House & Garden
Flipping through the latest issue of House & Garden
UK (February 2013) I came across a design editorial inspired by African craft and design. Co-ordinated by decoration editor, Gaby Deeming, bold bright colours, graphic prints, textures and handicrafts are combined for a modern take on African interior style. Products used to pull the looks together include leading African designers and producers; beaded cushions from Soboye
; Eva Sonaike’s
distinctive, signature fabrics in the form of pouffes, cushions, notebooks, upholstered armchairs, as well as lining walls; woven telephone wire bowls in contrasting graphic swirling patterns from Zenzulu
; striped black and white beaded animals from Monkeybiz
; and a wax cloth umbrella from Babatunde
. African design continues to make its mark in international design.
Whilst browsing the online fashion accessories site Boticca
, I came across a feature on London based luxury handbag and fashion accessories label, Solomon Appollo
who have a gorgeous, colourful range of ‘hard to choose one’ clutch bags. Designed by Ozie Amadi, a graphic designer turned fashion accessories designer who was born and raised in East London; Solomon Appollo is all about cute and convenient stylishness. Solomon Appollo combines Ozie’s European upbringing and her Nigerian culture and heritage, factors, which are a major influence on her design aesthetic. Citing her mother and her aunts as particular influences, as she accompanied them on fabric buying trips and trips to the seamstress, Ozie also recalls childhood memories where her heritage would be expressed through music, fashion and food, brightly coloured fabrics and patterns, intricate embroidery and elaborate headwear. Ozie also draws inspiration from London’s vibrant multicultural society. However, it was a bad experience with a bag that led Ozie to explore the possibilities of designing her own range, and saw a return to University to gain the skills she needed to achieve her dream. In addition to retraining, Ozie spent two years developing the designs and travelling around Europe, sourcing suppliers for her production needs.
The name Solomon Appollo is rather unique and has been in Ozie’s family for nearly two decades, having previously been owned by her brother who had an urban streetwear label, which he closed in 1998. Ozie decided to claimed the name, giving it a new lease of life. The Solomon Appollo range includes mini satchels and cute envelop clutches, made with high quality leathers, soft suede’s and pony skin, complemented with fabrics like Kente, Ankara and the ever-popular wax cloth, which is used either on the handbag’s outer or as colourful lining in the inner. Shiny hardware in the form chain straps, clasps and playful detailing like the tassels seen on the Temple Pillar clutch bags complete the look.
Additional information sourced from:
Solomon Appollo Interview on Boticca: http://en-gb.boticca.com
Additional details:Solomon Appollo products on Boticca priced at: £39.60-£410
For further information about Solomon Appollo and to purchase visit: http://en-gb.boticca.com
Dismantling discarded pieces of furniture and reassembling to create entirely new designs has resulted in a unique and innovative range of one-off and made to order furniture pieces, created by Yinka Ilori
, a London-based furniture designer.
[Image credits: Odd One Out chair at D'apostophe - Yinka Ilori]
Yinka specialises in sustainable design by upcycling discarded and found furniture pieces, and founded his eponymous label in April 2011; fuelled by an interest in finding creative solutions to challenge the unnecessary waste in modern consumer societies in the West, and through the products he recreates works towards helping to affect positive change.
The designs are quirky, colourful and distinctive; featuring Yinka's signature style of brightly painted wood, paired with vibrant patterns and fabrics that bring to life the once unloved furniture pieces. Yinka also 'happily accepts unwanted or damaged furniture from private individuals'.
