A chat with Designer Tsakani Mashaba of Hamethop

September 2, 2016 | By Roberta Thatcher

Known for her stylish and standout handmade leather accessories, South African designer Tsakani Mashaba creates her range of beautiful and unique products under the brand Hamethop, which fuses local materials, ancient African techniques and contemporary design.

We caught up with her to find out more about her work, her inspirations and her ethos.

Describe your brand in three words. Contemporary African Art.

How did Hamethop come about? It was started by a deep desire to express African focused ideas using moveable objects. I wanted to translate common and unusual art, craftsmanship and architecture into fashion pieces.

How do you design and make each piece? I get excited to design when an idea ticks these boxes: Art; Tradition; Freshness and Craftsmanship. I work with master crafters and weavers in Johannesburg, Dakar and Cape Town. They are a key aspect of my work, as they bring my ideas to life.

How are the materials you use significant? We design and manufacture our own fabrics. This is important for two reasons: 

1) To revive a dying weaving culture by producing innovative materials using ancient weaving techniques, whilst honouring our crafters. These are the skills that we can’t afford to let disappear, they are as valuable as Africa’s mineral resources.

2) To create contemporary African prints inspired by African art and artists. This gives us the space to showcase our diverse history in shapes, colours and techniques.

What is different about your products to other brands? We are a limited-edition luxury brand. We take time to make most of our products and only keep limited stock from each edition.

What is the story behind the company name? At the core of our brand we stand for African Heirship, thus our name symbolises this core value.

Your favourite of your products and why? The Weekender and Sneakers in our Ndebele print; they are the best travel mates.

Which designers inspire you?

Anya Hindmarch‘s quirky designs
Deola Sagoe‘s craftsmanship
Ulyana Seergenko‘s ladylike glam and constantly finding inspiration from her Russian heritage.

What new product does the world need right now? African inspired wallpaper!

Current trends you love? The Marakiss sandals, which are mostly worn in Morocco and parts of West Africa.

Current trends you hate? I can’t really think of any, I respect that each individual expresses themselves differently.

Why is buying African design important? It helps to retain skills on the continent and allows the African design eco-system to flourish.

Good design is…Functional and Slow!

What are you currently working on? Our second edition to be launched next year.

To stay up to date on Hamethop’s new products, follow them on Instagram.



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