10 Q’s with fashion designer Nomalanga Nyanda

This fashion Friday focuses on the work of an inspiring, focused and passionate designer Nomalanga Nyanda, we delved into what inspires her and sets her work apart. Nomalanga’s work is inspired by the Sophiatown era in the 50s, during a really difficult time politically/socially for black Africans in South Africa who still took pride in the way the looked. I find her design aesthetic so authentic, bold and transportive, she had a great eye for detail and is truly someone committed to their brand and the message thereof. She spoke more about what excited and drove her passion for the fashion industry, in a 10 question interview.

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  1. A little story about Nomalanga:


Abantu was founded by Nomalanga Nyanda in 2001. I have a B-Tech in fashion which I obtained in 2003. For the most part of my career, fashion has been my bread and butter.

2. What is Abantu Creations and what inspired/s it?

DSCF8069DSCF8085Abantu Creations is a 50’s inspired ladies wear clothing line. We create timeless pieces that are reminiscent of the Sophiatown era, where men and women in the City of Johannesburg made it a point to look good, despite all the hardships of being a black man/woman in that time…
How do you see consumers engaging with your brand (your vision for the brand)?

The Abantu customer is one that has the audacity to look different, someone that does not follow trends but wants to stand out. My vision for the brand is to see women wearing Abantu to work, on a day to day basis and not only to weddings and traditional occasions.

3. What is the most exciting part of your job?

The exciting part of my job must be the photoshoots where we create the visual appeal of the garments, tell a story about the garment and also allowing the garment to sell itself…

4. What in your opinion is the future of the South African fashion landscape?

I think the future of South African fashion could be brighter if we had the support of the retail stores as well as boutiques. If the boutiques and retail stores made it a point to sell products from South African designers, we would be made! Right now it feels as though we are in competition with one another…
5. How do you make sure you are relevant as a creative? and how do you make sure your brand is as well?

Relevance is when you can help to shape the industry that you are in to be better, I’m working on that.

6. Biggest career milestone and overall lessons?

The milestone that I would love to achieve is to be able to change the mindset of South Africans about supporting locally made products and also being proud to wear clothes that are represent who we are as a people, and not just reserve them for special occasions only…

7. What or who inspires your creative process?

I’m inspired by the books I’ve read, by other forms of art, whether it be dance, music, documentaries.
Best and worst advice?

Best: Be who you’re supposed to be.
Worst: Follow your passion…

8. Words of inspiration/mantra

The world is as we are
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I am always inspired by creators who take inspiration from their immediate surroundings/ history to create fresh, relevant and authentic designs, Nomalanga is one of those people. Her fashion label Abantu, which translates to “People” reiterates her connection to what inspires her as she endeavours to empower her customer through each item from her clothing line.

To view more of her work or consultations simply email her or follow her FB page:


10 Qs with Elisma Uys-Hanekom

Published 2015/05/26

This week I got to interview another inspiring person whom I admire immensely, she was my lecturer in Design School and is now the founder of the annual creative conference HELLO AMBASSADOR, which features talks and workshops with creative industry experts,providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs, designers, artists, comedians photographers and many others to showcase their work and share ideas.



1. A bit about yourself and career background?

I was born in Pretoria and grew up in Johannesburg. I finished my honours degree in Fine Arts at UP and then started a non-Profit organisation called JKK, with the main aim of promoting positive social change through creativity. My first initiative was an annual art publication called PostBox. Through the years Postbox evolved into a variety of creative events and exhibitions, and in 2013 I started Hello Ambassador.

2. What is Hello Ambassador and what inspired it?

(The official write-up): Hello Ambassador is an annual Creative Conference based in Gauteng. Now in its third year, #HA2015 will consist of a 2-day event, featuring Talks by industry experts (from a variety of creative disciplines), a Creative Expo, Workshops, VIP events, Awards, a Street Festival and After Party. Inspiration: My passion has always been to promote and develop the amazing creative talent and potential in SA. I started Hello Ambassador with the aim of providing a platform where young creatives and industry experts could meet, network, collaborate, gaining experience and exposure, showing off the unique talents of our country both nationally and internationally.






