Thursday, 25 October 2007


I run a fashion label called Earthtones. The pieces below are two of my favorite since I started designing clothes. Introducing Rebel Bride and Sunshine.

Model: Tunde Aladese
Photo: EO

Rebel Bride by Earthtones

Sunshine by Earthtones

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Nick Rawcliffe at Deploy

Londoners are invited to another open house event at Deploy Workshop featuring furniture designer Nick Rawcliffe. Details below...

Dear DePLOY Friends,

Following the success in Paris Pret-a-Porter 'SO ETHIC' show (sponsored by UK Trade Investment), London Design Festival, and numerous press coverage on DePLOY's unique approach to fashion (eg.
DePLOY is pleased to invite you its upcoming private view party featuring sustainable product designer and RCA graduate, Nick Rawcliffe.Nominated for 'Best New Exhibitor' at this year's 100% Design in London, Rawcliffe's extraordinary furniture designs include 'hive', a hanging chair made from sustainably sourced birch ply, and coffee tables made from recycled coffee grinds -- a perfect compliment to DePLOY's sustainable fashion ethos.

Please join us for this exceptional event on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at our flagship store DePLOY workSHOP, located on 148A St. John Street, EC1V 4PR. Drinks and special discounts on DePLOY collections and Rawstudio furniture from 6 to 10 pm.

RSVP or (0)20 7250 0199.

DePLOY is open daily from 11am-8pm, Monday to Saturday. We look forward to seeing you there!"

Friday, 19 October 2007


I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement yesterday when I saw the work of designers Karo Akpokiere and Chukwuma Ngene of The Seek Project- Karo and Chukwuma are graduates of General Arts (ND) and Graphics Design (HND) from Yaba College of Technology now City University of Technology, Lagos. The two members of the team share an alma mater as well as a love for urban youth culture. Their hip hop influence is evident in their graffiti designs on stools and their emotive illustrations inspired by song below. During the day they work in a brand management firm and at night, they exercise their design skills for their own private pursuits.

Stareface and her outstanding headgrear.

The illustration below is inspired by the song Le bien; Le Mal by MC Solaar and is available for download as an eps, CorelDraw and Illustrator file. All the seek project team require is that users credit the source of the image to the designers and send them a photo of what was created with the image.

OMA: No exclusivity to the acronym.

The Graffiti Stool

One of the most impressive features on the Seek Project web site are images of Karo's shoe design from start to finish. He calls the design Alterna; comfortable walking shoes made for people with flat feet.

"The Alterna design represents my passion for shoe design and it was my diploma graduating project. I wanted to learn a bit about the practical arm of footwear and to build a portfolio with the aim of using same to score an internship position with a shoe design/manufacturing firm where I can learn about the shoe business in detail with the plan of setting of a proper lifestyle shoe and apparel brand. Also if the opportunity to mass produce this design comes along I definitely will not be averse to that."- Karo Akpokiere


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Design a Life: The Science and The Art

I have often marveled at the science of plotting the graph for a successful life. People like Mozart, Tiger Woods, The Williams Sisters and Michael Jackson were child prodigies whose parents successfully designed their lives to ensure that they became outstanding in their fields. I contrast that to stories of people like Steve Jobs, whose lives are designed inadvertently yet successfully by a passion for what they love to do. Steve Jobs’ biological mother went to great lengths to ensure that her son went to college. And he did, for one semester, after which he dropped out. However Jobs dropped in on some calligraphy classes which helped him to develop multiple typefaces for the Mac computer used the world over today. My mother’s refrain regarding any project has always been “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I have been haunted by that maxim all my life because I am far too spontaneous to plot a scientific graph, at least not for life, but am more inclined towards the art of living every day fervently. I was comforted and inspired by Steve Jobs commencement address to the graduating students from Stanford University in 2005. Follow your heart and the dots will connect looking backwards. See link to Steve Jobs' sppech here


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Design Jockey Session

Lanre Lawal won the inaugural edition of the International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2005. His intriguing collection of graphic, web and multimedia designs over a period of five years swayed the judges in his favour. Lanre is the CEO and Creative Director at The Design Jockey Sessions. He studied Mathematics (Science) at Lagos State University and the mélange of his academic foundation in logic and his intimacy with Lagos’ dynamism reflects strongly in his designs. He speaks to 2020visionng about his products and the future of design in Nigeria.

Did you think you would win the IYDEY award in 2005?

I was optimistic about the Nigerian award. After making it past 140 Nigerian finalists, at home here, I had to be even more optimistic about winning in England. I got 7,500pounds to spend on a project.

What did you spend the money on?

I had a lot of sketches of products and I spent the money making those products such as the Armistice chair, The Longitude Wall Shelf, a CD rack, the Lawyer’s Gambit Bar stool and various other products. A number of these products were unfortunately damaged by DHL whilst in transit to London last year for the 100% expo at Earls Court. The few that made it were exhibited and have been on various design websites around the world.

How has your background in Mathematics aided your design skills?

First, the central skill to my design career is three dimensional animation. Within 3D, there are the Cartesian xyz axis nodes that enable peeking 360 at the object or mesh being modeled. Another personal reflection is that imagination precedes logic. Logic, another word for Math, seems a subset of imagination…like a state capital, while imagination is the Planet. I find the word 'imagination' to be an accurate description of my work. First I feel, then imagine, and then practice. The practicing process is assisted by logic. So the laws of perspective (sans McLuhan's ideas) for hand-drawing, applying Design Software and Math are logic-based assistants. You may need to apply logic to make imagination coherent.

What do you find most fascinating about Lagos?

The kinetic diversity, instant familiarity, colors in the sky, the native language, all the buses Warhol in front of you and Technicolor is a sunset away. A sense of freedom you can't rationalize when things could actually be dangerous and laden with uncertainty. Happiness is more intense here. It makes a knife out of your alertness. Authenticity is paradoxically cheap and folks are ready to put passion in anything; no matter how trivial. I am very in touch with Lagos and Lagos is very central to my work.

Is design profitable?

On the personal level; design is my calling, I have spent eight years in the field, and the answer is yes, design is very profitable. It was toil for a while, and gradually one got more clients who trusted my creativity with their brands. On the national level, we’ve not even begun to articulate what design represents in the Nigerian canon. All endeavors in Nigerian design while having existed have not been categorized or documented for commercial value. There is design within in the arts context and there is design in the industrial context. I am interested in design in the industrial context which is actually far more profitable. This is where you design a car, a shirt, a pair of shoes, a chair and make 400 or 4000 pieces of it exactly the same. I think there needs to be a system that encourages the awareness of design (whether in the traditional media, formal education or blogs like these), and how revenue can be derived from design even at a small scale industry level. Things like that put into motion and looking at the UK who derive 25% of their GDP through the creative industries and looking at London that is being celebrated as the design capital of the world. We can take a studied cue from the UK's creative industries and apply our own indigenous culture to industrial design.
All images, products and designs in this post by Lanre Lawal.