#AmazeAfrica is a Samsung initiative pairing 7 accessories designers with 7 fashion designers from across the continent to create unique artistic collaborations and to start a cross-continent conversation about a new African design aesthetic. In line with Samsung’s global positioning of Accelerating Discoveries & Possibilities, the #AmazeAfrica vision is to be a premium platform to showcase Africa’s immense creative fashion and design talent.
The results will be showcased at the Samsung #AmazeAfrica show at the opening night of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa next Wednesday evening at Pretoria City Hall.
Inspired by technology, the participating designers have worked together to create a collaborative aesthetic that will come to life in four exclusive looks. Following the show, the garments and accessories will be on display in a specially curated gallery space. Notebook bags, note covers and pouches for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 & Gear complimented by the Note 10.1, Note 8 and S4 Zoom are all a part of the limited edition premium hand-crafted range.
The participating designers are:
Marianne Fassler (South Africa)
Marianne Fassler has spent two decades in the fashion business. She operates from Leopard Frock, her creative workshop in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. She sells garments and separates off the peg and also consults with individual clients by appointment. Inspired by her unique, modern vision of Africa, Marianne shows extensively at fashion week and has collaborated with local and international artists.
Most recently she showed a special collection at La Ferme du Buisson in Noisiel, Paris. In May 2013 Marianne collaborated with award-winning artist Kudzanai Chiurai on his new piece, 16SNVL. The costume made for this exhibition is currently on the “Harvest of Thorns” exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. She was also represented at the 10th Triennale, Materials Revisited, at the Museum fur Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt Germany Oct 2011- Jan 2012. Marianne has won many accolades over her extensive career, including the Marie Claire Prix d’Excellence de la Mode in 2008, and the AFI African Fashion Award for Exceptional Contribution to Fashion in Africa 2010.
Quamta (South Africa)
Pieter Jansen van Rensburg is the founder and Creative Director of Quamta, a luxury accessories company with strong roots in Africa. His passion for superior craftsmanship and design sprung from a rich and diverse career broadened by his extensive international experience in visual communications, brand consulting, accessory design and a European education in luxury design. The Quamta brand is known for its selective sourcing of exotic and luxury skins handcrafted to produce a refined design aesthetic. Quamta is sold predominantly in luxury boutiques throughout America, Asia and Europe.
Taibo Bacar (Mozambique)
Taibo Bacar was born in Mozambique in 1985 and originally studied Information Technologies. The son of a seamstress, Bacar grew up around the sounds of sewing machines, fabrics and the design sketches that he drew for some of his mother’s clients. He left IT and moved to Spain where he took a course in design and pattern cutting at the Instituto Marangoni. In 2007, Taibo created the brand TAIBO BACAR, today there are two simultaneous lines in each collection: TB (prêt-a-porter) and TAIBO BACAR couture (high fashion). Inspired by fabrics, he works in silk mousselines, guipour lace, mesh and the traditional capulana. Silhouettes are often structured, accentuating the female body and placing emphasis on the waist.
Pichulik (South Africa)
Katherine-Mary Pichulik is the founder and designer of Pichulik – a bespoke range of bold accessories made in Cape Town, South Africa. Designed out of rope and found materials, this ornamentation is inspired by Africa and adventures to exotic places. Katherine-Mary graduated from Michaelis UCT with a BFA Fine Arts and completed a diploma in patiserrie. After travels across India and Spain working at bakeries and on organic farms. Katherine-Mary returned to Cape Town to begin Pichulik in August 2012. In 2013 Pichulik was nominated as the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa and Katherine-Mary was nominated as a rising star by House & Leisure magazine. The brand has collaborated on a handbag line with Lalesso and Pichulik is worn by celebrities including Solange Knowles and the Williams sisters.
Laurenceairline (Cote D’ Ivoire/France)
Born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud graduated from the prestigious Parisian Studio Berçot fashion school. After her studies, Laurence joined Marc Jacobs’ creative team at Louis Vuitton, and was hired as a trend reporter for the iconic French TV fashion broadcast Habillé(e)s on Canal+. In 2009, she launched LaurenceAirline, her menswear brand that draws on contemporary timeless silhouettes that are deeply rooted in Africa.
The brand is reflective of Chauvin-Buthaud’s itinerant global lifestyle and is absolutely relevant on today’s cross-cultural stage. LaurenceAirline is made in accordance with conscious and sustainable manufacturing practices. This takes place in the brand’s Koumassi workshop in Cote D’Ivoire, where local people are trained in sewing techniques by workshop manager Christina Schatzeder to manufacture garments that meet high international quality standards. The concept that fashion and ethnic cultures can successfully collaborate to create possibilities for the future is the driving force behind LaurenceAirline. Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud is one the faces of the Diesel+Edun campaign and Studio Africa. She was awarded the Best Emerging Talent at the Africa Fashion Awards in November 2012.
