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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]

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Contemporary African Inspired Accessories Uphold Traditional Craft

Meaning ‘good’ in Maa, the language of the Maasai, ‘Sidai’ is the name given to a business creating contemporary African inspired accessories by infusing traditional beading with modern aesthetics. The company was inspired by a visit to Arusha, in Northern Tanzania. Sidai Designs was founded by, Eszter Rabin, a graphic designer turned artisan entrepreneur living in California, and Emanuel Melubo Laizer, a Maasai Warrior from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Northern Tanzania. Discovering a mutual interest in working with underserved communities, Emanuel and Eszter joined forces in 2009 to share ideas, and after several visits to Maasai communities launched Sidai Designs in 2011. […]

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Uru Diamonds Ethical East African Jewellery And Fashion Accessories

It is no secret the African Continent is blessed with diamonds that are coveted the world over, and harnessing this mineral wealth should come with social responsibilities. However, as we all know this is not always the case, especially when it comes to conflict free diamonds. East African jewellery company, Uru Diamonds based in Tanzanian is a company that works with conflict free diamonds and precious stones, to produce contemporary jewellery collections. The company name ‘Uru’ comes from a very old Swahili term describing a powerful essence; used here to invoke the days of ancient African Kings and Queens where diamonds were […]

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Architect David Adjaye Furniture Collection For Knoll

‘…unless I truly loved it, there was no point in my doing it’, words that formed part of a pitch for the resulting David Adjaye furniture collection that saw London-based architect David Adjaye turn his hand to furniture design, producing his first collection in collaboration with iconic American furniture and fabric brand, Knoll. Currently celebrating 75 years of pioneering design, to mark the occasion Knoll sought to persuade two of the world’s leading architects; British-Ghanaian David Adjaye, and Dutch-born Rem Koolhaus into taking a brief detour from their usual work of redrawing skylines and taking on a spot of product design. Why the need for […]

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Singita Mara River Tented Camp Afro Chic Interior Design

    Luxury game reserve specialist, Singita introduce a new camp to their safari camp and lodges portfolio. The Singita Mara River Tented camp in Tanzania is located in the remote Lamai Triangle region, the northern most tip of the Serengeti National Park. In keeping with the laidback luxury style of their other properties in South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, (see the Singita Pamushana Lodge featured here), preview pictures of the new camp reveal a refreshing, modern take on the safari chic aesthetic by channeling a modern Afro chic interior design. [Image credit/source: Mara Tented River Camp – Singita]

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Jacqueline Kibacha Avant-garde African Inspired Jewellery

A string of approximately 365 crystal beads and a silver clasp in the shape of a heart inspired the name for Tanzanian jewellery designer Jacqueline Kibacha’s handcrafted African inspired jewellery and fashion accessories label. Based in London, her jewellery label Heart 365 Emporium incorporates traditional Maasai beading with the drama of bold designs, colours, and layered textures. [Image credit: Uhuru’s Wings Neckpiece – Heart 365 Emporium]

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Shanga Lamps Modern African Home Decor Accessories

Hurricane Lamps can be both decorative and functional when used as part of contemporary interior decor accents, especially when it comes to outdoor use, where the subdued light emitted is ideal for evenings spent on the verandah on a warm summers night and with some styles allowing for the insertion of mosquito repellant oils comes the added bonus of helping to keep the bugs at bay. Hurricane lamps were adapted from oil lamps used by sailors and comprise a glass chimney with a perforated metal lid that lets air escape whilst protecting the internal flame from being blown out. [Image […]

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FIGS Fashion Inspired Global Sophistication Luxury Neckwear

Attending an all girl’s school, my senior school uniform was not the most attractive thing, well at least until I entered sixth form. In the summer terms it was a short-sleeved belted green and white check affair that was far from figure flattering, improving in the winter term when it changed to a bottle green tunic and a khaki long sleeved blouse complete with tie, both styles would be topped off with bottle green cardigans or pullovers. Sixth form brought a much more smarter grown up look in bottle green a-line skirts, khaki short and long sleeved blouses which we […]

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Mikuti Beaded Maasai Bangles African Inspired Jewellery

[Imagecredit: Musa Bangle – Mikuti] Get a glimpse into a vibrant part of Tanzanian culture with these gorgeously colourful African inspired jewellery bangles from Mikuti; a socially active company founded by US-based Erika Freund, who after spending time in the country as a volunteer set up the business to produce simple yet striking jewellery designs in partnership with various artists, individuals and workshops in Tanzania. Inspired by the colourful and distinctive Maasai jewellery and beaded adornment, the ‘Musa Bangles’ are hand cut and shaped into a circle of polished aluminium that comes from an airplane wing and is accentuated with two colourful swathes […]

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Contemporary African Art The Wonder Welders Of Tanzania

Invite Africa’s wildlife into your living space with these striking metal contemporary African art sculptures from Wonder Welders; a social enterprise based in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. Wonder Welders was formed in 2004 when a group of adults afflicted with polio came together and established a welder’s workshop with support from a local charity, Blue Mango Photography, along with donations of scrap metal from local businesses. After receiving initial training from a local welding expert the members soon began creating a range of objects including wildlife, birds and boats sold to contemporary African art lovers in the local market. [Image credit: Large Flamingo […]

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ASOS Africa Fashion Collection Produced by SOKO Kenya

The Green Room is fashion retail giant ASOS’s platform for brands with a story to tell – those with a social or environmental ethos and includes ASOS Africa fashion collections, ASOS.com own brand creations, People Tree, Swedish Hasbeens and designer collaborations. Now in its third season the latest collection from ASOS Africa defines laid back style in a softer palette of neutral tones and warm rich colours, and is a departure from the signature bold prints and colours used in previous collections. Made from linens and hand-woven fabrics with flashes of Kitenge fabric from Tanzania, the collection is produced exclusively for ASOS in Kenya by clothing production […]

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Chichia London Feminine Eye-Catching African Print Fashion

Pattern and texture collide, through the colourful eye-catching prints that make up Chichia London’s pretty and youthful African print fashion collections. I just love the imagery of the ‘Made in Dar‘ Spring/Summer 2010 collection shown here… they give a beautiful vintage feel to the clothing. [Image credit: SS 2010 – Chichia London]

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Luxury Africa Travel To The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Tanzania

[Image credit: Tanzania Odyssey] Drift lazily high above the Serengeti plains in a hot air balloon, getting a spectacular birds-eye view of natural breathtaking phenomenon like the must-see wildebeest migration. Then once you land, sit down to a full breakfast set-up under the shade of an Umbrella tree amid the peaceful surroundings of the Serengeti plains. Just one of the many memorable experiences to be enjoyed in the Serengeti National Park within whose eastern border you will find the Ngorongoro Crater, the remains of a massive volcano nearly three million years old and a World Heritage Site.

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  • 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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  • 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