Announcing the Accelerator Designers 2020

Meet the designers who have been selected for the Designer Accelerator, EFI’s programme to support emerging African designers to become investment-ready. The Accelerator focuses on expanding a brand’s supply chain, scaling up production, sourcing new products and developing a production team. 

Lukhanyo Mdingi, South Africa

“There’s a notion that feels quite visceral and honest when thinking about our label.  I believe coming from a small coastal town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa instilled a languid sensibility within me that you’ll find in our collections.

After graduating from Cape Peninsula University in 2015, it was our participation in the PITTI UOMO Immagine A/W17 Generation Africa in Florence that set the momentum for the labels trajectory.

We’ve found that the spirit of time has yielded us to create collections that have a certain steadiness to it. Season after season we’re constantly looking at the essentials and refining each style, creating a certain kind of desirability and elegance has become part of the practice of creating a timeless wardrobe.

Our intention is to collectively create a body of work that has a sense of soulfulness to it, work that is steady, solid and strong.”

Margaux Wong, Burundi

“I am Margaux Rusita, a Guyanese/Burundian Sustainable Designer based in Burundi, East Africa. My company, Margaux Wong, is an Innovative Sustainable brand which practices the amazing transformation of rare cow horn and brass into luxurious, beautiful wearable ART. I have been passionately working as an ethically driven designer for more than 18 years and my designs are heavily influenced by my everyday experiences.

As Creative Director, I am constantly working with my team in an attempt to produce uniquely distinguished artisan jewellery using tedious traditional techniques. My PASSION to see my vision come to pass and the love I possess for sustainability has sparked the imagination and has inspired hundreds of young people whom I have been blessed to mentor over the last ten years in Burundi. I aspire to make a lasting impact across the globe, as I pursue my mission to connect people through ART, LOVE and PASSION.”

Jiamini, Kenya

“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her;  by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes”.  

Each day I piece together strings of beads that tell not just my story, but that of the world I live in today.  Highly driven by passion and an intuitive eye for design I find ways to transform traditional pieces into contemporary jewellery, not just through design, but in telling a generational story inspired by the past, for the present, yet still relevant in the future. 

I’m continuously working to help communities rise above poverty through economic empowerment while promoting sustainable development solutions through design at Jiamini, a brand that artistically expresses the world of Creativity through its rich cultural heritage, influenced by traditional techniques and craftsmanship. I continue to artistically challenge myself, push boundaries in the creative process, using the past, present and future world as my backdrop for inspiration in the creation of my one of a kind wearable pieces.”