{DIY} Fabric Covered Letters via IDEAS

We found the cutest DIY project on the IDEAS Magazine website and we just had to share it with you. These fabric covered letters will look smashing in a nursery or kids bedroom. It seems like an easy little project that will also give you the opportunity to get rid of leftover pieces of fabric. I’m sure you can also try the same trick with wallpaper samples, scrapbooking sheets, or beautiful gift wrapping.

You will need
• polystyrene letters
• fabric remnants
• pencil
• set of compasses
• ruler
• needlework scissors
• modge podge
• paintbrush
• cutting mat

See the original DIY post on the IDEAS website: here

{Click on the images to enlarge and view the step-by-step instructions}

Skinny laMinx

Heather Moore of surface & textile design company Skinny laMinx chatted to Afrikaans morning show, Dagbreek, last week. Check it this cute little clip where she shares some of the Skinny laMinx story.

BTW – CityMob is having a Skinny laMinx 12-day flash sale. You can buy some awesome Skinny scatter cushions at an absolute steal… it’s selling like hotcakes! See the sale: here.

Indigi Designs Do South Africa Proud!

Indigi Designs ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

Indigi Designs is a design label founded by Natalie du Toit, whose passion for design and experimentation is evident in her growing product range. Said to be a fusion between contemporary design and local craftsmanship, each piece is proudly handmade in South Africa. The result – an unique identity with local flavour and global appeal.

Natalie, a qualified interior designer, left her corporate position as a creative director in February 2011 to start her own design company. She launched Indigi Designs at the 2011 Design Indaba in Cape Town where she had a fantastic response. The Undulate Stool, a brightly coloured wire stool with a distinct African flair, was an immediate hit.

In the same year, she developed and launched a boutique fabric range which features some gorgeous South African-inspired patterns and designs in trendy colourways. These textiles subsequently inspired a whole collection of bold scatter cushions (you might have noticed them at Design Indaba 2012).

2012 also saw the addition of some awesome new stool and side table designs to the Indigi furniture range. Similar in concept to the Undulate Stool the new pieces feature, amongst others, a more angular contemporary design that I absolutely adore.

The latest addition to the Indigi range is the brilliant Pumpkin Pouf. First spotted at Kamers Vol Geskenke last year, this funky number was a total show stealer.

Indigi has also recently been selected to be part of the South African Handmade Collection at the celebrated Ambiente Expo in Frankfurt! Congratulations to Natalie and her team – this is such a great honour and we are super proud to have you represent us abroad.

To see more great Indigi products be sure to check out their website: here or follow their Facebook page: here for the latest skinny!

Li Edelkoort Talks Textiles

“In these almost impossible to live in times,” says Edelkoort with feeling, “we need to be cuddled.” As a trend forecaster, she believes that in the near future we will see the overwhelming revival of textiles in our interiors, and that we will literally crave their tactility, sense of narration and colour.  “The only problem, she points out, is that we are closing our mills at a rate of knots, and universities are fast replacing looms with computers. The result? We are slowly forgetting how fabrics are made and where they come from. Yet, the appeal of textiles is universal and timeless,” says Edelkoort, “making them also very sustainable.”

The future, she says, “will see the overwhelming revival of textiles in our interiors, covering floors, walls and furniture in an expansive and personal manner. These textiles will speak loud and clear, and become the fabrics of life, narrating stories, designing patterns, promoting well-being and reviving the act of creative weaving.”

Quagga Fabrics & Wallpapers

Rob Tarlton, founder of the Cape Town-based surface design company Quagga Fabrics and Wallpapers recently shared his bold, intricate and interesting designs with us. Rob, who is a graphic designer, explains that most of Quagga’s designs started out as “dreamy doodles” which with weeks of refinement evolved into their first range of wallpaper called Maginaper (a clever mash-up of the words “imagination” and “paper”).

“The patterns convey a love of local flavour, with a hearty mix of international design trends thrown in. In these original designs, you can expect an exciting blend of patterns made up of abstract shapes and recognisable cultural icons, from cows to lighthouses”

After the wallpapers’ great success, Rob decided to translate the designs onto fabric, which in turn led to a small range of product. The range consists of “Beetle and Lighthouse” scatter cushions,which features local familiar sights such as the Mouille Point Lighthouse and an old VW Beetle. He also hopes to produce boxes, lampshades and bags with that distinct Quagga flavour in the near future.

Wondering about the name? Located in close proximity to the Groote Schuur Estate, which houses a faction of the “The Quagga Project” who aims to reintroduce the extinct Quagga through continuous selective breeding, the name “Quagga Fabrics and Wallpapersseemed like a logical and patriotic choice to Rob.

Check out the Quagga Fabrics and Wallpapers website: here for more info.

The Dynamic Design Team

I can’t remember exactly when it was that the fabrics of the Design Team first came to my attention, but it was many years ago. I just remember being very impressed by the fact that it was very different to any other local designers I had seen before. Their style and patterns had a strong local influence and flavour. I remember seeing Proteas, head and shoulder medalions of African ladies, birds on branches – all  illustrated so differently to the general run of the mill fabric patterns that we were being exposed to. To me anyway, it was the introduction of a completely new genre of fabrics. (I have no doubt that my good friend James Russell, could correct me on this score, since he has this amazing historical knowledge of fabric… coupled with the fact that he is their agent here in Cape Town.