Nike Davies Okundaye
Inspired by her great-grandmother, a weaver and Adire textile maker/dyer, Nike Davies Okundaye
is one of Nigeria's most celebrated textiles artists and painters, as well as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist whose passion and dedication towards reviving her country's artistic and cultural heritage is truly inspiring. Traditions are so often passed down from generation to generation in the form of vocational hands-on-training, and this was the case for Nike who received no formal training, instead taking what she learned from her great-grandmother and developing her own skills and style. Recognised as an authority in traditional Nigerian textiles, Nike has conducted workshops, toured and exhibited her work extensively throughout her career, which spans over twenty years; and her artwork can be found in public and private collections across the globe. Nike's work has also been the subject of several academic and research papers; and a biography about the artist, 'The Woman with the Artistic Brush
' by Ms Kim Marie Vaz, has become recommended reading for students studying African Art and cultures in US-based universities. Realising that traditional methods of weaving and fabric dyeing in Nigeria were fading Nike began investing in the preservation of Nigeria's rich arts and cultural heritage, founding five Nike Centre's for Art and Culture, which are located in four Nigerian states; Lagos, Oshogbo, Ogidi-Ijumu and Abuja. Alongside each Art and Cultural Centre's Nike also has four art galleries, entitled the Nike Art Galleries.
Starting in 1983 using the money she had made as an artist, Nike set-up the first Nike Centre for Art and Culture in Osogbo, Nigeria. The Centre provided free training to local Nigerians in various art disciplines and the first intake comprised twenty young girls whom Nike took in to learn a trade; giving them free food, free accommodation and free materials. To date over three thousand young Nigerians have benefit from the training on offer conducted through workshops where students learn about batik, indigo and Adire, in addition to beadwork, scultping, painting, embroidery, metalwork and carving to name a few. The reputation of the Centres has grown such that many African countries now send their students to study textile art there; students from Europe, the US and Canada are admitted; and international scholars and researchers regularly visit to learn first hand the traditional fabric processing and dyeing methods. In 1996 Nike established a textile weaving centre for the women of a local village in Ogidi-Ijumu, specialising in Aso-Oke, the centre works with more than 200 women. June 2002 saw Nike establish an Art and Culture research centre at Piwoyi Village in Abuja along with an art gallery and a textile museum.
Looking for ways to transform a neglected art and cultural landscape, in 2009 Nike built and established a five-storey cultural art centre in Lekki Peninsula in Lagos, Nigeria. Open to the public the building is modern, light and airy and holdings regular exhibitions, and also houses Nike's second textile museum, and the fourth Nike Art Gallery.
For further information about Nike Davies Okundaye visit: www.nikeart.com
Spotting a gap in the market after an unsuccessful search to find modern invitation designs that showcased her vibrant Nigerian heritage prompted designer Ify Ojo to seriously consider creating her own range and led to the founding of Bibi Invitations
; an exquisite range of wedding and special occasion invitations designed to capture the vibrant celebratory spirit of Nigerian, and indeed many African special occasions. The company was officially launched in 2012 by three friends; Ify Ojo and Omena Babalola who are based in Canada, and Chinelo Agazie who is based in the UK.
Whether its layers and textures, or shimmer and shine finished with an indulgent flourish of contrasting ribbon; Bibi Invitations luxurious designs are inspired by traditional African fabrics such as Kente, Aso Oke, and Bogolanfini (Mudcloth); and are organised into three collections. Meaning Peacock in Yoruba, the Okin Signature Collection features intricate die cutting in patterns that echo Swiss lace, Aso Oke and traditional African embroidery enhanced by foil stamping on a range of metallic papers. The Ifeoma Collection is bright and bold inspired by the ever popular Dutch Wax prints; whilst the colourful Abena Collection offers stylish affordability.
Bibi Invitations are customisable, allowing you to personalise your chosen invitation by following a three-step process that involves choosing the card, paper, foil, ribbon and envelope colours from a wide variety of colours and patterns depending on the style chosen... and, if you happen to be planning your special event, or know of some who is then why not take advantage of the exclusive reader offer outlined below.
Bibi Invitations have kindly offered African Daydreams readers 10% of all invitation orders placed from Thursday 2 August 2012 until Thursday 6 September 2012. All you need to do is enter the code - 10Off at the checkout before shipping to get your discount.
