Samsung Amaze Africa MJ AND STUFF

Nobody speaks about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2013 sans justly acknowledging the spectacle that was the Samsung #AmazeAfrica showcase which connoted the importance of creative designer collaborations. If for some reason, you happen to be unfamiliar with the rad initiative that brought clothing and accessories designers, please do read the piece I wrote for The Times Newspaper over HERE and I simply must share the images too because I could just #DZIE for most of these pieces.  I have also provided direct quotes by the involved designers, where they get into how they came to source inspiration for this cause.



Jacques van der Watt, designer, Black Coffee:

“I was inspired by the texture and form of birds. I used literal and abstract shapes of birds to create graphic interest on the garments.  Working with crafters, feather and wing shapes were abstracted to simple triangles and circles that were applied to the garments in beaded shapes. I also used a classic couture technique of applying individual plumes of ostrich feathers creating a soft texture on fabric with lovely movement.”

Albertus Swanepoel, designer, Albertus Swanepoel:

“I love feathers, they have been associated with millinery since the beginning of time and I work with them a lot. The ostrich feather trade originated in South Africa, so they are also very nostalgic for me. For #AmazeAfrica I tried different techniques, and different ways to use them: I got the guys on the side of road to bead a feather for me, I made a feather wig, feather pompons. I also brought in ostrich skin – there are trim elements and the ostrich fedora which is lined in shwe shwe.”

Pincushions (genus – Leucospermum)

Pincushions (genus – Leucospermum)

Marianne Fassler, designer:

“I like the hard and soft dimensions of the pincushion: this duality of fragility and hardiness is quite emotive. Being an indigenous flower it is also evocative of Africa. They are virtually indestructible, but you wouldn’t know that as they have this softness about them, a joy that comes from their colours.”

Pieter Janse van Rensburg, designer, Quamta:

“I was inspired by the textures of the pincushion and the weaves of Marianne’s garments. The fronds of the flowers come through the prints on the cover. There is also the feeling of the pincushion. We padded the pieces so the interpretation is not just visual, but also tactile: there is a softness to the touch that is representative of the flower.  We wove together the different materials to convey the idea of different seasons, and the journey of seed to flower. By adding the tassels and lanyards it reinforces the idea of the plants flowering and this explosion of colour. ”



Taibo Bacar, designer:

“We looked primarily at the colours and the shapes of the cycads. There’s something majestic and statuesque about this ancient plant and we hoped to bring this through in the sharp silhouettes and asymmetric geometry of our collection.”

Katherine-Mary Pichulik, designer, Pichulik:

“I was inspired by the textures, form and lines of the cycad. I think it’s very interesting the cycad dates so far back, to jurassic times, there is a hardiness to the plant, it has sustained through centuries. I brought in the azure colours as it is the colour of North Africa and Cycads are found in tropical African climes. The leather for the backpack has a texture that is reminiscent of the texture of the Cycad’s bulbous stem – and this is also echoed in the shape.”

Snakes & Chelonians

Snakes & Chelonians

Laurence Chauvin Buthaud, designer, LaurenceAirline:

“I was inspired by the graphic patterns of snakes. My work is very minimal and the shapes of the reptiles comes through in the drape of the collar and the vent of the coat. There is also a languid sensuality that is conveyed in the deep, rich colours.”

Chloe Townsend, designer, Missibaba:

“I was inspired by the tortoise carapace: the geometric shapes, and the almost primal, boggy colours. I hoped the weave would create a 3-dimensional feeling, and like the carapace, the cover is sheath, protecting the precious inner… There’s also a hint of poison snakes in the colours: the neon shots, turquoise on black, and the yellow.”



Adele Dejak, designer, Adele Dejak:

“Given the brief, on seeing the Coleoptera beetles, their hard, shiny exterior and fascinating ‘oil in water’ like colours, the Ankole cow horn immediately sprang to mind. Wanting to rejuvenate African luxury, as well as representing the beetle in a contemporary, stylish manner, the shape of the beetle was stripped down and focus remained on the body. In keeping with wanting to create luxurious pieces, black leather was chosen. The black leather is clean cut and bold: minimal – and the horn clasp is reminiscent of the body of the beetle itself, hard, polished, captivating. Horn has been introduced in to every piece from the Samsung #AmazeAfrica collection to remind us of the beetle’s hard, shiny exterior. Recycled brass also played a role in the creation of the pieces, in keeping with the luxury brief, giving the pieces that extra luxurious edge, adding the colour gold.”

Nana Brenu, designer, 1981 by Nana Brenu:

“I was inspired by the delicateness of the beetle’s wings and its hard exoskeleton, translating this into armour-type garments but with a soft feel, using silk organza to simulate the wings and silk gazar and techno wool to simulate the exoskeleton of the beetle.”

Wasps, Bees & Ants

Wasps, Bees & Ants

Doreen Mashika, designer, Doreen Mashika:

“I looked at the cultural behaviour of East Africa – the Masaai in particular and mixed this up with the ants’ natural habitat. I used recycled materials – sisal and burlap and namibian silks to evoke the colours and trees of their environment. I added recycled brass and created a motif that resembles a futuristic butterfly –  looking at a new world led by insects”.

Anisa Mapungwe, designer, Loin Cloth and Ashes:

“I was inspired by the structure and skin of the insects of the Hymenoptera genus. I especially looked at their colours when in sunlight – the translucence of their wings and iridescent bodies.”

Moths & Butterflies

Moths & Butterflies

Robert Topping, designer, RVL:

“Who cannot be inspired by butterflies? They are such astonishing creatures. They take me back to my school years and biology classes; learning the life cycles: the egg to the caterpillar to the chrysalis and then the butterfly. I really looked at the shapes of the pupa and how to translate that into the shape of the bag. Looking at elements of protection and evolution, while bringing in the colours and fascination butterflies engender.”

Tekasala and Shunnuz, designers, Projecto Mental:

“The butterflies and moths of the Rift Valley have a connection with species from the same kind found in colder climates. Lepidopteran are known to migrate to escape harsh and disadvantageous conditions. Some travelling as far as 4800km, not unlike humans.”

Campaign Images photographed by Steve Tachel and runway shots by Simon Deiner /SDR


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