When it comes to selecting gifts for your family and friends (or for yourself!) the world is your oyster but after having lived in South Africa for over two years now I believe it’s about time to share some of my favourite local brands. I’ve found is that the quality and craftsmanship of some of the local suppliers is comparable to and even surpasses many of the established international brands. So in the spirit of supporting local craft, I hope you’ll enjoy this journey through South African design.
I’m always on the lookout for exciting South African gift brands that embody the spirit of quality and craftsmanship. If you have any suggestions of brands you think will be a good fit for the blog, mention them in the comments below.
From fine porcelain with gilded finishes to a range of cutlery inspired by indigenous Southern African flora, Aboda’s work is a lasting symbol of fine South African craftsmanship. Forms, textures and shapes are captured in their subtle beauty and translated into highly functional pieces that feel unique and contain their own individual beauty. By drawing their inspiration from the nature of South Africa, these pieces possess a unique sense of place while still being able to stand out on any table around the world.
Gemma Orkin produces ceramics quite unlike anything else out there. Her range of bowls, platters and jugs feature whimsical illustrations, which draw on her background as a fine art print maker and bring the skills she learned at UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art to the world ceramics. She has been making ceramics for over 25 years and still to this day every item in her range is still made from scratch completely by hand. Gemma loves the surprise that comes from opening the kiln to see what she has created, and her ceramics continue to delight and surprise her customers.
First established on Ardmore Farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg in 1985. Ardmore Studio is the brainchild of Zimbabwe-born artist Fee Halstead. Since these humble beginnings they have received numerous awards and exhibited all over the world. Ardmore Design was established to bring the studio’s unique artistic vision into other mediums featuring playful prints and bold designs rendered onto high quality fabrics and materials their range of coasters, placemats, napkins and scatter cushions are true conversation pieces.
Kaross takes its name from the Khoisan word meaning blanket and serves as a metaphor for the act of sitting down and creating something beautiful. Founded by Irma van Rooyen, Kaross serves as a way of bringing sustainable opportunities for mainly rural women to make a living. Inspired by the embroidery of Tsongo men and women Kaross allows rural African women with an outlet for their traditional skills and as a consequence uplifts and empowers these communities.
LAID BACK CO.
If you’ve ever ordered a cheeseboard at a top local wine estate or restaurant there is a good chance the board it was served on was manufactured by Laid Back Co. While all their cheeseboards, cake stands and cutlery trays are manufactured by local artisans in their own production facilities, they have expanded to serve clients in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany the British Virgin Islands and Singapore. They emphasise quality and durability and their raw materials include both weathered American oak as well as recycled French oak.
Mungo is a textile brand with a difference. While globally the textile industry has moved into a space where economies of scale and high production volumes are valued over quality Mungo was founded with the exact opposite approach in mind. Founded 20 years ago by master weaver Stuart Holding, Mungo started with two restored antique looms, taking the making of textiles back to a place where craftsmanship was valued above all else. The philosophy paid off and soon demand outstripped production. They now manufacture a fantastic selection of towels, gowns, linen and much, much more. Since 1998 Mungo has expanded to 3 stores nationwide and have opened their own Mill. While their business has grown, their commitment to artisanal craft remains.
If you live in South Africa visit the shop The Golden Goose for a great selection of Mungo (and many other lovely local brands).
PICHULIK is an ethical jewellery, accessories atelier based in Cape Town, South Africa. Rooted in Africa, and inspired by ancient traditions and cultures around the world, PICHULIK seeks to impart sacred feminine wisdom through its unique and intentional designs.
Each piece is a talisman, handcrafted from unexpected, organic materials into distinctive forms that share the stories of brave women and celebrate empowering feminine narratives. Each collection captures a different chapter in a heroine’s journey – an odyssey imbued with mythology, symbolism and transformation.
The distinguishing components of any PICHULIK jewellery piece are the innovative and sculptural use of locally produced and re-purposed rope, embellished with a variety of unique cast and found exotic materials.
Through distilling sacred wisdom from ancient traditions and myth, PICHULIK uses the language of African artistry and ornamentation to honour the bravery and beauty innate to all women, everywhere, echoed in the words, ‘You are Enough’.
PICHULIK was founded by Katherine-Mary Pichulik in 2013, and has grown into a strong women and one man team.
KATRYN SE GEHEIM
Katryn se Geheim is based on a story or tale of a young girl who grew up on a beautiful farm in the Karoo.Katryn se Geheim Wonderolie, Wonderbalsem and other natural products were created to be a beautiful natural product that could help every women escape to a more peaceful and relaxed space. Sit back, relax and let your mind escape even if it is only for a brief moment.
I’m afraid this is all for today but stay tuned for more of my favorite South African brands.