves of antelope horns; and alongside him Lani Adeoye founder of Studio Lani whose furniture is based on organic forms; and luxury lighting by textile design brand AMWA in collaboration with The Bespoke Boutique. Industrial designer Ifeanyi Oganwu who specializes in combining craft with engineering has previously participated in SaloneSatellite.
Babouches are a Moroccan slipper style of footwear. In their traditional form, they can be found in abundance in souks across the country. A favourite of tourists, babouches have now made the transition from colourful travel mementos to high fashion having turned up on the international catwalks in recent years courtesy of local designers such as Zineb Britel and Laura Pujol founders of the luxury footwear brand, ZYNE who are tapping into their heritages to modernise and elevate the Moroccan footwear.