In my previous blog post, I talked about how it took forever to get the contract with South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) settled, and how we began. Today I want to share a bit more about the scheme.

The proposed project with the DAC is a design competition to discover and nurture emerging young textile artists in South Africa. The problem we wanted to address was that there are talented students graduating with the design degree, but these students barely have opportunities to pursue their career in the design field. Unfortunately, students are often even discouraged by their own design professors not to pursue such career.

So we work directly with the students to encourage them to keep creating and to be entrepreneurial. We had a workshop at the Textile Department of the Tshwane University of Technology where Mpho graduated from to introduce the design challenge project. There were 17 students who showed interests and Mpho went over the work of each student. Each of them has an interesting point of view. To participate in the design challenge, each student will be sending a collection of six designs which tell stories from the African perspective. And the winner (or winners) of the design challenge will have an opportunity to work with our brand and realize their design into products. We also hope to hire many talented students down the road…

For the realization and distribution partner, we identified a well-known company in South Africa that has historically been supporting local artists and designers. We cannot share the name of the company yet, but if everything works out, this will be a great platform for us to share our brand stories as well as featuring many more young artists because companies have physical stores not only in South Africa but also in other regions including Europe and North America.

Throughout these processes, we value partnerships. Like many countries that are economically rising, engaging the public sector in South Africa is inevitable. As they are often working together with large companies, schools, and other organizations, working with the public sector gives us new opportunities to partner with other players in the ecosystem. In the case of the creative sector in South Africa, DAC sponsors or supports major art and design programs including Africa’s biggest design platform Design Indaba.

So this partnership with the DAC is basically a key milestone for us to operate in South Africa and beyond!



だからこそ、私たちは大学と連携することで、そうした学生に直接アプローチをし、デザイン業界で活躍する可能性やアントレプレナー精神の醸成を目指しています。最初のアプローチとして、私のビジネスパートナーのMphoの母校であるTshwane University of Technologyのテキスタイルデザイン学科でワークショップを行いました。17名の学生が参加し、Mphoが一人一人のワークを見て回りました。それぞれの学生がユニークな視点を発信しています。デザインコンペへの参加方法は、6つのデザインで形成されるコレクションを作成し、アフリカの視点からの自身のストーリーとともに、提出することです。最終的に選ばれた学生のデザインを、私たちMaki & Mphoのカプセルコレクションとして展示や商品化の機会する予定です。将来的には、こうした優秀なデザイナーたちにMaki & Mphoチームに参画してもらいたいと思っています。


こういったプロセスにおいて、パートナーシップを非常に重視しています。いわゆる新興国市場におけるビジネスであれば同様のことが言えるかもしれませんが、南アフリカにおいて、政府機関との連携は不可欠です。政府機関は当然、現地の他の主要機関や大企業などとの連携があるため、彼らとうまくパートナーシップを組むことで、そういった他の機関との連携が可能になるためです。南アフリカのデザイン業界という文脈においては、DACは、アフリカ最大のデザインプラットフォームであるDesign Indabaを含む、アートやデザインの主要な取り組みをサポートしています。