Photos from The African Market at Old Spitalfields, London

I spent Monday hanging out with Lusungu at the Creativity and Noise and Merkato stall at The African Market Bank Holiday Festival, presented by Open the Gate at Old Spitalfields Market. There was entertainment, food and a variety of African and African-inspired art, design and crafts. I got to chat to some of the designer-makers and creative entrepreneurs – it’s always inspiring to be around other creative people!

Enjoy the photos and do check out these great brands and makers. Prepare your senses for a print and colour explosion!

(Photo above: recycled textile pouches by BURST. Contact: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com)

 

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Lusungu with his screenprinted Creativity and Noise t-shirts and Merkato baskets and toys

 

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Happy customer Winkate, rocking her brand new Africrown tank from Creativity and Noise

 

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Woven plastic bags from Senegal, available from Serenity Bags: senebagz [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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Hoodies by Open the Gate

 

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Shoe laces by Open the Gate

 

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Trying on a fabulous corset by Evie Nix (don’t ask about the face!)

 

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More ankara/wax print goodies from Evie Nix, including bangles, cuffs and earrings

 

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Wishlist: this green weekend bag  and the yellow Choolips dress, available from Sapellé

 

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Textile recylcing – lavender pouches made from wax print off-cuts. By BURST: burstlondon [at] gmail [dot] com

 

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Beaded bracelets from Sapellé

 

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Loved these shirts, shorts and t-shirts by TYMO

 

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After years of communicating virtually, I finally got to meet fashion designer Fée Uhssi in the flesh!

 

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Dolls by Verona.C

 

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And the lady Verona herself!

 

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Bibs and booties from the House of Loulee

 

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Lucy of House of Loulee. Last Christmas she custom made some beautiful boots for my friend’s 18 month old and a funky sweater for Lusungu.

 

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Story time!

 

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I didn’t catch the name of the last band that performed. Let me know if you did!

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo (except the one of Lulu, taken by Yvonne of Evie Nix), with a little love from VSCOcam.

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Interview with Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneur, Annegret Affolderbach of Choolips

Last week I had the pleasure of finally meeting Annegret Affolderbach, the founder of London-based womenswear label, Choolips, in person.

Having featured Choolips designs on the blog before, it was great to meet the amazing woman behind the brand. Annegret’s passion for what she’s doing – championing high quality craftsmanship; reviving ancient textile traditions; empowering the local artisans and entrepreneurs behind them; operating with small water and carbon footprints – is infectious. She is a rebel, in the best sense of the word, on a mission to make the world a better place. With exquisite style and beautiful stories. Yes, we can have all this!

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Inspired: Furniture Design by Hamed Ouattara

Hamed Design Side Tables

I recently met Hamed Ouattara when he was in London for the Graphic Africa exhibition featuring designers from Design Network Africa. Along with my first experience talking through an interpreter (awkward!), it was a great opportunity to see Hamed's furniture in the flesh – or should I say metal!

Based in Burkina Faso, Hamed works primarily with recycled materials, creating pieces that marry culture and modernity. Functional design that reflects the reality of his environment and that can be integrated into daily life, all the while adding beauty to it. He is a man after my own heart when he says:

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Inspired: Recycled Arms in Goncalo Mabunda’s Art

Goncalo-Mabunda-Chair-Recycled-Arms

Sculptor Gonçalo Mabunda recycles arms recovered from 16 years of civil war in his homeland, Mozambique. Talk about true upcycling – creating works of beauty from arguably the most disgraceful of man's inventions! Gonçalo is exhibiting at London's Jack Bell Gallery until August 10th 2013. 

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Interview with Writer and Editor, Nana Ocran (In Anticipation of Afrofuture at Milan Design Week)

Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor who specialises in contemporary African culture. Under her belt is the Time Out Group’s series of guides to Lagos and Abuja (Nana was Editor-in-Chief) along with consulting gigs for established publications on West African culture for the Danish Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts. Furthermore, Nana was nominated for CNN’s African Journalist of the Year in 2011.

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Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori of Yinksdesigns

Kekere-chair

I first came across furniture designer Yinka Ilori's work at the African and African- Caribbean Design Diaspora (AACDD) exhibition a couple of months ago. His use of bold colour and pattern drew my eye. I later learned that Yinka specializes in upcycling discarded furniture. Passionately against the unnecessary waste of consumerist culture, Yinka is doing his bit, one piece of furniture at a time. Today, the London-based designer and entrepreneur shares his story.

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La Petite Congolaise at the Re-Loved Lounge

Re-Loved-Lounge

La Petite Congolaise Re-Loved Chair

I missed the Re-Loved Lounge last month: African & African-Caribbean Design Diaspora designers transformed a space at the annual 100% Design show into a playful sitting area with upcycled furniture.
Laurence Kanza, aka La Petite Congolaise, was one of those designers and she shared a picture for all of us who couldn't be there – a before and after shot of one of her upcycled dining room chairs.

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