Anwar Rayners is the very talented pattern maker & craftsman for Kushn who has been working in the leather industry since he was 13! We’re in awe of Anwar’s passion and dedication to his craft. He tells us that it’s the challenge of creating something new that keeps him inspired everyday.
After leaving school at 13 to find work to support his family, he worked for various Cape Town-based leather manufacturing and design companies, picking up many different skills along the way. We know from working with him that there’s very little Anwar cant’ do. We’re really proud that Anwar is the pattern maker for Kushn and the maker of these beautiful I-Pad sleeves which will be available soon.
Greer: Hey Anwar, thanks for taking time out to chat to us.
Anwar: It’s a pleasure. Fire away!
G: Ok, so when did you start working in the leather craft business?
A: Well I started at quite a young age. I left school at the age of 13 because it was really tough at home financially back then so I had to drop out and look for work.
G: Oh wow. And how did you end up working with leather?
A: I basically took the first job I could get through a relative and ended up working at a leather factory in Cape Town and that’s where everything started.
G: Did you work as a pattern maker?
A: No I didn’t. I started off as general helper working under two guys responsible for framing, fresh cuts, riveting etc. When they left, I took over and progressed until I eventually learnt every process required to put a leather product together.
G: So you learnt the trade on the job?
A: Ja, I didn’t go through any formal training. What I know now about making a bag or designing a bag, I picked up along the way.
G: And you clearly enjoy what you do…
A: Ja! I’m really passionate about it. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s what I know and what I’m good at, so yeah.
G: Thanks Anwar. We’ll leave it there for now. We’ve both got work to do!
A: No problem, thanks for letting me share on your blog.
I’ve been playing with the idea of designing my own fabrics to be used in the Kushn collection. So I’ve started a board on pinterest to help me source ideas for fabric designs. I’m not sure exactly what the fabrics will look like, but I’m thinking bold geometric prints inspired by the colours, stories and patterns found on Kitenge and Kente cloth. Here are some of my pattern finds.
Buying local means job-creation, improved competitiveness and boosting new and existing enterprises. That’s why we’re excited to be supplying a new store that celebrates South African products, artisans and designers. The shop is called ‘Made in SA’ and is located at O.R TAMBO International Airport. Our full range is available in store and we’ll hopefully be adding some new products in the near future. :)
These beautiful strips of Kente cloth were made for specially for us by weavers from Sakora Wonoo, Ghana. The Kente is produced by individuals in their own looms.
Like most of Africa’s visual art forms, Kente is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values and political thought.
We are interested in looking at ways in which the traditional arts (like weaving) or leather making merge with new technology and we’re excited to partner with the weavers and to share this beautiful art form with the world.
We’re so thankful to the CCDI (Cape Craft and Design Institute) for helping us bridge the gap between design/craft and business! :) It’s been really great for us non-business types who before the course didn’t know the difference between a price-list and and a to-do list!
(I have to add that the catered lunches are pretty good too.)
What’s more, they’re also organizing a market day for all the participants in the “Retail Readiness Programme”. The Market will take place on the 7th OCTOBER 10:30-3pm at the CCDI training facility in Barrack Street, Cape Town - next door to Field Office cafe. There’s a great mix of jewelry, leather products, fashion accessories and shoes to choose from! We’re excited and hope to see you there!
Our inspiration for the kushn range comes from an appreciation for African textile weaving and design traditions especially Kente cloth from Ghana.
This is why I’m in love with these artworks by Atta Kwami, a Ghanaian painter. His paintings instantly suggest Kente cloth (Kwami’s mother was an artist and textile designer) and much of his inspiration comes from the visual fabric of Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city and his home.
His work has a spatial complexity, filled with visual tensions and contrasts in texture and colour.
“ More than anything else, I feel my working aesthetic has been shaped by the rich visual culture of Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city where I have lived since 1986. The multitudes of sign painters, whose creative activities have transformed the visual character of the city, have engaged my attention. The diversity of painting in Kumasi also suggests a pluralist that does not make difference an issue.” - Atta Kwami
This past weekend we exhibited Kushn at the Design Indaba in Cape Town. The experience was really great - we met some inspiring people and learnt alot. We’ve also got loads of fresh ideas on how to expand our range, so watch this space! A special thank you to all who helped set up the display. <3
We’ve spent the Winter months designing and making beautiful bags and accessories which we’ll post to the interwebs soon!
Kushn has taken us on an interesting journey this year and we’ve met loads of interesting (and strange) people along the way. We’ve learnt many lessons and have had some fun too :) We are also in the process of sourcing interesting textiles from all over Africa to line our bags.
Soon we’ll be stocking a few stores in Cape Town and will be trading at a couple of design markets which we’ll list on our blog in the upcoming weeks. Also check our Etsy store for updates.
Starting this Saturday, we’ll be at the Oude Libertas market in Stellenbosch from 9am-2pm. Please visit us there!