Terms and Conditions
• A minimum order of 100 cards or over applies
• The offer applies to all designs across the three Bibi Invitations collections
• The promo code is free to share, to paste online or anywhere else for anyone to use within the allotted time
• Free shipping cost is not included in this promotion
• Production time for the wedding invitations is 6-8 weeks minus the shipping time
Continuing to draw inspiration from Fela Kuti, Nigerian knitwear designer Buki Akib
has launched a luxury collection of bags inspired by the legendary singer’s 27 wives. Exclusive to London store, Darkroom
; Fela, The Wives is a follow up to Buki’s acclaimed menswear collection, previously featured on African Daydreams here
. Designed to capture the individuality and essence of the Wives, the bags feature Buki’s signature use of pattern, texture and colour, and are made using traditional Yoruba hand woven textiles, combined with leatherwork from South Western Nigeria. Details such as the long sensuous fringing on the Sandra bag, and the playful tassled pompoms on the Funmilayo bag add a touch of the flamboyance and extravagance that Fela Kuti was known for.
[Image credits: Buki Akib, Fela, The Wives Bag Collection - Darkroom]
Inspired by a fusion of African and western culture Banke Kuku
, is a luxury interiors and textiles company that specialises in innovative printed and woven textiles. Nigerian born and London-based; creative director and founder Banke Kuku, draws on her culture and heritage to create bespoke patterns and textiles rich with colour and texture. Her textiles have been used in the collections of some of the world's leading designers including Duro Olowu, Jasmine di Milo, Burberry; and more recently Jewel by Lisa Spring/Summer 2012, which I previously featured here
Following a show in Milan, Banke has now introduced a luxury interiors line to her eponymous label, and features traditional European furniture upholstered with the vibrant and intricately patterned fabrics that she creates. Currently retailing in London's Selfridges is Banke Kuku's inspired range of cushions featuring bold digital prints in distinctive clashing colours and textures.
[Image credit: Foot Stools; and Cushions - Banke Kuku] Additional details:Cushions on Selfridges priced at: £169 For further information about Banke Kuku visit: www.bankekuku.comTo purchase cushions on Selfridges visit: www.selfridges.com
Comfort & Samuel
Give your bedroom an instant makeover with a refreshing range of colourful bed linens from Comfort & Samuel
. Based in the UK, Comfort & Samuel's elegant collections, which also include cushions and personal accessories, draw inspiration from African designs and prints by tapping into the Continent's diverse textile heritage.
Comfort & Samuel celebrates styles from the homegrown such as a centuries old Yoruba printing technique called Adire Eleko, Guinea Brocade characteristed by its high thread count and smooth touch, intense Indigo and the loom woven Aso Oke; to the popular imported fabrics such as Dutch Wax and Swiss lace which have become synonymous with African style.
Made in Africa, the linens are characterised by modern takes of traditional textiles, designs and printing processes. The fabrics used include lightweight brocades that feature bold handprinted patterns, as seen on the vibrant Osun and Ododo cushions, echoing the Adire-Eleko technique, which is combined with intricate embroidery typical of traditional Hausa/Fulani designs. Loom woven silks and cottons, mainly used for the luxurious bed linen ranges, are also enhanced with the intricate embroidery detailing. The bedding sets comprise a duvet cover and two pillowcases and are lined with a lightweight brocade cotton in a contrasting or lighter colour. Embroidery is optional and Comfort & Samuel also work with clients to create custom printed ranges.
Whether colourfully bold or softly serene, Comfort & Samuel's contemporary linens and furnishings bring a touch of African luxury and sophistication into the home.
