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Designer Masks to Keep You Safe and Fashionable

To say it’s been an ‘interesting’ few months would be a gross understatement as life as we know it has been turned on its head. And oh how quickly we adapt. Now I don’t think twice now about grabbing a mask and a pair of gloves before heading out for essential reasons. With some countries starting to ease their imposed lockdown restrictions it has become increasingly clear we are not safe yet and that masks are going to be an essential everyday accessory for some months if not years to come.

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Tanzanian Visual Artist Happy Chikoyo Robert Capturing the Essence of Womanhood

While browsing LinkedIn I came across a post highlighting the work of Happy Chikoyo Robert, a Tanzanian female visual artist. Happy who lives and works in Dar es salaam was born in Songe, the southern part of Tanzania. Her interest in art began early in her life by working with beads and creating drawings. Her work focuses on capturing the female form and essence; and expressing their feelings and beauty. An emerging artist hailed as one to watch. Happy is quietly building a name for herself developing her art skills and experience under the mentorship of fellow Tanzanian artist Haji […]

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5 Chefs Bringing The Flavours of West African Cuisine to International Foodies

Africa has yet to make a permanent mark on international cuisine. Pop up experiences and cookbooks like The Groundnut Cookbook, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Hibiscus have introduced culinary enthusiasts to the diverse tastes of African flavours. Serving as worthy introductions to what the continent has to offer these pioneers have only just scratched the surface. The sheer diversity of Africa’s regions and cultures means there are more exciting taste experiences waiting to be brought forth.

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Kova’s Timeless Stylish Leather Accessories Made in Namibia

Taking its name from the Oshiwambo word ‘onkova’ meaning leather Kova is a premium brand of classically, stylish leather bags and accessories designed and made in Namibia. The business was founded in 2017 by Petrina Auino-Mwandingi, a Naturopathic doctor. Her interest in natural medicine led her toward embracing a holistic approach to healthcare. She runs her own health and wellness practice helping her clients to live as healthy as they can naturally. She started Kova as a way of tapping into her creative side and to show that affordable well-made products can be made locally without having to always look abroad. […]

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Duro Olowu’s Vibrant Patterned Textile Collection For Soane Britain

Fashion designer Duro Olowu has designed a textile collection for furniture brand Soane Britain. The collection sees Olowu’s signature style of colourful clashing patterns meet the furniture maker’s quintessential English sensibility. The collection came about after Olowu posted a picture of the Soane Britain storefront on his Instagram page. Founder Lulu Lytle saw it and reach out, beginning a conversation that uncovered a mutual interest in a love of pattern, deep respect for craftsmanship, and brought forth similar ideas for a textile range.

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The Elaborate Ancient Craftsmanship Of Handmade Batik Textiles

Batik is an ancient textile production technique with roots in Indonesia. In Africa batik has a long history and is still used today to produce local textiles with techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation usually mother to daughter. The Creation of Handmade Batik In Ghana is a fascinating visual essay that takes the viewer through the elaborate process. Part of a Google Arts and Culture feature the story was documented by Rahmée, founder of The Justine Project who travelled to Ghana to the Accra studio of Kwame a local batik artist who took her through the […]

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What Having A Dedicated Startup Act Means For Africa’s Creative Entrepreneurs

When I heard of the move by several African countries to adopt an official Startup Act my first thought was it’s about time. Having spent over 10 years promoting the work of and supporting African designers and the African design industry the one thing I hear a lot of in my conversations with designers and other industry professionals is a wish that local governments do more to support startups and entrepreneurs.

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S2 Ep 7 Behind The Design Season 2 Wrap Up and Reflections

You are listening to Behind the Design episode #7 the Studio Lessons. Which brings us to the end of season 2. It has been another inspiring season, and I thank all my guests for taking the time to chat and give us a behind the scenes look into their design journeys. I’ve loved discovering their motivations and the challenges and rewards that come from doing what they do.

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S2 Ep 6 Creating Sustainable Livelihoods Through the Creative Economy with Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro Founder MitiMeth

In this episode, I chat with entrepreneur Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro. Achenyo is the founder of MitiMeth. An award-winning social enterprise based in Nigeria with a mission of creating sustainable livelihoods through the creative economy. Working with local communities MitiMeth takes water hyacinth, an evasive destructive weed, and upcycles it into personal and interior accessories.

