Nine teams of two creatives each have been selected for the Design Futures Lab 2022. Included in the lab are fashion designers, artists, gamers, product designers and creative technologists who will be making immersive media prototypes.The Design Futures Lab is a creative economy project, hosted by Electric South, Twyg and Crossover Labs and supported by the British Council #SouthernAfricaArts.
The creatives will explore the intersection of fashion and XR through an online workshop on sustainable fashion and an in-person immersive digital filmmaking lab using new creative technologies and software. Each team receives a grant of R75,000 to develop their concepts. Finally, using international distribution channels and exhibition platforms, the lab will facilitate access to new markets for sustained livelihoods.
“This year has brought with it much energy and resources for those who want to explore immersive media, a commitment we made in 2015 when we started and which we continue to support today. We can’t wait to see what comes from the forerunners in South African design and sustainable fashion practices and to see how they explore immersive tech,” says Electric South producer Antoinette Engel.
Jackie May, founder of Twyg says, “The number and quality of applicants was far beyond our expectations. After intense and careful consideration, we are extremely excited to introduce the creative duos taking part in the Design Futures Lab 2022”.
Khumo Morojele & Mbangiso Mabaso
Khumo Morojele | Designer and Creative Director
Khumo is an aspiring South African designer, born in Los Angeles and who grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg surrounded by creatives. Khumo’s interest in sustainability (not only in fashion) stems from his African household where food containers and clothing are rarely thrown away, and where little goes to waste. He is on a continuous learning journey and is inspired by his country and the people who live here. Follow Khumo Morojele on Instagram.
Mbangiso Mabaso | Game Developer
Mbangiso “Baso” Mabaso is a self-taught game developer passionate about product design, and the emotions that a product evokes in a user. He holds a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein. Mbangiso and his team are on a mission to build the world’s largest virtual science lab, Sisanda, where learners can engage with science by using a smartphone or tablet anywhere, anytime. Sisanda won the MTN Business App of the Year Award’s Most Innovative Solution in 2019. Mbangiso has been chosen to be a part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives Class of 2022. Follow Mbangiso Mabaso on Instagram.
Masego Morgan & Natalie Paneng
Masego Morgan | Sustainable Fashion Advocate and Practitioner
Masego is a sustainable fashion advocate with a BA in Visual Communications. After graduating, she was named a Graduate to Watch by Between10and5. Although Masego has no formal fashion training, she has been studying and making fashion/apparel from a young age and started sharing her slow fashion journey online in 2016. From 2018 to 2020 she co-hosted multiple public clothing swaps with the proceeds from participants going to non governmental organisations. In 2020, she launched an online platform, cnscs_ (pronounced conscious) with her best friend, Stella Hertantyo. Cnscs_ is an open and inclusive space that inspires people to make more thoughtful and low-impact choices in their life and style. In 2021 cnscs_ won the Twyg Sustainable Influencer Award. Morgan has worked for South African fashion brand, Good Good Good, as a creative strategist. Co-creative directing their ‘Home’ collection and film that was presented at Milan Men’s Fashion Week SS22. She is based in Cape Town. Follow Masego on Instagram.
Natalie Paneng | Multi-Disciplinary Artist
Natalie received her BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand in 2018 and was awarded the Leon Gluckman Prize for the best piece of creative work in Dramatic Art. She lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Natalie makes use of both her self-taught digital skills and theatre background to create multidisciplinary digital art/new media. Paneng’s work has been exhibited with TMRW Gallery (2020;2021), The National Arts Festival (2020), Blank Projects (2020), Michaelis School of Fine Art (2020), BKHz Gallery (2019), Suburbia Contemporary (2021), Javett Art UP (2021) and Galerie Eigen Art Leipzig (2021). Along with this, she has participated in local artist residencies such as Bubblegum Club Future 76 Residency (2018), Floating Reverie (2019), and Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Artist Residency (2019) along with The Centre of A Less Good Idea’s So Academy’s ‘Thinking in Cardboard’ mentorship (2021). Paneng has published creative research through Ellipses Journal and Artist Research Africa, as well as being a 2020 Fellow with Institute of Creative Arts and UCT. Paneng describes herself as a world-builder and sees her growing practice as a way to navigate, share, and archive imagined and alternative realities brought to life through digital artistic process. Follow Natalie on Instagram.