Missibaba (South Africa)
Missibaba is a luxury leather accessory label established by Chloe Townsend. Passionate about South Africa and supporting local industry Townsend works from a studio in Woodstock, Cape Town, experimenting with texture and colour that continuously push the boundaries of imagination. Listed as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 young South Africans to watch and winner of the prestigious Marie Claire Prix d’Excellence de la Mode Business Savvy Accessories Designer award, Townsend’s designs are in high demand with both local and international clientele who appreciate the high-colour, hand-crafted individuality and exclusivity of the Missibaba range. Missibaba shares a flagship store in Bree Street, Cape Town, with jewellery designer Kirsten Goss. Plans are in motion to open a second Missibaba store in Johannesburg in 2014 and for Townsend and business partner Lizel Strydom to begin actively marketing the brand on the global stage.
1981 by Nana Brenu (Ghana/Italy)
1981 is the brain child of Nana Kweku Brenu, a Ghanaian-born designer living in Milan. Born in Ghana, Nana Brenu moved to Canada at the age of 19 to attend Mcgill University. After completing a Bachelors Degree in Latin American Studies he completed the fashion design programme at Parsons School of Design in New York. While studying at Parsons he interned for Armani Exchange and John Varvatos. Following Parsons, Brenu completed the Masters program at the world renowned Istituto Marangoni in Milan Italy where he had the opportunity to develop projects for Italian brands such as Valentino Red, GAS Jeans and Frankie Morello, just to name a few. Upon completion of his program he was hired by GianCesare Conca Studio. Brenu was in charge of developing accessories for the brands the studio designed – Mila Schon and Ports 1961 – as well as research for the upcoming collections. Under the guidance of Mr. Conca the owner of the studio, he developed and honed a strong design language. After three years at Conca studio he left to found his own label, 1981, where he currently serves at the creative director.
Adele Dejak (Kenya/Uganda)
Adèle Dejak is a luxury fashion accessories brand designed and handmade in East Africa using reclaimed and recycled materials from countries in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The company specialises in handbags and jewellery but also produces clothes, belts, sandals and other fashion accessories. The brand is an inspiring combination of strong African style and materials with European designs. Each piece is designed by the owner and founder Adèle Dejak and assembled by some of the most talented artisans in Kenya. Each piece is unique and intimately connected to the culture and environment in which it is produced and where the materials are sourced.
In 2011 Adèle Dejak was singled out as one of 16 highly acclaimed designers working in Africa and asked to join the Design Network Africa (DNA) and was part of the DNA exhibition that took place during the 2013 London Design Festival, in collaboration with Habitat London. The Adèle Dejak brand is at the forefront of the African luxury movement as it draws on rich African heritage to create products which celebrate beauty and design in Africa. The brand has collaborated with Salvatore Ferragamo, Abury Berlin, Milan Fashion Week Vogue Talents, La Rinascente and Fidenza Village Italy.
Projecto Mental (Angola)
Shunnoz Fiel and Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga are the design duo behind Angolan fashion brand Projecto Mental. Projecto Mental was created in 2003 with the initial goal of using fashion and art to try to take an active role in helping to reshape Angola’s cultural image. In the past few decades Angola emerged as a country rich not only in natural resources, but with a raw youth movement that Projecto Mental led the way in bringing fashion to a platform of worldwide attention and acknowledgment by the Angolan cultural references but also translating them to a global customer and audience.
Since then, the brand has grown exponentially, with a clientele that includes artists, musicians, politicians, businessmen, and the general public. Projecto Mental was voted Designers of the Year in Angola in 2007 and 2008 by Moda Luanda (Luanda Fashion Week), and were runners up in 2009 and 2010 by Moda Luanda (Luanda Fashion Week). In October, 2011, they received an award for their contribution to helping promote Angolan fashion nationally and internationally by Belas Fashion Week in Angola. For the past three seasons, they have presented collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo.
Robert Topping of Rift Valley Leather (Kenya)
Since its inception in 2008/9, Design and Technical Manager of Rift Valley Leather Ltd, Robert Topping has been responsible for product design and development, training, machinery and equipment, and manufacturing processes of the Kenya-based accessories brand. Topping has 38-years experience in leather goods. Following art school he self-taught himself leather crafting, and began making and selling sandals, belts and bags. He enrolled at Cordwainers College, London (specialist college for footwear, leather goods and saddlery), where he trained in leather goods design and manufacture. This preceded a tenure with a London handbag manufacturer, where he worked as a master craftsman and pattern cutter; before becoming a self employed master craftsman, designer.
He returned to Cordwainers to lecture in leather Goods Design and Manufacture; he continued to teach for 12 years. During this time he worked with a leading leather company as as master craftsman engaged in product development, and the installation of interior leatherwork, private and corporate, in UK, Europe and USA. He has travelled extensively (Africa, India, Nepal) as teacher/consultant engaging with people from village artisan level to large-scale industrial production level. Topping is now settled and married in Kenya. His aim is to continue to develop and grow Rift Valley Leather Ltd, and to contribute his skills, knowledge and experience towards the growth of the leather and allied sectors in Kenya. Rift Valley Leather Ltd runs a continuous training programme educating next level artisans.
