Press Enter / Return to begin your search.

Kenyan Artist Evans Mbugua For Chaumet Tresors D’afrique Jewellery Collection

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 […]

Read More

MitiMeth Turning Water Hyacinth Into Functional Handcrafted Products

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.

Read More

Zyne Turning Traditional Babouches Into Modern Moroccan Footwear

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.  

Read More

Reform Studio’s Eco-Friendly Fashion Accessories Made In Egypt

  Reform Studio is an Egyptian based furniture and product design studio that I first featured on Atelier Fifty Five a couple of years ago. The company founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem focuses on sustainable design, using materials such as discarded plastic and cotton threads to create Plastex, their durable, eco-friendly material. The award-winning studio now introduces Torero a collection of eco-fashion satchels made out of the company’s signature fabric and crafted by the skillful hands of two craftsmen and two housewives. Torero is all about style with a purpose.  

Read More

Traditional Nigerian Textiles Meet Contemporary African Design

Ethnik by T.O. is a stylish range of contemporary African design footwear and fashion accessories made with beautifully woven Aso Oke, a traditional Yoruba textile. The collection, launched in 2015, is the brainchild of photographer and designer Tunde Olowabi, who by tapping into his heritage is adding to the diverse creative voices shaping contemporary African design. [Main image credits: Ethnik by T.O. – Tunde Olowabi Studios]

Read More

LONDRÉ TAN Fashion Accessories Made in Africa for the Modern Woman

  LONDRÉ TAN is a luxury South African brand of fashion accessories that caters to the modern woman. Based in Johannesburg the brand was launched in 2014 by Lilian Muhammed, a fashion industry entrepreneur. Style, exceptional craftsmanship and luxury epitomizes Londré Tan’s collections which include handbags, belts, and jewellery. Named after a major South African city, each design pays homage to the diversity, rich culture and beauty of the country.

Read More

Calling All Emerging Accessory Designers Enter The ABURY Design Experience

If you are passionate about designing and producing accessories that not only look good but have a positive impact, then it is not too late to enter the Abury Design Experience (ADEx) competition to be in with a chance to create a capsule accessories collection for the sustainable luxury accessory brand, Abury. Abury’s ethos is to combine traditional, old-world crafts with avant-garde design to create a new luxury style that fosters intercultural exchange and helps preserves world crafts. And, now in its second year, ADEx is an international design competition- held in partnership with Harper’s Bazaar Germany -that builds on […]

Read More

Hermès Collaborates with Ardmore Artisans for The La Marche Du Zambèze Scarf

The luxury French fashion house, Hermès recently launched La Marche du Zambeze, a stunning silk twill scarf that was the result of a collaboration with South African ceramic studio, Ardmore. Celebrating African art and creativity the scarf was designed by Ardmore’s artisans. La Marche du Zambeze is set in the great river lands of the Zambezi tracing its course from the savannah to the delta marshes and features a majestic elephant at its centre, symbolising family and power. Gathered around the elephant are the creatures of his kingdom, giraffe, zebra, leopard, and crocodile. The river’s flora is silhouetted all around […]

Read More

Monaa Luxury African Inspired Shoes Made In Ghana

Nothing says summer more than a pair of comfortable, yet chic sandals. And, with the summer holidays having officially started in this part of the world, many a pair will have been tucked away into luggage bound for sun soaked destinations. And, whether or not you are going away for the holidays, every wardrobe needs a pair or two, or three… So just in time for summer, July has seen the launch of Monaa, a stylish collection of luxury African inspired shoes comprising leather sandals and slippers made in Ghana. [Main image credit: Princess Slipper in blue – Monaa]

Read More

Modern African Design Doreen Mashika Capsule Collection for eBay Germany

Some weeks back I did a feature on Kenyan jewellery designer, Gladys Macharia’s collaboration with Urbanara, as one of three winners of the Kenya-based ‘African Designers for Tomorrow‘ award. Another winner of competition was Doreen Mashika, who today as part of the award sees the launch of her covetable modern African design in the form of a jewellery and accessories capsule collection, Doreen Mashika for eBay, Germany, which was produced in collaboration with the online platform. [Main image credit: Beaded Bracelet – Doreen Mashika for eBay Germany]

Read More

Abury Ethical Luxury Where Old World Traditions Meet Cutting Edge Design

Abury is an ethical luxury fashion accessories brand whose ethos is one of combining old world traditions with cutting edge design to create a new style, one of timeless and authentic luxury. Abury is a response to mass production, inviting people to appreciate the beauty that is around them, to form emotional connections to the products they buy and to take the time to recognise the meaning of of true luxury that comes with tradition, time and care in production. Heritage, knowledge and wisdom are turned into timeless high quality products, that include bags, personal accessories and footwear for people […]

Read More

Maki & Mpho Modern Luxury African Design Where Asia Meets Africa

With Father’s Day on the horizon, Sunday 21st June for those who need reminding, I thought it would be apt to introduce a brand that focuses its creative attentions on our menfolk. Maki & Mpho, is a US-based textile brand that ‘celebrates the African renaissance’, by working with African designers to develop modern sophisticated prints for menswear accessories. Defining modern luxury African design the collections include elegant ties, pocket squares and bow ties made from silk twill. [Main image credit: SEVEN – Self-tie Diamond Tip Double-sided Bow Tie – Maki & Mpho]

Read More

Luxury South African Accessories Brand Okapi Launches in London

Luxury South African accessories brand Okapi, celebrated the launch of its first shop in London with a stylish summer soiree. Name after the elusive antelope, Okapi, was founded in 2008 by South African painter Hanneli Rupert and offers a stylish array of luxury artisanal handbags and accessories.  [Main image credit: Okapi London Shop – Okapi]

Read More
  • 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
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive