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Designer and Architect Tosin Oshinowo Talks Building Creative Businesses

Bold, vibrant striped fabrics covering minimalist furniture designs announced the arrival of Ilé Ilà onto the contemporary African design scene. Handmade in Lagos, Nigeria the furniture designs echo the architectural designs of the company’s founder Tosin Oshinowo, who also runs her own practice, CM Design Atelier. Tosin chats with me about the inspirations behind her work, building two creative businesses and the lessons she’s learned.

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Meet the Egyptian Designers Using Design To Create A Better Quality Of Life

Dealing with plastic waste has become a matter of global urgency as the world can no longer afford to ignore the harm the material is having on our world and on our lives. In Egypt, Reform an award-winning product design studio is pioneering the use of discarded plastic bags and upcycling them into sustainable fabrics for interior and lifestyle products. I caught up with the founders to chat about using design to create a better quality of life.

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Architect and Furniture Designer Moran Munyuthe on Design, Inspiration and Working for Yourself

Architect and furniture designer Moran Munyuthe is the founder of the Saba Furniture Company, a studio, workshop and retail outlet based on the island of Lamu where he works in partnership with local craftsmen to create heirloom quality furniture inspired by local design and motifs. We caught up with him to get an insight into furniture design, running a workshop and shop and the journey of working for yourself.

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Cameroonian-American Fashion Designer Nyorh Agwe Talks Identity And Building a Fashion Brand

 1. Please introduce yourself, tell us a bit about your background, where you are based, and what led you to a career in fashion design? My name is Nyorh Awum Agwe and I am a Cameroonian-American Fashion Designer. I was born in Cameroon but moved to Italy with my mum when I was 3 weeks old. My first language as a Cameroonian was Italian. After I was 4, we moved back to Cameroon only to move to the United States just 2 years later. Our family had a very nomadic lifestyle. Because of it, I always found myself having to […]

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Kilubukila – Building A Business Whilst Working the 9-5

Last December whilst showcasing our books at the Africa Centre Christmas Market Pop Up we found ourselves neighbours with a furniture design business called Kilubukila, and subsequently got chatting to the founder Jess Kilubu. Jess is among an ever-increasing number of people following their dreams by starting a business whilst working the 9-5 and we invited him to share his motivations and experiences of his creative entrepreneurial journey so far. 1. Please introduce yourself, telling us a bit about your background, and where you are based, and when you set up Kilubukila? I was born and raised in France from a […]

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Native Decor Founder, Vusani Ravele On Building A Sustainable Creative Business

South African product designer and managing craftsman, Vusani Ravele won the hearts of  TV viewers following his appearance on Shark Tank South Africa. Vusani shares with us the impact securing investment has had on developing his business Native Decor, the challenges and rewards of growing a sustainable creative business, the importance of preparedness, having passion and believing in yourself. 1. PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF, AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, WHERE YOU ARE BASED, AND WHAT LED YOU TO A CAREER IN PRODUCT DESIGN? I grew up in South Africa in a small town called Tzaneen. In high school, I ran […]

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Ichyulu Connecting Modern African Fashion With Consumers

Ichyulu is a Nairobi based fashion retail platform that specialises in connecting consumers with African fashion. We caught up with the company to learn more about the African fashion retail industry and get her thoughts on the opportunities and advice for fashion designers looking to stock through retail outlets. 1. Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about your background, where you are based and what led to you following a fashion-focused career. I’m Kenyan and I’m based in Nairobi, Kenya. I have always loved African fashion and for a long time, I was a client. I got to […]

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Product Designer Thabisa Mjo Talks Competitions, Design And Business

Thabisa Mjo the founder of Mash T. Design Studio in Johannesburg was a winner of the Nandos Young Hot Designer in 2016, wowing the judges with her show-stopping Tutu 2.0 pendant light, inspired by the Xibelani skirt worn by Tsonga women. Thabisa’s work is a mix of modern design and a celebration of culture referenced in the shapes, patterns, and textures she uses. Winning the competition gave her the confidence to go out and enter more and also showcase her work locally and internationally. She speaks to us about her journey to building a successful design studio.

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Q&A With Pop Up Africa Founder Jessica Laditan

Global interest in all things Africa continues to grow thanks in part to dedicated exhibitions and events that help to introduce the continent’s diverse offerings to new audiences. In the UK Pop Up Africa is one such series of events, usually comprising a mix of vibrant market and delectable food stalls, and where we had the opportunity to showcase Shoko Press books at one of their events over the summer. Events like these take a lot of behind the scenes planning, hard work, and passion. And to find out more we caught up with Pop Up Africa founder Jessica Laditan to get […]

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Tips For Creating A Winning Book Proposal And Submitting To Publishers

Whenever I mention I have written and published a book, some of the questions that tend to follow include ‘I want to write a book, how do go about it’, and how do I get my book published?’. It is said that everyone has a book within them, and for first-timers taking your book proposal from idea to published can be a daunting challenge, the prospect of which prevents many from doing so.

