Here at KAMERS/Makers we believe that craft should tell a story. Traditions and crafts are a method of passing down stories and memories from generation to generation. This year, we’ve seen a rise in Makers who are reinventing traditional crafting methods to make it both relevant and trendy whilst still keeping the heritage behind it. Two of our Makers, The Herd and Bili BraWear tell us the story of how they perceive the importance of this craft and the transformation thereof.
The Herd is a brand inspired by and paying tribute to the iconic beading culture pioneered and mastered by Zulu warrior women. For centuries, beading has been used as a communication tool, with meaning ascribed to colours, birthing a language to engage, communicate and live through.
The Herd seeks to play its part in bringing this journey, archive of thoughts and meticulous design skills to a contemporary and modern-day market through carefully crafted luxury products.
Each handcrafted piece tells a story through beading and carries its own energy. A detailed combination of design, colour and shape forms a highly polished product. All the beads used are glass, threaded with recycled nylon, ensuring no harm to the environment.
The Herd aims to create sustainable employment opportunities to fulfil their vision of empowering women and the communities they live in. All pieces are exclusively manufactured by women based in rural areas and townships.
The Herd’s brand is contemporary, yet traditional. They are community-driven, focused on innovation and committed to finding ways to increase opportunities for joyful self-expression. Their modern take on this rich ancient craft will inspire and encourage younger women to learn the skill of beading. In this way, livelihoods can improve in disadvantaged parts of South Africa, while a new beading language of colour and contemporary design develops for posterity.
Originating from the Zulu word, ‘izimbili’, symbolising the power in the collective, Bili BraWear crafts the perfect accessory to spice up your wardrobe. Using a combination of bright and bold African inspired patterns, their beaded bra straps are sure to add some colour to your outfit. And when purchasing a beaded bra strap, you are supporting a woman and her family in Wallacedene, an informal settlement near Cape Town.
Bili BraWear is the product of experimentation and adaptation of different beading techniques. Beading on loom is transformed into a process of weaving onto elastic. An entirely new concept and product idea all-together, these bra straps showcase exactly what South Africa represents – diversity. Bili BraWear founder, Lindsay Fisher, writes, “Each bead in Bili BraWear represents an individual. When the beads are specially woven together they result in a unique and innovative product which represents the wonderful potential South Africa holds when we stand united.”
Throughout the ages, women have used beads for embellishment. When wearing these statement bra straps, you are reminded of the rich history and heritage of South Africa whilst being able to show it in a modern, innovative way.
The importance of women empowerment is emphasised through Bili BraWear. There is no longer any reason to keep bra straps out of sight… on the contrary, rather creating a powerful statement through these handcrafted straps. This instills a sense of confidence and power. At the same time, the empowered woman who wears a Bili BraWear product, empowers a less fortunate woman.
We can’t wait for you to experience the stories and heritage behind these handcrafted products at our next show. Find The Herd and Bili BraWear and others at these shows: