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Spring Has Sprung- Heritage Day

Spring Has Sprung- Heritage Day

Spring has sprung in South Africa and we are all getting ready for our world famous ‘National Braai day’. Braai is the South African term for what is known in other parts of the world as a barbeque. But trust me, there’s no better meat than braai’ed meat.

 

On Monday 24th September, South Africans the country over will be celebrating National Heritage day. So, what is Heritage day and why is it so important?

 

Previously known as Shaka Day, it used to commemorate Shaka the Zulu King who was instrumental in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a cohesive nation. It’s now a South African public holiday, declared in 1995, celebrated annually on the 24th of September. This is a day during which all South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture and diversity – the essence of what makes us a nation United in diversity. Diversity of traditions and diversity of beliefs. A true depiction of the ‘rainbow nation’.

 

And what better way to indulge in cultural explorations and sharing than around a fire with an ice-cold drink in your hand…

 

With the ray of sunshine of spring comes an even brighter range of watches. I hope you have taken the time to admire and spoil yourself or a loved one to one of our gorgeous watches. Linda is enjoying being able to work her creative juices in some warmth – finally!! Ps. Linda and the cold is a no-no :p

 

So, look forward to some engagement in the near future as she teases you to some ideas (or not). Who knows, perhaps you could even play a role and helping us choose what we’ll be treating the world to with our next range.

 

Our Ndebele Flora Range still has a few surprises coming – keep your eye out for those.

 

Until next time,

Elaine

September 19, 2018 by ELAINE MABILETSA
Sustainability - Hype or Awareness

Sustainability - Hype or Awareness

We are looking forward to the upcoming long weekend in South Africa, where on Friday 27th of April we celebrate Freedom Day and commemorate the first post-apartheid elections held in 1994. That is followed soon by yet another public holiday on 1st May which is, yes, International Worker’s day. Yay!!

 

We have come far as a nation and have seen significant growth and development globally too. Top of the mind and currently trending, is the concept of sustainability. What does it mean to be sustainable and what value does it add to our national and global pursuit of environmental sustainability.

 

By definition, sustainability is: “The avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” More and more individuals are becoming concerned with the impact they are having on the earth. We’ve seen a resurgence of focus on this agenda. The latest of events aimed at promoting this concept, is Earth Day 2018. This was incidentally celebrated yesterday, 22 April, with the theme this year being End Plastic Pollution. Why is this relevant; well…

 

Linda and I are conscious consumers and as such bear this in mind when thinking about our business. Design and quality are very important to us, yet we also have to bear in mind what it is that allows you, our clients, to have a great experience in acquiring your timepiece with a good conscious. The aspects we realise add to customer experience, are ease of purchase, price and value. The value you derive from owning your own piece of South African styling ;-)

 

With that being said, we have a great year planned ahead where you will see more of us in physical spaces. Our awareness starts with you, our customers. Look out for the announcement of where you can pop in to get your own Stitch and Steel timepiece.

 

Until next time, enjoy the last week of April!!

 

Yours in creating a sustainable brand.

April 23, 2018 by ELAINE MABILETSA
The history of (Stitch&Steel) Time....

The history of (Stitch&Steel) Time....