Prices on the website range from: £40-£220
For further information about Comfort & Samuel and to purchase visit: http://shop.comfortandsamuel.com
Yoruba Beaded Chairs
Shabby Chic® refers to objects that have made it through the years, passed through from generation to generation and despite looking a little worn round the edges, exude a familiar comforting feeling cloaked with an air of faded grandeur and elegance but are still well-loved, appreciated for where they have come from and the stories they tell, this is often seen with family heirlooms as well as newer items that have purposely been distressed to achieve the look and feel. Shabby Chic® originated in the 1980s when British designer Rachel Ashwell, used the words to describe her brand of style and interior decoration, setting up a business with the same name. Rachel went on to trademark the two words for sole use, so although the words have slipped into interior design speak when describing a particular style, they officially can not be used to describe any another product or style than that of the official Shabby Chic® range. The phrase did come to mind though when I laid eyes on some colourful and elaborately beaded chairs that I discovered originated from Yoruba artisans in Nigeria. From the floral and symbolic imagery to the traditional skill required to produce each creation and how they can bring character to contemporary interiors, when I saw the chairs I was reminded of the Suzani embroidered textiles of Central Asia, an ancient art form that has witnessed a revival, growing in popularity in recent years.
[Image source: Pair of Yoruba Beaded Chairs via If the Lampshade Fits]
Rich in intricate beading detail that must have take ages to complete, the level of craftsmanship is incredible; thousands upon thousands of tiny seed glass beads are painstakingly applied to fabric covers which are then stitched or glued onto the chair frame, which can made from materials like wood or rattan, resulting in an entire chair covered with the beading. It was common practice for the fronts and tops of the arms to be beaded more elaborately than the backs, I guess because of prolonged visibility of the front. Some chairs can be traced back to the 1920's and were traditionally created for the Yoruba Kings and Queens; covered in symbols laden with meaning denoting things like wealth, power, strength and wisdom; in addition to having spiritual significance.
[Image credits: top, Large Yoruba Beaded Chairs - From the Tribe;bottom, Blue Beaded Yoruba Chair - 1stDibs]
Truly special works of art, the Yoruba Beaded Chairs are a great source of inspiration and have appeared in many stylish interiors across the globe, and my research also reveals the the art form is also seen in Cameroon. Aside from belonging to a family, today the chairs are quite rare finds and tend be found through specialist dealers and auctioneer houses.
...this is vintage Africa at its finest
Additional information sourced from:
Prices for the chairs vary, the ones available on From the Tribe cost in the region of: £950-£2000 for a set of fourA limited edition of chairs are available to purchase on From the Tribe: www.fromthetribe.com
Jewel by Lisa
What an unexpectedly warm and gorgeous spring day we are having here in London; given the fact that we are still meant to be in the midst of winter! It has me daydreaming of pretty summer dresses amongst other things, and Jewel by Lisa's
Spring Summer 2012 Collection entitled 'Vintage Love' has some gorgeous ones for stylish sunny days ahead (one hope's give last year's disappointing summer!). Taking retro inspiration from 1950's and 60's Nigeria the collection sees beautifully contrasting; bold, colourful graphic prints and textures translated into easy-to-wear yet very stylish dresses and separates. Perfect for any occasion, the collection is a slight departure from the use of Ankara fabrics a signature look which has defined previous collections.
One of Africa's leading luxury fashion brands, Jewel by Lisa was founded in 2005 by Lisa Folawiyo, a fashion lover whose sophisticated and glamourous style sees crystals, beads, sequins and other trimmings meticulously hand sewn onto Ankara fabrics, that are combined with linen, Chantilly lace, silk, taffeta, cotton and chiffon to create unique and sought after collections. Jewel by Lisa's creations are all handcrafted and individually embellished, a process that can take about 120 hours, giving an insight into just how much work goes into the creation of a garment. Carrying the signature embellishment and Ankara prints, Lisa also established a diffusion line, The J label which is a girly, youthful brand embracing life's pleasures and the joys of dressing up. In addition to this Jewel by Lisa has also expanded to include bejewelled accessories and home furnishings ranges.
[Image credits: Vintage Love Spring/Summer 2012; top, via Fab Magazine; bottom Jewel by Lisa]
...gorgeous summer style
For further information about Jewel by Lisa and to find stockists visit: www.jewelbylisa.com.ng