Design Indaba Expo celebrates 10 years this year, having been running anually since 2004. It has grown to become the biggest curated design event in the Southern Hemisphere and is the only platform that welcomes homegrown advertising, craft, decor, fashion, product design, industrial design, new media, publishing, visual art, jewellery design and graphic design, all under one roof.
Often SA designers are at their busiest before showing at the Design Indaba Expo. Minimal sleep and countless hours go into designing and building stands and hand-making enough stock to sell over the four day affair which sees more than 35 000 people through the doors each year. The expo is also used as a platform to launch new statement pieces or entire new collections.
We took a behind the scenes look at the making of the Expo through studio and workshop visits with a selection of Cape Town based exhibitors. Next week we’ll take a look at the Joburg designers prepping for the event.
First up: Adriaan Kuiters
Adriaan Kuiters is the clothing and accessories label of South African born designer, Keith Henning. Named after his grandfather, the brand began after Keith made a switch from Industrial and Furniture design to become a self-trained fashion designer.
The label launched with a capsule collection of menswear and luggage, and today has grown to include womenswear and leather sandals and accessories. Keith releases two collections a year and adds to that interesting limited edition pieces made in collaboration with local artists. Most notable of these is Keith’s collaboration with artist Jody Paulsen which resulted in – among other beautiful pieces – their signature ‘eyes’ fabric.
The Adriaan Kuiters studio can be found in Cape Town’s CBD and is where each garment – known for quality materials and impeccable tailoring – is made. The Adriaan Kuiters store is shared with womenswear label Take Care at 73 on Kloof.
Pichulik is an accessories brand by woman of many talents, Katherine-Mary Pichulik. Kat launched her first bold line of embellished rope jewellery in 2012 and in 2013 showed at Design Indaba as part of the Emerging Creatives programme. Also in 2013, her Golden Fold Necklace was nominated as the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. Pichulik has collaborated with local and international brands Laslesso, Stefania Morland, Loin Cloth & Ashes, Alexis Barrell, Taibo Bacar and Kisua. At this year’s DI Expo she’ll be sharing a stand with studio mate, Jasper Eales.
Product Designer Jasper Eales shares a studio with Pichulik at The Woodstock Exchange where he designs and makes functional products with an emphasis on simplicity, sustainability, flat-packability, disassembly and eco-design for his company, Jasper Eales Original. Jasper’s Jabba Surf Rack was nominated by Mail & Guardian Editor-in-Chief, Chris Roper, as the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa for 2014. Find out how to vote for your favourite here.
Oh Dear Megan is a proudly local jewellery design and manufacturing studio founded by Megan Fogarty. Known for reworking old South African coins and found objects in her pieces, Megan’s creations are a wearable homage to the land of our birth. Oh Dear Megan launches their Africana Collection at this year’s Design Indaba Expo. With Africa as its muse, the multi-dimensional collection incorporates diamonds and colourful stone to add a fresh and complex dimension to Megan’s range.
When we checked in with Mareth van der Walt and Colleen Lesch, the forceful fashion duo behind label MarethColleen, they were building their Design Indaba Expo stand on a farm outside of Malmesbury. Which explains the sparks above. The designers’ partnership which first began as a single wedding dress has since developed into a fully-fledged production of ready-to-wear women’s apparel.
Using locally sourced talent and materials as a based, Mareth and Colleen produce a diverse range of garments that combines clean lines and strong silhouettes with unexpected design elements and whimsical finishes. Think beading, embellishment, interesting textures and fabrics. Their need for intricate beadwork has resulted in a fledgling community upliftment project that empowers rural individuals through skills development.
MarethColleen released their Kingdoms collection earlier this month. See it and more at Design Indaba Expo.
A previous DI Emerging Creative, Famke Koene is the talented designer behind her self-titled jewellery label. Sharing a studio in the East City with Oh Dear Megan, Famke designs and manufactures intricate and interesting have-to-have pieces. Known for her use of found skeletal structures and bones in her work, Famke’s Design Indaba display will also showcase her love of collecting vintage treasures and knick-knacks from times gone by. Her work stands to bridge the gap between contrasting worlds, and the resulting pieces are both visually captivating and poetic in their simplistic depth.
Visit Design Indaba Expo:
Tickets R80 (online or at the door)
Pensioners and Students: R60 (at the door only)
Children (10 to 18 years old): R45 (at the door only)
Under 10: free