Lesiba Mabitsela & King Debs
Lesiba Mabitsela | Inter-Disciplinary Artist
Lesiba is a South African interdisciplinary artist, designer, and fashion practitioner currently based in Johannesburg. Lesiba’s practice incorporates visual art and design with critical fashion and performance studies in his exploration of African masculine identities. He is a former recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation scholarship, holds a master’s degree in theatre and performance at the University of Cape Town which was guided by the multidisciplinary studies offered by the Institute for Creative Arts. Lesiba is a founding member of the African Fashion Research Institute. Follow Lesiba on Instagram.
King Debs | Multimedia Designer
King Debs is a Cape Town-based, South African artist who, since 2010, has focused on multimedia art and design. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Design and Technology from the Tshwane University of Technology. King Debs draws inspiration from his Tswana heritage and lived experiences as a child born in Mafikeng and raised in Tshwane. His work reflects a profound interest in African identity, scriptoria, handstyles, and indigenous ideographics. His work has been shown locally, including at Gallery Momo in Cape Town, Gallery One11, Imibala Gallery, AVA Gallery, Thupelo Workshop with Greatmore Studios, and St. Lorient in Tshwane. Internationally, Debs’ has exhibited at Los Angeles Center For Digital Art in the USA, and Chester Art Fair (UK) in 2018. In 2020 King Debs’s showcased in London at arebyte Gallery, and participated in the first virtual National Arts Festival in 2020. Follow King Debs on Instagram.
Matthew Edwards & Xzavier Zulu
Matthew Edwards | Multi-Disciplinary Experimental Designer
Matthew is an experimental designer from Johannesburg, working under the name matte, he is a multidisciplinary product designer working in the lighting, footwear, and material spaces. He has worked closely with Adidas South Africa reimagining sustainable footwear in the South African context and sells his designs through his own brand. Matthew co-founded the not-for-profit Big Circle Studios which seeks to expand on Johannesburg’s progression to a circular economy, interacting with grassroots waste systems and redesigning processes and products to replace our wasteful reliance on single-use plastic. Follow Matthew on Instagram.
Xzavier Zulu | Art Director, Designer and Upcycler
Xzavier is a South African art director, upcycler, and creative consultant. Xzavier – also known as Ricky Kunene – came to prominence as one of the faces and storytellers behind the multidisciplinary creative collective, The Sartists. He has since become an emerging voice for sustainability and circular fashion with his ever-evolving upcycling series, EVERYTHING IS A SAMPLE. Under this brand, Xzavier shares his love of denim and unique co-op design and upcycling processes to create “one-of-none” pieces made from thrifted denim garments. Follow Xzavier on Instagram.
Ntando Ngwenya & Kym Fiala
Ntando Ngwenya | Fashion Designer
Ntando established his brand, Ntando XV, for the high-end retail market, garment collectors and connoisseurs. Ntando, who began designing at an early age, likes to work with experimental cuts, pattern engineering, unusual and intricate finishes, treated goods and controlled fits. Ntando has formulated a new genre, merging conservative and postmodern techniques to create a new interpretation of clothing. Using a syncopated technique in pattern engineering and drafting intricate patterns, he interprets traditional methods to create popular styles in a contemporary light. Follow Ntando XV on Instagram.
Kym Fiala | AR Creator
Kym is the co-founder of Pixel Chefs, a digital agency based in Johannesburg. Pixel Chefs is a Meta and SparkAR partner. The agency builds augmented reality experiences for global brands on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. It has created effects for companies including Post Malone, Abba, 20th Century Fox, L’Oreal and Coca-cola. It also built an augmented reality game on messenger for Ellen Degeneres. Pixel Chefs won a Bookmarks Award and a Loeries Award for its work with Amnesty International. London Fashion Week is a client. Kym has been at the forefront of augmented reality and has had the honour of representing Meta. Follow Kym on Instagram.
