Matsidiso Shoes are inspired by the beautiful diversity of pan-African cultures, a celebration of colours melded with modern fashion. The Sesotho name Matsidiso means "comfort and peace after difficulty". The handcrafted shoes are made in Epping, Cape Town by a team of 11 people, each member with a history in the footwear industry (some, incredibly, have more than 35 years' experience in footwear).
The company's vision is that, through its ethically made shoes, it will have the opportunity to help build the South African economy by offering team members pension plans, fair wages above the current manufacturing benchmark, and company shares. Their Shoes For The Liberated mission is to break the chains of the destructive mass-production cycle, educate the community around sustainability, and to be more socially conscious.
Buying upcycled fashion is one easy way to consciously maintain economic growth without being destructive. The upcycling concept involves using existing items and restructuring them into new garments or accessories.
Matsidiso is constantly working on evolving its products and testing processes to improve the sustainability of the business. The company uses chemical-free vegetable dyes to naturally stain its leather and is currently testing a process where scrap leather is consolidated, pressed into sheets and made into 100% recyclable socking for its shoes. The majority of the manufacturing process is done by hand, so the company is able to keep its energy consumption low and employment high.
Matsidiso is also very particular about its suppliers, making sure it chooses people with the same values, who make an effort to recycle and uplift their staff, or who are small businesses who also need upliftment.
To shop Matsidiso’s large collection online go to www.matsidiso.com or call 065 819 2406
Upcycled truck tarpaulins, advertising billboard mesh, stretch tent canvas and yacht sails are just some of the materials Sealand uses to make everything from duffel bags and briefcases to wallets and travel bags. Then there is the cork and recycled paper pulp, which is skillfully crafted into amazing designer shades. The two main men behind the brand, surfer-designer duo Mike Schlebach and Jasper Eales, are both passionate about the outdoors and the environment. They have built a labour-intensive business which gives them the opportunity to employ as many people as possible. All Sealand products are eco-friendly and ethical, well designed and meticulously manufactured. Sealand products are stylish and durable and all carry a lifetime guarantee.
The Voyager travel wallet is made from a combination of upcycled advertising nylon sheets for the zip pockets, card holders and document sleeves on the interior. The exterior is made from durable materials such as yacht sail and Bedouin tent canvas. The Voyager is designed to house all your important travel documents in one organised, safe place. Retail price R950.
The Fold is a simple wallet with five compartments made from materials such as truck tarpaulins and canvas, which are extremely durable and water-repellent. It sells for a pocket-friendly R585.
The Mungo sunglasses are made with a unique material combination of upcycled waste material, cork and recycled paper pulp, which is bonded with a bio-resin composite. These unisex light-weight shades are unique and durable and come with a variety of lens options, adn sell for R1 890.
For more information or to shop online go to www.sealandgear.com
Ford Mustang Watches
The Ford Mustang has been the king of American muscle cars since 1964, and it continues to encapsulate the American spirit for petrolheads all over the world. Thanks to REC Watches, a Danish watch company created by avid car enthusiasts whose motto is “Recover, Recycle, Reclaim”, you can now carry a piece of American history with you everywhere you go with a Ford Mustang watch.
The idea was the brainchild of Christian Mygh and Jonathan Kamstrup from REC, who together scour salvage yards around the world for models, each of which can be transformed into hundreds of unique timepieces, costing from around R18 000.
“Most people would just see a pile of metal, a ghost of a Mustang. We see something completely different – the soul of a car and a story that needs to be told,” said co-founder Mygh. “I’m not cutting up Mustangs. I’m bringing Mustangs that are beyond repair back to life as a watch.”
These incredible chronograph watches are handcrafted in stainless steel and loaded with unique features, including a precision quartz movement and a striking black face which shows the distinctive Ford Mustang logo. On the reverse side are etched the Mustang horse and classic car with the words "untamed American spirit”.
To ensure their stories continue to be told, REC Watches painstakingly traces the history of each vehicle, talking to previous owners, collecting stories and images from the car’s past lives, and incorporating them into a bespoke video.
Each finished design incorporates the vehicle identification number, year of production and classic Mustang design cues. A power dial designed to look like a fuel gauge shows remaining battery life, and the hands, date, and numbers on the dial are all influenced by the iconic car’s dashboard.
The watchmaker uses the steel roofs, door panels, and hoods from 60s-era Mustangs to create each dial, which has been rhodium-plated and finished. Approximately 250 watches can be created from a single car, but each one comes with an individual story card, which contains an NFC chip and a QR code where you can watch a short video detailing the back story of that specific vehicle. In addition, each watch face also has a small plate containing the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car it was created from.
Lifestyle and social enterprise brand Up-fuse is based in Cairo. With a mission to promote a sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyle, it designs and produces environmentally responsible bags and products while supporting local communities in Egypt.
Up-fuse was founded by Yara Yassin and Rania Rafie and is now one of the leading eco-design studios in Egypt. The two product designers have developed techniques to upcycle plastic bags and transform them into high-quality fashion bags and accessories. Every product is hand-made with unique colours and patterns using the skills and talents of local artisans.
The process of making an Up-fuse item starts with local NGO Roh El Shabab in Manshayet Nasr, the so-called garbage city of Cairo, where garbage collectors called Zabbaleen pick up rubbish for a living. With the aid of the NGO, theycollect the plastic bags, clean them and unicycle them into the coloured material called sabi. Students who are not enrolled in regular education are taught the upcycling technique as a craft to encourage them to finish their education while generating an income to support their families.
The bags are sewn and finished by a talented leather bag sewer, A’m Sobhi, who spent his life sewing hand-made bags in Egypt, Libya and Jordan, but found his career derailed by the influx of cheap Chinese products to the Egyptian market.
Up-fuse has created job opportunities for 15 women, three of whom have so far been able to finish their co-education. They have upcycled more than 55 000 plastic bags in two years.