Through the past years, I have managed to attend most of their new range launches here in Cape Town. Each new range delights more than the previous. Each new range just adds further depth to their collection and each new range has them running ahead of the competition.

And speaking of competition… these are my thoughts and opinions on what the two fabulous ladies from the Design Team, Lise Butler and Amanda Haupt have done for the local fabric industry: The Upside – they were among the very first textile designers (surface designers as they are known as well) that illustrated pattern differently. But like a most trail blazers, they have craved a path for others to follow in. By them braving the frontier and penetrating the fabric market as they have, other talented surface designers could take courage and endeavour to follow suite. The Design Team has shown other creatives that Local is indeed Lekker. That it is possible to get out there, not only to make your talented products visible, but that it could turn into a good business venture as well.

The Downside – in doing this, the field became more competitive. But true to form, they have an awesome philosoply towards competition. To quote them: “We have a ‘no negativity policy’ and we rather wear the copycats out by staying one step ahead with new designs.”

So, competition only has them taking their design to the next level. What I hear is this: competition aids our business maturity, bring it on. And their newest range of fabrics attests to this fact. It was first launched and released at Decorex 2012, together with a very special feature – a video showing their historical background and business growth. The new range, called Barcelona-Paris-Istanbul, is strongly influenced by the duo’s recent visits to these cities. The designs are a beautiful visual representation of the “feel” and ambiance of the cities – more figurative than literal… don’t expect Eiffel Tower sketches or tiny bullfighters…

But I wanted to scratch a bit deeper down, below the skin and try to catch more of their heart beat. I wanted to get to know what made them tick as a Design Duo originally, as well as today. Lisa opened up to The Design Tabloid. I invite you to catch it below and enjoy their story…

Q: I am interested to know, and feel readers should as well, what it is that inspired you to take the bull by the horns and do textile design that was just so different at the time you started? 

A: We really had and still do have a passion for creating beautiful things and we were blessed with very supportive parents and lecturers at the time. Ignorance is truly bliss when you are so young! We had nothing to loose and one thing we have never been is scared! Both Amanda and I had produced work during our studies that were recognized in industry related competitions or projects and I think that this gave us the confidence to believe in ourselves. We are both work horses and still put in 10 hour working days even though they are now split up at times fitting in our children’s schedules! We just have this attitude of not being scared to tackle anything, if you have put everything into it and you have planned well it has a very good chance of succeeding and if not, you will have learnt something from it!

Q: What inspired you both? 

A: To set up a business from scratch and build it into a recognized brand means that you have to “live” it, and I think it is just something that some people have in them and others don’t. Many designers have incredible creativity but lack organizational and entrepreneurial skills – we have an unbelievable partnership that balances each other and offers a support system that has seen us through the many tough times.

Q: What motivated you to be so authentic? 

A: We believe that you need to be honest and unpretentious, so it was easy, we had to do something that was close to us and that we could find some sort of connection with. Only after ten years of having the business did we start traveling overseas, up until then we used magazines to keep in touch with global trends and we always aspire towards designing fabrics that can compete anywhere in the world but is still authentic to our own frame of reference.

Q: How did you manage to finance your venture initially? 

A: Many think that we had a secret source of set up capital! Not at all, we both had waitressing jobs while we studied and this financed our initial raw materials. We lived with our parents for many years to keep our own expenses to a minimum and didn’t take salaries for a very long time. The technikon helped us to pay for the first stand we did at Decorex as it was such good marketing for the textile department and the training they offered. Our moms helped us sew the finished items and we mostly printed and cut everything ourselves for the first few years. Once we had built up enough cash flow, we moved away from the technikon facility we shared with the students and rented a small factory space. Growth was significant and so were the costs! We each took a R50 000 personal loan to finance the next move to a larger factory and 12 years later this has still been the only capital injection we have had! We have built up incredible relationships with some of our clients and many have been willing to help us with advance payments if really needed!

Q: What did you see happening in the South Africa interiors / textile industry that lead you to swim upstream?

A: Everyone was trying so hard to keep up and mimic what was happening globally that they missed the hunger for local inspired textiles that had an international appeal and was not ethnic but more contemporary.

Q: How was your product received initially? What did it take from the two of you in terms of sticking with your plans? 

A: We had an overwhelming response but the trick was figuring out which products would really be viable and then to set up the production line to support it. We are still fine tuning! One of our biggest “assets” has been the ability to analyze what we do and to make changes where we had to, as wells an openness to learn.

I am pretty sure that you will agree with me when I say that Lise and Amanda as the Design Team inspire us to authentic design; to persevere through tough times; to be clever, resourceful entrepreneurs and to be Proudly South African creatives.

Check out Design Team’s website: here for more of their GORGEOUS  fabrics or find them on Facebook: here and on Twitter: here.