9 creatives to look out for this Women's Month

To celebrate Women's Month, we're highlighting the work of some of our former participants in the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme.

Since the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme began in 2005, the mission has always been to give support to the country's emerging talent. In collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture, we've been able to bring 40 upcoming creatives to exhibit their work at our annual conference as well as to provide mentorship during the week that they spend in Cape Town.

As part of our Women's Month celebrations, we're taking a look back at some of the incredible women, past and present, who have been part of the programme.

Shelley Mokoena

Shelley Mokoena is the co-founder of fashion and interior design company Prime Obsession. Together with Keneilwe Mothoa, the designers continue to inspire with their looks that blend high fashion, street wear and a minimalist aesthetic. The duo have collaborated with brands like Country Road, Calvin Klein and have also been featured on Vogue.

Mokoena exhibited at Design Indaba as part of Emerging Creatives 2018.  

Danielle Clough

Creating unique embroidered artworks is what Danielle Clough is known for. Clough believes in creating sustainable products, often giving new life to waste materials.

Danielle was part of the 2016 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme. Since then she has gone onto build a highly successful global brand, creating her artworks for different companies including luxury Italian brand, Gucci.

Neo Mahlangu

Part of the 2018 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives class, Pretoria-born Neo Mahlangu is a self-taught artist who specialises in fine art. She creates striking imagery using pencil, charcoal and paint.

Her work is inspired by her relationships with people, objects and technology.  

Celeste Lee Arendse

Celeste Lee Arendse is the founder of South African high street fashion brand, Selfi. The Cape Town-based designer was part of the 2014 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme.

Arendse is known for her fitted structures, bold colours and playful patterns. Her work has graced many South African runaways, including the Mercedez Bens Fashion Week. 

Leah Bessa 

Gourmet Grubb’s Leah Bessa was part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives class of 2018. She co-founded the company with partners, Jean Louwrens and Llewellyn de Beer who all have the same goal of making South Africans more aware of what they are consuming.

This includes looking at alternative food like making ice cream using milk from insects. 

Crystal Birch 

Crystal Birch is a designer, stylist and millner who has created a language of own through eccentric hats. With a background in fashion, Birch has also worked as a stylist for brands like MTV Germany, Coca-Cola, Nikon and Mercedez.

She was part of the 2006 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme. 

Natalie and Kim Ellis  

Part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme in 2015, the sister duo is known for their organic and mindful fashion label. Their company, Joinery, creates chic apparel and accessories that are made in Cape Town.  

The company’s main focus has always been the planet and its people, using material that has a minimal effect on the environment. They've collaborated with various industry people including film director Lyall Coburn and illustrator Caroline Tomlinson.

Rendani Nemakhavhani

Rendani Nemakhavani is the founder of The Honey - a South African photo series that showed a black woman navigation through life and love. The seven chapter project was a collaboration with photographer Kgomotso Neto Tleane, one of the country's best young photographers working at the moment.

Based in Johannesburg, Nemakhavani is an industry chameleon as she flows into different fields effortlessly be it from illustrating, to directing or music.

She exhibited her work as part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives in 2015.

Balini Naidoo  

Balini Naidoo is part of the 2018 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme where she exhibited her range of trendy clothes for the visually impaired. She says she was inspired by a family member who gradually lost their site and the range is a way of assisting them to be more self-reliant and independent.

You want to be part of Design Indaba Emerging Creatives 2019? APPLY NOW

Read more on Design Indaba Emerging Creatives: 

Streetwear designer Wandile Leeu on bridging the gap between tradition and cool

Gourmet Grubb on making ice cream from insect milk

Ndumiso Nyoni uses striking geometric illustrations to celebrate women