Happy April!
As we enter the second quarter of 2018 - how Time flies! - we are also entering the cooler seasons down here in sunny South Africa.  Hello Autumn :-)
Ever wondered where the wrist timepiece originated?  Well, it turns out that it was originally created not just as a teller of time, but more so as an art work and fine piece of jewellery commissioned by the Queen of Naples in 1810.   The result was the Breguet watch number 2639.  For more on this story check out the following link:  https://www.breguet.com/en/history/inventions/first-wristwatch#
Now, how did we as Stitch and Steel join the ranks of combining fashion with art in the form of a timepiece…?  Quite simply, we love fashion, accessories and art.  Mostly, we are proud Africans and wanted to share our passion of African style with the world!  And it was randomly that the topic of watches came up one day while we were deliberating ‘Where to from here’ and then the challenge begun.
Our first range was more of a transition from the clothing which had been very well received and featured in 2016 SA Fashion Week.  Our trademark had been design and use of the Ankara Dutch wax print.  Naturally we kick started the timepieces with this same imagery.
Next was the Ndebele Flora range.  Now this was a bit more challenging, yet seeing the final product was one of the proudest moments we’ve had so far.  Having ventured into a predominantly alien segment in South Africa, we literally functioned on a trial and error basis!  Needless to say, we have learnt so much about watches and manufacturing and logistics, and, and, and…. Goes to show, you’re never too old to learn!
So, that was just a tad bit on how we got to where we are and as time goes by we’ll be sharing more of our journey experiences and interesting stories/newsfeeds we pick up along the way.  
Until next time…
Elaine x
April 02, 2018 by ELAINE MABILETSA
Fynbos and Proteas

Fynbos and Proteas

The Protea is a indigenous plant of the southern hemisphere, found widely in the south-western and southern parts of South Africa, called the fynbos region.  On my first trip to the garden route I came accross the most incredible Flora and wildlife I have seen.  With a  stop off in the Tsitsikamma National Park for a light hike, I was blown away by the lush forrest and of course stopped to inspect the fynbos which is part of two dominant species of vegetation in the area.  This was part of the process of inspiration for the Ndebele Flora range, the King Protea which is the largest of the Protea species took the prize with its beautiful striking petals, and resembles a colourful crown.  In local tradition, the Protea flower represents change and hope, and it is because of this meaning that it has been made South Africa's national flower! 

Fun Fact- I also used the protea flower as the main flower on my wedding day! And don't forget that our National Cricket team is also called the Proteas!

March 27, 2018 by LINDA GALE
A Bird of Paradise or a Strelitzia?

A Bird of Paradise or a Strelitzia?

While working on our latest range, we had many late night sessions and of course a couple of days where all we did was research over a cup of tea and with the help of our in house designer and inventor Amanda, we couldn't go wrong!  The big question however was, how will people know what we are talking about when referencing this specific flower?  Do you call it a bird of paradise (which is the way I would describe it, or a Strelitzia?  And why do people call these flowers "Birds of paradise?" And did you know that the locals in South Africa also refers to them as the "Crane" flower?

All of the above is completely understandable, because when you look at them as a whole plant, they depict a flock of birds departing by the spiked bright orange and blue petals.  They are mainly found in the Kwazulu-Natal and Cape Provinces, and in my garden in Johannesburg...... yes I had to put it in here!

It has become a very popular source of inspiration in fine art, and now we at Stitch&Steel have incorporated it into an art piece within our watches that can be worn as a reminder of the royal bearing within each of us and to celebrate or pursue our freedom

I think the most wonderful thing about this flower is the message behind it and I hope this will inspire you today, as much as it has inspired me!

"Stay open to new possibilities and seek your freedom wherever you can find it.  Explore the world with a sense of optimism and excitement"

March 22, 2018 by LINDA GALE
The African Flora depicted through Ndebele Print

The African Flora depicted through Ndebele Print

The Ndebele are a Southern African ethic group, who created their own tradition and style of house painting in the 18the century.  These paintings and murals on their walls were initially created as a form of expression and communication of the grief they were suffering post the loss of the 1883 war.  They stood for the continuity of their community strength despite their grief and cultural resistance to their circumstances.  The wall paintings were secret codes created by the women, concealed in meaning to anyone but the Ndebele.  These symbols where always vibrant in design and expressed their self-identification, values, emotions, personal prayers and marriage.

The five main colours used in classic Ndebele prints are the same colour palates which inspired our colour usage in the depiction of African Flora through our latest range.  These are red and dark red, yellow to gold, blue, green and pink.  Each colour gives a symbolic meaning to the Ndebele.

The Ndebele print has been used in some stunning art works, homeware and accessories; and the depiction of their painting work has also been a huge inspiration to other accessory designers across the globe.  

March 18, 2016 by ELAINE MABILETSA