Would you wear wood? The designer setting trends with nature


The wood gives way and bends in Inga Gubeka’s hands. It’s soft, malleable – the texture of fabric. Using a laser cutting process, Gubeka has created a revolutionary line of bags out of wood that is breaking fashion boundaries and challenging the way we think about what we wear and how we wear it.

“Africa is all about transformation, turning the expected to the unexpected,” he says. The leather, cork, canvas and shweshwe details make the bespoke accessories unmistakably African. But Gubeka was innovating long before this creation, from making his own furniture and décor when he couldn’t afford to buy, to creating the Indalo Décor brand which has since evolved to focus on wearable accessories. “Everything I do has always been based on innovation,” he says.

His ability to create the extraordinary has led to him being mentored by leaders in the fashion and design industry, with his work showcased at Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week, worn by models Alek Wek and Candice Swanepoel, and nominated as one of the most beautiful objects in South Africa at Design Indaba 2017. But Indalo is more than just a successful brand. It’s a way for Gubeka to keep innovating and filling a gap, whether that be for beautiful accessories or employment. While his products are sold at some of the top retail spaces in Cape Town, he’s taking the production back to the townships to create jobs and encourage entrepreneurship. Gubeka’s accessories are a reflection of South Africa. He is forging a path to innovation and success with products that are steeped in tradition. There’s immense beauty in his designs, and even more so in their creation.