Sihle Sogaula & Siviwe James
Sihle Sogaula | Researcher and Photographer
Sihle is a researcher, photographer, and stylist based in Cape Town, South Africa. She recently graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art with an Honours in Curatorship. Her interests are in film photography as a meditative practice, fashion as emancipatory and embodied ritual, as well as in multi-disciplinary and alternative ways of conducting and engaging with research. Through practice-based research methods, Sihle explores the relationship between bodily praxis and material objects. Using film photography, writing, and making, she explores how material things can hold many truths at once, and how memory objects are invocations of the present as much as they are invocations of the past. Sihle is currently working as a research and production assistant on a short film produced by Siona O’Connell. This year, Sihle will be pursuing a Masters of Art, and will be situating this research in the context of her hometown, King Williams Town, where Xhosa people first settled in the 17th century. Follow Sihle on Instagram.
Siviwe James | Conceptual Fashion Practitioner
Siviwe is a multi-faceted fashion practitioner/thinker. Siviwe draws social comparisons and analyses that impact her design work and critical thinking as a fashion practitioner. She showed her menswear collections at AFI Fast rack 2015 and SA Menswear 2016. Taking her practical skills and thinking, James has embarked on a new journey as a research assistant for the African Fashion Research Institute interrogating the fragments of fashion that allude to the psychologies, histories, and disruptions of African fashion that have limited, but also hold potential for, African creatives to materialise new ideals of modernity. Among her many roles at AFRI, she is the social media content curator. At AFRI she has produced and presented her collaborative filmic research work, Thinking Across Fragments – We are Heard. The series of work was presented at the June 2021 ‘What is Radical about Cultural Studies Now? Fashion, Culture and Politics in the Age of the Anthropocene’ digital symposium hosted by the London College of Fashion. Follow Siviwe on Instagram.
Holly Bell Beaton & Oliver Hunter Pohorille
Holly Bell Beaton | Writer and Designer
Holly is first and foremost a wordsmith, using the written word to digest her world. Initially a fashion writer, Holly now applies her critical analysis of design to art, music, sustainability, and discourse; curating both journalistic pieces and brand identities for corporate entities and independent spaces. Her current position as head of content for Connect Everything Collective, a Cape Town-based experimental media company, exists alongside writing partnerships with TheFourth Gallery, Lemkus.com, and Lukhanyo Mdingi. Holly’s most treasured epitaph in this life is that the pen, is indeed, mightier than the sword. Follow Holly on Instagram.
SCUM BOY | 3D Designer
Well-known since the release of the short film based on his life and art; SCUM BOY aka Oliver Hunter Pohorille has established himself in the industry with his visionary 3D animation. As a Gen-Z South African artist, Oliver developed a unique voice that translates into reimagined human forms, complex textures, and intricate worlds garnering the attention of brands such Paco Rabanne, adidas, Reebok, and Puma as well as exhibiting his artwork globally from Zimbabwe to London. Follow SCUM BOY on Instagram.
Sithandiwe Khumalo & Ian Mangenga
Sithandiwe Khumalo | Fashion Designer
Sithandiwe is a trend analyst and fashion designer with six years of experience working with local retailers and interacting with suppliers and manufacturers in the fashion supply chain. She has worked with Truworths, and its various brands, to generate design work and trend analyses. Follow Sithandiwe on Instagram.
Ian Mangenga | CEO & Founder at Digital Girl Africa
Ian is a social tech designer with seven years of experience in using technology and design to drive social change in civil society. She has a special focus on women, tech, and African development. A few of her previous projects include the UN Women’s GEF Action Coalition in Tech and Innovation in South Africa. She founded Digital Girl Africa, a women-focused digital hub using social tech to widen women’s access to the digital economy. Follow Ian on Instagram.
Tamzyn Botha & Tinyiko Makwakwa
Tamzyn Botha | Visual Artist
Tamzyn Botha aka Limb is an interdisciplinary artist whose work indulges play and improvisation through the mediums of video, sculpture, performance, and costume all in the realms of DIY. Married to memory, Limb explores the world of discarded objects and waste materials by weaving societies seemingly superfluous trinkets into reimagined worlds of reflection. Her habitual hoarding of thrown-aways and the forgotten lay visible across all the realms in which she explores, from art-making to community engagements. She re-assembles organic and synthetic relinquished materials into one space/face; a recollection of geographies mirroring the migration of people across physical and psychological landscapes and boundaries. “Make do” and “make of” are etched upon her expression and interests. An “on the ground and get it done” sort of mantra embodies her approach to the world(s) around her. Follow Tamzyn on Instagram.
