With pattern as such an integral element of identity in Africa, it’s hardly surprising that it’s being reinterpreted and given a modern spin by countless contemporary designers. Travellers to South Africa often comment on the free use of colour and vibrant designs in the country, and below are six designers for whom the bold use of patterns has become an unmistakable part of their brand identity.
Meet the pattern makers:
- Fashion brand MaXhosa by Laduma brings traditional Xhosa bead work motifs and patterns into a modern range of knitwear for men and women. Designer Laduma Ngxokolo celebrates the rich heritage of the Xhosa culture in his modern attire, and all his clothing is proudly knitted in South Africa with South African mohair and merino wool.
- Dutch Illustrator Debby van der Veer founded Blandat after moving to Johannesburg with her family. The brand takes her intricate and crazy illustrations and splashes them across a range of products, from wallpaper to swimming trunks, kimonos, bags and more.
- Renée Roussouw is a Cape Town-based architect and designer so obsessed with pattern that she’s started a Pattern Lab. This lab focuses on the conception of a new South African aesthetic, with a range of patterns thatare graphic and colourful, and are applied to a variety of mediums from wallpaper to ceramics, often in collaboration with other designers. Pictured here is Renee Roussouw’s Liquorice pattern on a De Steyl chest of drawers.
- Zabalazaa Designs was founded by Cape Town-based artist and designer Atang Tshikare. The independent studio specialises in surface design and illustration and applies these to a wide range of products and surfaces, such as custom sneakers, textiles, ceramics and more. Their signature style is to mix and match bright colours and afrocentric patterns, creating totally unique pieces every time.
- Known as the Prince of Prints, Chu Suwannapha is a fashion editor who’s been a familiar face on the scene for over 25 years. He recently started his own menswear label, Chulaap, which gloriously celebrates his love for all things pattern. As well as creating a range of wild and wonderful menswear, he has worked on collaborations with brands as large as Superga, the campaign for which is pictured here.
- Skinny laMinx is a South African textile designer who has been creating Scandi-inspired fabrics for years. Her latest range, pictured here, is inspired by the Brise Soleil (air-brick) buildings she walks past daily in Cape Town.