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Africa.Now – Exploring Africa’s Creative Community With Design Indaba

  Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active […]

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Olivia Knox Accessories Inspired by The Beauty of Ankole Horn

  Olivia Knox is an interior accessories company born out of seeing the beauty in Ankole horn, which has a distinctive light ivory colour. The company was founded by Olivia Byanyima who hails from Uganda and lives in New York, and Shanley Knox from California, and is driven by the story of Olivia’s childhood in Uganda, where she spent a lot of time on her father’s ranch watching his herd of Ankole cattle roam the surrounding plains alongside buffalo, zebra, leopard, and lion.  

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Adele Dejak Launches Luxury Lifestyle Interior Accessories Collection

The Adele Dejak Lifestyle brand was launched in 2014 and brings the modern elegance and luxury Africa aesthetic of Adele Dejak jewellery designs to interior decor accessories and bespoke home products. The Adele Dejak Lifestyle collection includes stylish bowls, spoons, and candle holders all handcrafted from Ankole cow horn, which is sourced from Uganda and is a by-product of the beef industry.  

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Graphic Africa Celebrating Contemporary African Design

Heralded as being the first exhibition of its kind in London, September 14th saw the opening of Graphic Africa a thought-provoking showcase and insight into the emergence of innovative diverse contemporary African design aesthetics and all round creativity currently sweeping across the Continent. Highlighting that contemporary African design is offering something different and fresh to the international design market, the exhibition has generated something of a media buzz, and the impact of the exhibition not only for visitors but the designers themselves has been good to see.  [Image credit: Dokter and Misses Kassena Server taken by Tapiwa]

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LA DiOSA Luxury Statement Jewellery for Modern Goddesses

LA DiOSA is a London-based luxury statement jewellery design company that seeks to empower women, by designing signature statement jewellery, featuring colourful chunky gemstones in celebration of modern Goddesses everywhere. LA DiOSA was founded in 2007 by Ugandan-born Natasha Faith, and Semhal Zemikael born to Ethiopian/Eritrean parents; friends who first met whilst studying Philosophy, and now create their gorgeous designs from a showroom in Hatton Garden, London’s famed jewellery quarter. A combined interest in fashion, led the duo to exploring the idea of creating and selling their own jewellery. The name’ La Diosa’, means ‘Goddess’ in Spanish and as the name […]

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Contemporary African Art Fred Mutebi Master Woodcutter And Printmaker

Using a flat surface of wood and engraving or cutting out lines, the contemporary African art of Ugandan master woodcutter and printmaker, Fred Mutebi tells stories that document important events in Ugandan life, as well as going out into the community to observe and record day-to-day life. Fred’s colourful, intricate woodcarvings are laden with parables and metaphors and subject matter also extends to wider social issues having an effect across the African continent. [Image credit: Rhythms of Grace – Fred Mutebi]

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Vision for Africa And Ugandan Ceramics Pottery School

[Image credits: Ugandan Ceramics Pottery School] Closely aligned with Vision for Africa International, and Austrian based Christian organisation; Ugandan Ceramics is a pottery school based near Kampala, Uganda. Offering training in the various methods of ceramics production, the students who attend the school are given the opportunity to study with artists from Uganda and Europe, amongst them are former students who have gone on to become instructors themselves.

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Made In Africa Accessories Sseko Swiss Miss Clutch Bag Reader Offer

In February of last year I did a feature on the made in Africa accessories brand, Sseko sandals and how the business is helping young women in Uganda go on to higher education. This month the business marks its third year in business, significant in that it means three classes of women have graduated from Sseko and are now in university. To celebrate this achievement Sseko has just released The Swiss Miss Clutch, a range of handcrafted clutch bags, that are perfect accessories for day and night; and have kindly offered African Daydreams readers 10% of the new Swiss Miss Clutch bags valid from now until Tuesday, […]

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Bruno Sserunkuuma Contemporary African Ceramics

Rather like the illustrations from a storybook, the distinctive imagery adorning Ugandan ceramicist, Bruno Sserunkuuma’s work depict a social and cultural commentary of Ugandan life in the form of stylised figures and shapes, enhanced with elaborate patterns. [Image credit: Bruno Sserunkuuma, Ceramic Vessel – Afro Art]

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José Hendo Bark Cloth Sustainable Fashion Brand

An ancient craft performed by the Baganda people of the Buganda Kingdom in South Uganda Bark cloth is a unique material, made from beaten tree bark in a centuries old technique, and is considered to be the oldest manmade fabric resulting in it being declared a World Heritage Material in 2005. Bark cloth is the fabric of choice for sustainable fashion brand and Ugandan fashion designer José Hendo whose award-winning collection entitled Resonance was made entirely of the material. In a deep hued colour palette, the Resonance collection is quite futuristic, and features strong sculpted forms rather like Japanese origami, apt given […]

