This week we’d like you to say “Hello” to Red Oker, a local leather brand from Joburg. We asked Casper, one of the owners a few questions about the new brand.
- How did Red Oker come about and how long as it been running for? RedOker was born through a vision to combine our God given talents and passions with a burden for social upliftment to create an environment where previously disadvantaged people can be equipped and empowered. We are very enthusiastic about design and manufacturing and saw an opportunity through which an initiative to design and produce authentic handcrafted items could produce much needed employment opportunities. RedOker was established in February of this year.
- Have you always be interested in producing leather goods or is this a new venture for you? We have always had a love for leather. When we started RedOker we didn’t necessarily start it with the mindset to base everything exclusively around leather products. However, leather proved to have been a great material to start with as the methods of manufacturing we have been applying thus far have been very basic, yet true to authentic craftsmanship. Leather offers a huge diversity in methods of manufacturing that helps to lay a good foundation for principles upon which we build our brand.
- What are some of the challenges you’re facing as a relatively new brand in SA? The biggest challenge we are facing has probably been the lack of skill and expertise in what we try to do. None of us heading RedOker up has had any formal training in the manufacturing of leather goods. We continue to figure things out for ourselves as we go along. Even though there are institutes and organizations that could teach us some of the skills we need, we never had the luxury of dedicating time to such opportunities.
- What materials do you mostly use and what, if any would you like to use more/experiment with? We are currently primarily working with cow hide leather and waxed canvas. For our leather range we would continue to experiment with different treatments, finishes and colours of cow leather as well as possibly starting to work with other forms of leather such as camel and game skins.
- I believe majority of your products are made by hand? Could you tell me a little more as to what inspired you to choose this method? There are basically two reasons for why we decided to have everything made by hand. The first being that we believe in offering only the best in quality and authentic craftsmanship in our products. This is what makes our products unique and special. It also lends an unique character to every product. We strive to put the soul back in manufacturing by making one individual craftsman responsible for the entire production process of each product. Upon completion, every product is fitted with a tag that carries the name of the craftsman, the date of completion and an unique serial number. Through that, every product carries an unique identity and a connection between product and person is established. The second reason is that because our main initiative is to create employment opportunities we saw the process of handcrafted production as a great way to capitalize on much needed labour hours.
Below are a few examples of their handy work.
This week we’d like you to say “Hello” to one of the local jewellery designers that we stock in our store.
We asked a Famke a few questions and this is what she had to say:
- How long have you been designing jewellery and how long as your brand be been going for? I’ve been designing for almost four years and my brand has been around for almost a year.
- What are some of the challenges you facing now what you’ve got your own brand? Keeping up with the demand! Finding motivation to go into the studio on beautiful summers days, but seeing the appreciation and excitement shown by my loyal followers makes it all worth it
- When designing what are you most inspired by, do you design your collections/ranges with a specific story behind them or do you simply make whatever you want? I’m inspired by geometric shapes and angular lines as well as natural, more rustic objects (bones!!!). All of my bespoke and more intricate pieces have stories behind them, but my more simple things and mass produced jewels are just things I find pretty.
- What materials do you mostly use and what, if any would you like to use more/experiment with? I mostly work in brass and silver, Id love to make my own felt and work with that, incorporating it with the precious metals.
- What can we expect to see from you for Summer 2012/13? Summers going to be all about bones and diamonds!
Here are a few photos of Famke’s beautiful jewels.
Say “Hello” to Meg Sums, who’s the creative mastermind behind a local clothing label called Fabric. We asked Meg a few questions to find out a little more about her and her amazing brand.
- How long have you been designing clothes? I think I’ve been designing clothes for at least ten years, loosing track of time…
- What are you most inspired by? My inspirations come from anything Japanese, crazy prints, vintage detailing and my mom
- Your label is called ‘Fabric’ can one assume that fabric, textures and prints play a large role in the brand? Yep! It’s is all about the feel and look of the fabric.
- I’ve always like that you make a limited amount of your styles, is this intentional or is it purely based on the availability of fabric? I like my designs to feel exclusive and because I play a big part in the production I can only make a certain amount before it starts evolving into something else. And yes, I spend lots of time looking for unusual and natural fabrics and generally they are just limited amounts, it feels special and part of me when there are just a few.
- What can we expect to see from you for Summer 2012/13? Very colourful African prints, contrasting stitching, late mid century influence and pockets.
Awesome, we’re looking forward to seeing more of your original and interesting designs.
Here are a few photos of Meg’s latest styles.
*All images are courtesy of Meg Sums.
Say “Hello” To is a new feature on the blog where we’ll introduce you to the many wonderful and talented fashion designers, jewellers and ceramicists that supply the store.
First up is Celeste, the designer behind Selfi a local ladies wear range based in Cape Town.
- When did you start making clothes, are you self taught or did you study? I graduated from cape technicon studying fashion design in 2007. I started Selfi in 2009. My grandfather was a tailor and both my parents are in the clothing industry. I’ve always recreated my own clothes and inevitably grew more in love with this expression.
- Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? I have many references. I started off playing around with lots of folds this then led to drawing more inspiration from origami. Now I do look at various trends and adopt my own architectural or playful signature towards my designs.
- From concept to end product, how long does it take? It depends if its a collection or 1 piece. But the piece would take a day. But the idea gets generated weeks before.
- Do you stick to one type of fabric or do you experiment with a few every season? I like experimenting every season. But I stick to one sort of quality standard and try and not use anything synthetic.
- Do you come up with a theme for each season or does each item of clothing stand on their own? I don’t really work with themes. For each collection I’ll have a existing motif or fold lines that run through each item that combines the range. Colours and fabrics also are selected to create harmony between each range.
- What’s been the most challenging thing about starting your own label/ business? Getting exposure. It takes time to be taken seriously as a brand.
- Was having your own business always something that you dreamt of doing or did it just evolve into what it is now? I’ve always wanted to have my own brand. So its something I’ve always wanted and still want.
- Do you have a partner that you can bounce ideas and concepts off or you work best alone? I’m on my own at the moment. It does get lonely some times, but that’s why its good to have other designer friends you can chat with about your business.
- And finally, what’s you favourite place in Cape Town and why? It can be anything; a restaurant, cafe shop, park, bar , etc. My favourite place at the moment would have to be the sauna at zone fitness gym.
Here are some images of Selfi’s previous ranges. For more images or further information visit her site: www.selfi.co.za