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Q&A With Award-Winning Kenyan Digital Artist Osborne Macharia

The rapid advancement of digital technology brings forth diverse creative expressions, such as digital art that continue to astound and amaze us. Digital art has given a powerful voice to Africa’s emerging creative talent allowing for ta relative ease of dissemination and in the process attracting global attention towards stories and images that speak of life in a modern continent. Kenyan digital artist Osborne Macharia, founder of K63.STUD/O is one of those rising talents whose mastery of the digital medium has let to collaborations and commissions with high-profile local and global brands and agencies such as Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz, Kenya […]

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Mozambican Artist Nelsa Guambe Merging Art and Sustainable Design

Nelsa Guambe is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Maputo, Mozambique. She is primarily a painter whose work moves beyond the canvas to incorporate product design, where working in collaboration with a local design studio, Piratas Do Pau Guambe’s colourful and surreal images help to transform discarded water heaters collected from the city’s streets into distinctive functional products such as wine racks and lighting. Guambe’s work is part of the IFA Pure Gold exhibition, a traveling exhibition which explores rubbish and its use in sustainable design to creating objects of value in design.

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Siyanda Mbele Talks Furniture Design And Culture

Siyanda Mbele is making a name for himself in the world of contemporary South African furniture and interior design. His streamlined and stylish designs regularly reference his Zulu heritage. We caught up with the designer to find out a bit more about his inspirations and the importance of culture in design: 1. What led you to furniture design, how long have you been working in the industry, and what do you enjoy most about your job? I have always been interested in created objects. At first, I was obsessed with drawing/ designing cars. Gradually I started loving furniture specifically tables, […]

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Adora Mba, The Afropolitan Collector On Contemporary African Art

Contemporary African art is an exciting dynamic movement, that continues to make its mark on the global stage. As the names of existing talent and emerging stars command greater attention, the African art industry as a whole is responding in kind with galleries springing up across the continent; prestigious auction houses hosting evenings dedicated to the work of Africa’s artists; and art fairs such as 1:54 connecting artists, galleries and buyers. To find out more about this exciting scene we caught up with Adora Mba, art consultant and founder of The Afropolitan Collector to talk life as an art consultant, collecting […]

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5 Things to Know About Becoming A Successful Fashion Illustrator

Fashion illustration as a career option is growing in popularity thanks in part to the images we see being shared on social media, so if you are wondering about how to get started and what it takes to become a successful fashion illustrator we thought who better than to ask than Ohab Tochukwu Bernard Johnbosco aka TBJ, the illustrator behind the striking illustration gracing the cover of Fashion Illustration Africa that since its release has struck a chord with fashion and art lovers alike. TBJ kindly shares his list of 5 things you need to know about becoming a successful fashion illustrator, […]

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Interview With Wanjiku Nyoike-Mugo of The Designers Studio

Running a clothing boutique can be a highly rewarding career path in the fashion industry, that brings with it the responsibility of supporting and promoting the designs of the designers you work with. Giving you a behind the scenes look into what it takes to start up and run a clothing boutique we caught up with Wanjiku Nyoike-Mugo, the founder of The Designers Studio, a clothing and accessories boutique in Kenya, discussing everything from motivations, to the challenges and rewards that come from being your own boss in the creative industries. 1. Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit […]

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Introducing the Creative Careers Section and Directory

Inspiring you, our reader on your individual creative journey is an important part of our mission. We do this by offering engaging dialogue, guidance, and resources to help you become the best at what it is you choose to do. So if you are thinking of a career in the creative industries and are not sure where to start, or are wanting to develop your existing career we have put together a dedicated creative careers section and directory of resources to help you on your way.

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Switching Careers To Follow Your Creative Passion

When we first started the Shoko Press blog, our founder Tapiwa Matsinde wrote a piece on the Luxury of Pursuing a Creative Career in Africa and the challenges and questioning expressions she faced when choosing to do so. But with the explosion in African creativity now being felt on a global scale choosing to become a creative is becoming more acceptable, albeit slowly, and it struck her just how many respected African creatives switched careers to become fashion designers, artists, and writers having initially studied the ‘respectable subjects’ to be accountants, lawyers, bankers, doctors and so forth. So if you […]

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Interview With Kossi Aguessy Visionary Designer And Artist

In March 2015, I had the privilege of interviewing designer and artist Kossi Aguessy in which we discussed his work, career, inspirations, and aspirations to date. The exchange was both inspirational and an insightful look into the workings of a complex mind. 1. Tell me a bit about yourself: your background, how you came to design as a career, setting up your studio, and the motivation behind working for yourself as opposed to working for someone else? I grew up in an environment, which was not as one might say truly inclined to favor artistry, a brotherhood of four more focused […]

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10 Must Do’s Before Starting A Greetings Card Business

Greetings cards make up a multi-million dollar industry; an industry whose products enable us to convey the messages and sentiments we are unable to put into words ourselves. With its visually led product offerings the Greetings Card industry provides a number of career opportunities for illustrators, artists, printers, and copywriters. But as with any industry is can be difficult to know where to start especially if you are just fresh out of college or university. So if you are thinking about becoming a greetings card designer, or maybe it has not been something you have even considered, until now then read […]

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