Images sourced from:

3. What is the most exciting part of your job?

1. Working with an incredible creative team. Our brainstorming sessions are amazing fun!

2. Coming up with new innovative ideas

3. Executing those ideas and seeing my brainchild become a reality and grow

4. Meeting interesting and ingenious people

5. Getting positive feedback and hearing stories about how Hello Ambassador helped or inspired people

4. What/Who inspires you and why? How do you stay inspired?

It’s not always easy to stay inspired! Especially when things get rough and you’re faced with what seem to be impossible challenges (which happens almost daily with a DIY event like this). During those times I have to constantly remind myself of the end goals, my previous successes and the foundational reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing. Or rather, my husband, Dirk, has to remind me of these things! He is most definitely one of my main inspirations. Furthermore I am extremely inspired by initiatives and campaigns that have a positive influence on society. I love watching video’s and reading articles of such initiatives to gain inspiration. Other creatives’ success stories are also great.

5. How do you make sure you are relevant as a creative? I believe it is extremely important to stay current. I read a lot of online articles, watch videos, subscribe to relevant blogs and newsletters and attend as many conferences and events within my field as possible. I am also currently doing a lot of research regarding the creative economy. I am planning to either do an entrepreneurial or business degree in 2016 or start with my Masters.

6. Escape/dream destination why? I LOVE traveling! My favourite destinations so far have been Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Mainly because of the interesting cultures and people, beautiful nature and historic sights. I also loved San Francisco, LA and New York. Next on my list is Mexico, Spain and maybe France or Italy. India and Nepal are also on the list, but I need to do Africa first. Come to think of it, I don’t have a dream destination, I want to see the world! Locally I love Cape Town and the Garden Route.

7. Biggest career milestone? Biggest Lesson? Successfully pulling off the first Hello Ambassador (2013) completely DIY and self-funded was a huge thing for me. It made me realise that anything is possible! I’ve also learnt a few hard lessons. One of the biggest lessons I had to accept was that you cannot do everything yourself. You have to delegate and trust people with your dream. On the other hand I have also trusted the wrong people…

8. In your opinion what distinguishes African creatives from their international counterparts? What do you think makes them special/ are they? There is something undeniably unique to African and South African creativity. Whether nurtured by history or endowed by heritage, I am not sure. Perhaps a combination of both. I also think the diversity in SA and the ways in which we are constantly reinventing, reappropriating and reinterpreting our culture and heritage, give a unique flavour to our creations, distinguishable in concept, process and style from the rest of the world.

9. Best and worst advice ever received?

Best: Don’t wait for things to happen – if you want something done, do it yourself. AND Fake it till you make it. Worst: “You’ll totally pull off a Mohawk.“

10. Words to live by… Love. Faith. Hope

One of the things I admired mostly about Elisma was/is her ability to inspire, when I was a student of hers she made it all look so effortless, and that is why I wanted to feature her on DesignPeo, I hope you are inspired by her words, and that you definately buy tickets to the HA2015 taking place in September (4-5) at the SCI BONO in Johannesburg, more info at:




10 Q’s with Artist Rhett Martyn

Published: 2015/04/12


This week I interviewed a former design and drawing lecturer Rhett Martyn, whom I have always found inspiring in the way he taught us to ask questions as creatives and the way in which he viewed the world. He is an artist whose work challenges and confronts certain ideologies and politics and he has a new show opened today , titled Drawing Horses which is basically an exploration of the horse as an element that is in history symbolically charged as connotative representation of power, politics and wealth.



(Image source: with the artists permission

Since this blog is all about inspiring people, spaces, design I asked Rhett about some of the things that inspire him, and this is what he had to say…

A bit about your self, what and where you studied, what you do currently, which city you live in, as well as you work and your coming up show.
Born in Bulawayo grew up in Jhb…lekker

Went to the National School of the arts in high school.

Studied fine art at D.U.T, then a masters at Wits university.

I lecture drawing at Greenside design centre , and work in Jhb as an artist (almost full time)

I still use a blackberry

1. Most inspirational person

My Dad, Keith Martyn

2. Most inspirational place

Johannesburg, hands down!

