INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES courtesy of InKaturah
Former architect turned jewellery designer Siphathisiwe Hlongwane is behind InKaturah, a Joburg-based jewellery label that recently caught the team’s eye on Instagram. We chatted to Siphathisiwe to find out more about her designs, inspirations and dream collaborations.
When did InKaturah start?
The brand began in 2015 when I was looking to make a secondary income. I started with very simple, classic designs and made sure that the packaging was beautiful in order to be able to sell at a reasonable price.
How did you get into jewellery design?
I began with experimentation and self-taught techniques. I used to buy different materials, such as beads and copper wire, as well as different tools, which consisted of various types of pliers. I would then create different pieces. I watched some videos online to also help me with learning how to manipulate materials. Soon after, I began incorporating wood using the laser-cutting principles I had learned while studying architecture.
What inspires your designs?
There are several aspects that inspire the designs:
1. Geometry, architectural layering principles and merging different shapes together.
2. Experimentation with various materials and working with them to see what comes up. This is more of an organic, intuitive process.
3. Historical stories and concepts. Using pieces that symbolise certain aspects of African culture to come up with pieces that have a narrative, for example, the drum ring and pestle and mortar earrings.
Which one of your designs is your favourite, and why?
This one is always such a tough question! Whenever I create a new piece it becomes my favourite. I become so obsessed with it and wear that style until I move onto something else. I generally love the white version of any piece. For now I will go with the Giza earrings and the Giza stacked stud. They are great to pair with just about any outfit. You can dress them up or down, from sporty chic to an evening do.
If you could collaborate with a local designer, who would you choose and why?
I would love to collaborate with any designer that creates their own beautiful in-house prints. It would be great to see InKaturah designs merged with uniquely African, local prints, such as those of Imprint ZA and MaXhosa. This would give the pieces an added element of exclusivity, as the prints would not be the commonly available ones we often see and wear. It would be a refreshing take on items using African print design.
What’s next for Inkaturah?
I am looking forward to creating my own prints, as well as expanding into other forms of product design, such as bags and homeware pieces. I would also like to focus more on brand visibility, ensuring that it is more recognisable with fashion lovers in both the global and local space.
Follow InKaturah on Instagram to keep up to date with the brand’s latest designs.