Loin Cloth & Ashes (Tanzania/South Africa)
Anisa Mpungwe, founder of Loin Cloth and Ashes was born in Tanzania and raised in South Africa. A graduate of the London College of Fashion, Mpungwe founded Loin Cloth and Ashes on her return to South Africa in 2008. Winner of the Elle New Talent Award, she has shown at fashion weeks in Angola, Sweden and New York – alongside the AFI Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week platforms in South Africa. Inspired by art, music, colour, shape, and all the creativity borne of volatile emotions, Loin Cloth & Ashes is an intrinsically African brand that loves a woman who is powerful and confident and carries her beauty proudly.
A standalone Loin Cloth & Ashes store is located in the Johannesburg Maboneng precinct, and most recently Anisa followed Henry Holland as the chosen celebrity designer to showcase a collaborative range with South African retailer Mr Price. The brand has a large following, including everyday heroes and local and international celebrities, including Solange Knowles.
Doreen Mashika (Tanzania)
Doreen Mashika creates bags and shoes inspired by East Africa. The designer was born and raised in Tanzania, and studied and worked in Switzerland, before returning to her native country and opening a standalone store in Zanzibar. She began her career in the financial sector, specialising in luxury goods fund management, where she had her first contact with the fashion industry and designers, providing her with a Known for her ethical approach to fashion, she has shown at Ethical Fashion Show Paris March 2012, Origin Africa Ethiopia April 2012 and the WWD Magic Launch Pad Las Vegas USA August 21-23 2012. She is inspired by a deep sense of affection for the cultural heritage and wealth of design possibilities in Africa.
Black Coffee (South Africa)
Emerging from South Africa at a time when personal identity was the new differentiator, Black Coffee puts a distinct face on local fashion. Historically aware, self-referential and conceptually grounded, the energy which drives the label is consistent, but the results are never the same. Their innovative thinking combined with meticulous construction and attention to detail, have placed them at the forefront of South African fashion. Jacques van der Watt’s design approach is deeply referential, meticulously engineered and ultimately divergent. It’s an ethos that embraces contrast and re-shapes traditions with an intuitive twist. The result is mysteriously familiar yet refreshingly distinct, occupying a space somewhere between history and imagination. In the fifteen years since its formation, Black Coffee has shown at South African, Cape Town, San Francisco, Berlin and New York Fashion Weeks.
The label has been nominated five times for the SA Fashion Awards and has won twice (in 2001 and 2007). In 2009 they won the Mercedes Benz Art Award with an installation that is now a permanent part of the Daimler-Chrysler art collection. In 2010 they won Best Designer in a new awards ceremony hosted by African Fashion International. ‘Everyonecanbeadesigner’ is the label’s diffusion brand. Launched in 2007, Black Coffee created a totally new clothing solution: one garment that transforms into as many as five variations, each with its own look and style. This is an entire range which can fit in one suitcase – a ‘capsule range’ ideal for the demands of a modern lifestyle and a must have for travel.
Albertus Swanepoel (South Africa/USA)
Born and bred in Pretoria, South Africa, Albertus Swanepoel moved to New York City after a seven year career as a critically acclaimed fashion designer in Johannesburg under his Quartus Manna label. In 1987 he won the Coty Award as top designer in his country. Albertus trained in New York as a milliner under Janine Galimard, who worked for Balenciaga in Paris in the 50s and 60s. He assisted the well known hat designer Lola for several years on a freelance basis and also Lynne Mackey, a theatrical milliner. In 2000, he briefly acted as Style Editor for Martha Stewart Wedding magazine. From 2004, Albertus began collaborating with several New York designers for their runway presentations.
He continues to this day and the list of designers include Marc by Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Carolina Herrera, Peter Som, Erin Fetherston, Rodarte, Diane Von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Nathan Jenden, Costello Tagliapietra, Narciso Rodriquez, Richard Chai, Derek Lam, Suno, Bill Blass, DKNY and Jason Wu. His company, Albertus Swanepoel LLC, which designs and produces handmade hats to a select number of stores in the US and internationally, was formed in 2006. He has done collaborations with Target, Stetson Hats, Club Monaco and J. Crew. Celebrity clients include Julia Roberts, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Aretha Franklin and Nikki Minaj. In 2009 he was chosen to take part in the Steven Jones exhibition ‘Hats- an Anthology’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This subsequently moved to the Bard Graduate Centre in NYC. In 2008 Albertus was awarded as one of the two runners-up for the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Award. This was followed by a nomination in 2009 for the Swarovski CFDA Accessory Award. In 2010 he was awarded the AFI Africa Fashion Awards Accessory Designer of the Year and was nominated for a WGSN award for Best Accessory Designer.