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Ndali Intense Fairtrade Vanilla Extract From Uganda

I love the taste and smell of vanilla; and find creamy vanilla ice-cream, the kind where you can just see the bean flecks, and light fluffy sponges made with real vanilla extract irresistible and comforting. Good quality vanilla bean pod sticks, extract and paste is valued by bakers and chefs looking to add that familiar rich flavour and intense aroma to their culinary creations. One brand favoured by some of the UK’s leading chefs is Ndali fairtrade vanilla, which comes from a 1000-acre farm located in the midst of the explosion craters of the Ndali Volcanic Field in Western Uganda; and is a […]

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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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Marking a Year of Blogging And Challenging Stereotypes

Wow, where has the time gone!!!! Today marks a year of blogging; researching, writing and posting as the blog turns one; and what a year it has been! Before I started the blog I was the person who dismissed blogging as a waste of valuable time… I take it back… the fact that I not only created, but have managed to maintain a blog for a year is a miracle in itself… I started the blog at a time of great change in my life and I guess the writing and researching became a cathartic process for me to make […]

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CrOp by David Peck Ugandan Photographs Fashion Collection

David Peck is an American fashion designer whose innovative custom made prints are turned into elegantly, quirky fashion collections. Launched for Spring/Summer 2011, CrOp by David Peck is a collection of some gorgeously feminine dresses, skirts and tops. It was the prints and the inspiration behind them that especially caught my attention; the collection entitled ‘Common Threads’ was based on a collaboration with Houston-based photojournalist Jamie Leigh Collier, whose photographs taken in different locations around Uganda were then translated by David into stunning custom fabrics used to make up the collection. Placed side by side you can immediately see the evocative quality […]

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Contemporary Ceramic Art Gloria Ssali Pursuing Her Artistic Dream

A long held passion for clay saw Ugandan-born ceramicist, Gloria Ssali give up a career as a pharmacist to pursue her dream fulltime time. Having moved to the UK with her family aged eleven; it was during a class she took during her senior school years that Gloria was first introduced to clay modelling and was instantly drawn into the craft. To achieve her goal of becoming a full-time artist, four years ago Gloria returned to college to train as a ceramicist experimenting with techniques and learning about the different types of clay. Describing her career change as a new chapter in […]

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GloRia WavaMunno Designs Modern East African Fashion

The GloRia WavaMunno brand of modern East African fashion is a true reflection of British-Ugandan fashion designer GloRia WavaMunno’s love and passion for individuality, sensuality and culture; defining threads that weave continuously throughout each collection she creates. Born in London and raised in London and Kampala, GloRia founded her eponymous label in 2009 shortly after graduating from university and debuted her first collection, ‘Love’ in the same year; as well as making her first catwalk appearance showcasing at South African Fashion Week followed by London Fashion Week a year later. [Image credit: Mwoyo, Sexuality; Spring/Summer 2009/2010 – GloRia WavaMunno]

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Sseko Designs Uganda Fashionable Shoes Made In Africa 

Sandals that help turn dreams into reality. Designing shoes made in Africa Sseko Designs is a sandal making company based in Kampala, Uganda; enabling young women to earn money to then fund their dreams of achieving a university education. Sseko Designs was set up by Liz, an American, who visited Uganda after graduating college in 2008. Whilst in Uganda Liz met the young women of the Cornstone community who were receiving their education through the Cornstone Leadership Academy. From what I understand the Ugandan education system has a gap of nine-months between completing secondary school and entering university, this is intended to allow students […]

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Paradise Coffee The Finest African Coffee Beans

Based in Kyiv, Ukraine; Kyiv Coffee Factory brings you a carefully selected range of the world’s best coffee including African coffee beans. The coffee is marketed under the brand name Paradise and comes beautifully packaged, it was through the packaging showcased on African Digital Art where I was introduced to the brand. Included in their offerings are some of the finest African coffee beans from: Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Uganda.

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Form and Functional Product Design From Kayiwa

[Image credit: Kayiwa] Based in Helsinki, Finland innovative product designer Lincoln Kayiwa was born into an architectural family in Kampala, Uganda. Constantly seeking out solutions to everyday problems and the betterment of existing products Lincoln launched his company, Kayiwa in 2007, displaying a clean and simple aesthetic approach to his designs, whilst keeping in mind the need for functionality.

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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