Empowering Young Girls Through Educated Fashion

I love hearing about brands that seek innovate ways to make a difference in the world and was immediately captivated by the story behind Le Dessein, no ordinary fashion brand. Based in the US, Le Dessein uses fashion to educate and empower young girls in developing countries and has a goal of educating 10,000 girls in ten years. And, what is different about the business model is that rather than simply creating a collection and selling the clothes, they have chosen to make the girls they support an active part of the brand. This is achieved by embroidering art sketches created by the girls into the clothing collections. By doing this not only do you get to support the provision of education -25% of the profits goes towards their annual tuition- but you also get a personal connection to the brand’s ethos and more importantly the girls themselves get a boost to their self-esteem in knowing their sketches are out in the world, being worn.
[Main image credit: Le Dessein Rayee Dress – FrenchMorning.com]
Read More

Farewell to Contemporary African Furniture Designer Babacar Niang

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an exhibition opening on the 24th March in New York that would feature the work of Senegalese furniture designer Babacar Niang, amongst others. It is therefore with great sadness and shock that I just learnt of Babacar’s passing on the 25th March 2015. The contemporary African furniture designer, working through his studio Nulangee, possessed a unique design vision that brought forth sublime designs infused with his trademark lifelike qualities. A great talent, Babacar’s passing leaves a void in Africa’s burgeoning design industry, one that will be keenly felt.
May you rest in peace Babacar.
Read More

Sustainable Design Legacy Of Furniture Designer Baay Xaaly Sene

Cutting, hammering and soldering discarded metals such as train tracks, barrels and wheels, and turning them into elegant, stylish, collectable objects was the trademark of Senegalese artist and furniture designer Baay Xaaly Sene. The furniture designer, who died in October 2004, left behind a body of work that is sought after by discerning collectors for its pops of bright colours and contemporary classic forms that combine art and functionality.
[Image credit: Moscow apartment of Russian designer, Dmitry Velikovsky showing
Baay Xaaly Sene Armchair – Architectural Digest]
Read More

Chouette Mama Natural Restorative West African Skin care

The soothing, nourishing, regenerating and healing properties of West Africa’s indigenous plant life forms the basis of a range of 100% natural African skin care products formulated by Senegalese based business, Chouette Mama. The business was founded in 2007 by Phil and Geraldine Pernin, a French couple with an interest in botany, that led them to relocate to Popenguine, a small village on the Senegalese coast with idea of setting up a laboratory creating a natural African skin care brand based around plants that have been used locally for generations.

Read More

Artlantique Contemporary African Furniture From Senegal

Weathered by the elements, wood salvaged from old or discarded fishing boats is given a new lease of life as contemporary furniture collections, whilst retaining the hallmarks of its former life. Along the coasts of West Africa fishermen have long been a common sight, making daily trips into the ocean in brightly coloured narrow boats crafted by highly skilled craftsmen; and it is this connection between fishing and carpentry that inspired Artlantique to produce its distinctive and colourful contemporary African furniture, which design in Spain by Ramón Llonch and handcrafted in Senegal by a team of master craftsmen.
[Image credit: Commode Thies – Artlantique]
Read More

African Print And Afro Chic Interior Design Inspiration

An explosion of clashing colour and pattern characterises an idyllic holiday home in Senegal that I came across on the blog, Africa Moto. Located in the popular resort town of Saly, simple outdoor living is the order of the day conveyed in a mix of local, regional and Parisian influences that offer up Afro Chic interior design inspiration. A striking feature of the house is how it is decorated with African print.
[Image credits: Senegalese Holiday home – Elle Decoration France/M P Morel]
Read More

Loman Art Upcycled Creations Contemporary African Art

Creating poetry, songs and works of art, designer Loman Pawlitschek is the embodiment of the term ‘creative spirit’. Creating mobiles and other decorative art features like mirrors, Loman is committed to upcycling, taking unwanted and discarded scrap metals and materials, turning them into functional contemporary African art objects of value. Originally from Australia, Loman and her family moved to South Africa for a few years where she worked as an interior decorator, before moving to Dakar, Senegal where she has lived for four years; and where her business Loman Art is based. Dakar has been a source of inspiration for Loman who draws inspiration from the city; the energy, the people and the weather amongst other things, saying that what she has found in Senegal has inspired her to do things differently from the norm and to try and make a difference.
 [Image credits: Loman ArtSandy Haessner]
Read More