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S2 Ep4 Talking Self-belief, the Responsibility that Comes with Privilege and Having the Confidence to Seize the Opportunities with Thabisa Mjo

In this episode, I chat with Thabisa Mjo. Thabisa is the designer, behind Mash.T an award-winning Johannesburg based design studio that is contributing to the continuing evolution of a home-grown contemporary South African design aesthetic.Thabisa started out in the TV industry designing sets and moved into creating spaces that people in the real world could interact with

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S2 Ep 3 Building on the Legacy of the Family Business and Nurturing the Next Generation with Audrey Forson

In this episode, I chat with Audrey Forson. Audrey is a furniture designer, and the managing director of Tekura, her family’s business in Ghana. Taking over the helm from her mother Josephine who started Tekura with the support of her husband Kweku, Audrey is now taking the business to the next level. In our conversation, we talk about family business, the meaning of legacy and the importance of leaving something for, and nurturing the next generation. 

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S2 Ep 2 Having the Courage to Step Away from Your Dream and Start Over with Lola Ukinamemen of Agnes & Lola

In this episode, I chat with Lola Ukinamemen. Lola is the founder of the fashion and lifestyle brand, Agnes & Lola, a platform that pioneered the retail and therefore availability of African fashion to international audiences. Since then Agnes & Lola has undergone significant changes as Lola went back to the drawing board closing it down for a while before returning to start over from scratch. In this conversation we chat about letting go, having the courage to walk away from a dream when things are not working out as you hoped. Dealing with the internal shame of giving up […]

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S2 Ep 1 Welcome to Season 2 of Behind the Design

Welcome to episode 1 of the second season of Behind The Design. This season I bring you more great conversation and insight into the work of amazing creative talent from across Africa and in the diaspora. And I must say thank you for the comments I have received so for about episodes in the first season. I am so glad to hear how much some of the conversations have resonated and inspired you. And I have passed the comments onto my guests. I hope you will find this season just as inspiring, and I am looking forward to welcoming you […]

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Anita Quansah Hand-Embellished Raffia Slippers

I just had to stop for a second to feast my eyes on these too cute for words creations. They tickle my shoe obsession! These fun and fabulous statement slippers are by Anita Quansah, a London-based accessories designer. I have shared Anita’s statement jewellery previously and these slip-on shoes are next level exquisiteness, that can be dressed up or down- think floaty maxi’s, jeans, shorts, and even tailored suits.

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Ep 9: Behind The Design Season 1 Wrap Up and Reflections

This episode brings us to the end of season one. And what a season it has been. Experiences have been shared, nuggets of wisdom and inspiration have been given. I don’t know about you but I’ve learned a lot. Firstly, I want to thank each one of my guests for taking time out from their busy schedules to chat with me and give us an insight into what goes on behind the scenes in their studios and careers.

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Ep 8: Culture, creativity, and creating a distinctive design identity with Olubunmi Adeyemi

In this episode I chat with Olubunmi Adeyemi. Lagos based, Nigerian born designer, Olubunmi is an internationally recognized designer, interior architect and lifestyle entrepreneur. He is the founder of AFROMINIMA™ a design and lifestyle movement inspired by minimalism, and The DÅ brand. Olubunmi has studied design in both London and South Africa. An alumni of the prestigious Lagos Business School, he is currently pursuing a masters at Central St Martins, in London, UK.

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Africa’s top brands 2019

Brand Africa is a continent-based initiative that recognises the power of brands as an asset in cultivating a positive image, reputation and the competitiveness of a nation. As such Brand Africa seeks to inspire and promote a positive image of Africa, celebrating its diversity and driving its competitiveness.

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Ep 7: A masterclass in marketing your brand beyond social media and why having your own platform matters with Kwabena Oppong Boateng

In this episode I chat with Kwabena Oppong Boateng. Kwabena is a dynamic communications professional with extensive social media, telecommunications and advertising experience across public, private and corporate sectors in Ghana, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He is the founder of Kayobi clothing, and Nkanee, a 21st century strategy consultancy based Accra, Ghana that specialises in innovative physical and digital experiences powered by ideas and creativity.

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