Tinyiko Makwakwa | Textile and Fibre Art Practitioner
Tinyiko is a maker, and textile and fibre art practitioner. Her studio practice is experimental and shows a deep respect for the interwoven narratives of materials, the landscape and the making process, through the use of needle work techniques related to repair and repurposing garments as well as the ecological process of cultivating coloraturas through organic and inorganic pigment. Follow Tinyiko on Instagram.
Electric South has an award-winning track record in producing storytelling expressed in an immersive format. We run labs and workshops for creators, demonstrating cutting edge work and growing their practical skill set. We provide ongoing creative and technical mentorship to our artists in production. We regularly exhibit work and give talks at local and international festivals and events to evangelise new digital immersive media. Through our digital platforms, we share knowledge, tools and resources. Our aim is to grow the ecosystem of artists using new immersive technologies for storytelling in Africa and to facilitate collaborative information exchanges on the African continent. Electric South, a non-profit providing support and mentorship to digital visual storytellers, will implement a 3-day in-person lab in Cape Town. The focus will be on developing digital prototype/proof of concept ideas inspired by Twyg’s sustainable fashion workshops. Electric South will explore a number of different creative approaches including 360 filmmaking, volumetric capture, world-building, avatar creation, and augmented reality.
Twyg is a content platform that creates stories and events to support a transition to sustainable living. One of its projects, the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards connects the consumer market to sustainable fashion designers with the aim to grow and green the fashion industry in South Africa. With partners Luleke Zepe in Khayelitsha and Refashion Lab, Twyg is experimenting with new markets and business models that involve recycling, upcycling, mending and secondhand clothes. Twyg also partners with Afrika Tikkun, a youth employment agency, which is committed to positively impacting South Africa for the long term. For the Design Futures Lab, Twyg is designing a series of virtual workshops about sustainability, decoloniality and regeneration as it relates to growing, making, wearing and wasting of fashion in South Africa. By challenging the participants to reflect on the fashion industry, Twyg will introduce ideas that will germinate stories about the future of fashion.
Crossover Labs, are immersive media specialists, experts in the curation and creation of cutting-edge projects that combine technical innovation and storytelling. We like to collaborate with artists and technologists to present immersive, interactive work that will resonate with audiences around the world. Our series of eight live cinema documentaries combine stunning archive footage from the past century with contemporary soundtracks composed by popular musicians. In our Labs, Crossover works with top industry mentors, incorporating design thinking and bespoke methodologies in order to encourage meaningful collaborations between different creative artists and technologists. We run workshops on Immersive Media development, VR and 360 video production and photogrammetry. Our workshops focus on the development of project ideas centred on story and audience development and routes to market. Crossover Labs will facilitate market access and feedback. All selected concepts will gain access to South African and UK markets with a keen focus on grants, funding and festival strategies.
The British Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Arts programme works in the diverse and varied countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. Individually, each country and art sector has much to offer and exchange – collectively they tell multi-layered stories of contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. Our arts programmes are underpinned by research, focused on young people, and are committed to; Supporting the creation of new art and sharing this art to audiences both online and in-person, sharing skills and knowledge between creative communities in the countries of SSA and the U.K and Creating new connections between young people. Our programmes are delivered by partners (artists, arts professionals, arts organisations, collectives, hubs) who have the vision and understanding of their creative communities and are best placed to lead and tell the stories of their local art sectors. With our partners, we stimulate new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts. Design Futures Lab 2022 forms part of our Creative Economy programme in South Africa and aims to support young creatives with skills, opportunities, and knowledge that they need to build sustainable creative enterprises, build rich and provocative digital content and facilitate greater access to markets.
- Images supplied by applicants
- The sustainable fashion workshop, hosted by Twyg, takes place virtually from 14-18 March 2022
- The digital lab, hosted by Electric South, takes place in-person in Cape Town from 23-25 March 2022