3. Most inspirational music band

Composer, Phillip Glass. Band Radio Head.

4. Most inspirational film

Citizen Kane

5. Most inspirational artist ( locally and internationally)

Chis Burden

6. Most inspirational quote/ words of wisdom

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.

7. Inspirational travel escape

Italy, almost anywhere in Italy…or Spain…mmm or the South of France

8. Most inspirational building/ architectural structure

Chandigarh, by Le Corbusier in Northern India

9. Most inspirational designer

Dai Fujiwara

10. Most inspirational book

John Fowles, The Magus

Drawing Horses is Rhett’s 6th solo exhibition and opens today at Hazard, Arts on Main, in The Maboneng Precinct. The exhibition presents a series of drawings at a variety of scales, in the medium of ink on paper.

Venue: Hazard, Arts on Main, The Maboneng Precinct.
Opening time: Sunday, 12 April 2015, 12h00.
Closing time: Sunday, 03 May 2015, 16h00.

I advise you to go and check it out, (support SA Talent: it is the right thing to do :))

I will mos def be going…

10 Q’s with Interior/product designer Tharein Strydom

2 weeks ago I had a chance to interview a fellow interior designer/past lecturer who is basically approaching design/interior design from her own unique point. One of the things that I most enjoyed about the interview was the realisation that labels don’t really matter, in terms of the kind of design you studied. Tharien does everything from event styling to graphic design, this way of thinking not only broadens one’s horizon in terms of design related entrepreneurial ideas but also frees you up from having to fit in the mould of whatever type of design you studied.

I felt inspired by this realisation and I hope you are left inspired by the interview of this dynamic designer.


What are your qualifications?

BA Interior Design (Design School South Africa)
Graphic and Advertising Design Short course Certificate (Intec)
Finishing my Honours Bachelors of Arts in Art History (Unisa) this year.
I have also done 3 short courses in Photography and I am also lecturing part time

What is your current job?

I have my own company called Swagger Products. It started off with accessories for myself and friends, and then when I saw all the opportunities I developed it into a homeware range. I create nice to have products/homeware, as well as décor. I also do freelance design work – mostly graphic design (pamphlets, invites, flyers) and occasionally I will help with interiors.

What projects does the brand/company focus on?

For the past 3 years I was focused on doing markets, almost doing a market every second week. This year I am taking a market sabbatical. I am busy transforming my website into an online store, just wanting to focus on online orders. I also do custom projects – corporate gifts, wedding stationary and accessories as well as décor. I am busy developing a new range, because babies are everywhere (hint-hint) I also cut projects for students.


What are some of your recent projects that have been creating exciting opportunities for your company?

By doing markets and getting your products out there, you meet a lot of creative and you get to know the market. Recent project that got a lot of attention is my planter series – hanging, standing and even solid wood planters. It is trendy and have been featured a few times – opening new doors and opportunities.


Describe the design scene in Pretoria?

Intimate and friendly. Yet loads of space for growth, especially for collaborations. Up & coming!

How does Pretoria compare to Johannesburg in you opinion (in terms of design/designers)?

Pretoria has a lot of potential, a lot of creative and a lot of artist/designers seeking a platform to exhibit/present their art/design. Pretoria lacks in venues and ideal spaces, where JHB has the right infrastructure for artists to boom. Pretoria s definitely experiencing a change, and South Africa should know that the Capital is ready for business.

What are the future plans for your company/brand swagger?

Creating a successful online store, focusing more on events and styling and obviously trying to make Swagger your go to gift store.


What is your approach to interior design?

Keeping it functional and simplistic, making use of the given space and creating creative spaces through art and design.

What/where do you draw inspiration from

Design Sponge Blog, Design Lovefest Blog, Pinterest as well as a few Instagram accounts. Local magazines such as House & Leisure and ViSi.

What is your design motto?

Don’t just run with your first idea. Also, have focus areas, don’t try and focus on too many elements at once.

I hope you are left inspired by the interview of this dynamic designer I know I did. Happy thursday…