Describing herself as a sustainable textile designer, Khumalo said, instead of focusing on trends, she wanted to create “heirloom pieces” that would be passed down through generations.
She is one of a group of designers from across Africa who were tasked with creating a range of items for well-known Swedish home furniture and decor store Ikea, under the label Overallt, which means “everywhere”.
The project started two years ago at the Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town, an event celebrating innovative design across sectors.
One of the Ikea designers teamed up with a group of designers, architects, artists and creatives from five African countries to design work under the theme modern urban rituals and the importance they play in the home.
The collection, a mixed bag of larger pieces of furniture, tableware, textiles, and a sustainable tote bag, among others will be launched this month at the festival in Cape Town.
“We were so excited to work on this project, bringing together people from different backgrounds and ideas, to collaborate on this beautiful project,” said Khumalo, now based in Cape Town and qualified in architecture and textile design.
While details of products cannot be revealed until the launch, Khumalo said each reflected the theme.
“I am very aware of what I consume and what would happen to it once I am done with it,” she said. “I care about the supply chain, and whether employees were treated fairly.
“I bring this into my work, ensuring fair employee rights, and how textiles are designed. If something is not made well, it will soon turn to waste. We, as designers and consumers, should design and demand products of quality that will last. Our grandparents believed in heirlooms that would be passed onto the next generation, so there was no wastage. Today, we simply throw things away,” she said.
Khumalo added that she had spent many days at the seaside in Durban, and was aware of marine pollution.
“I don’t use polyester or plastics in my work. I use linen and hemp because they are biodegradable. As designers, we have the choice, we all need to question how we make things and what would happen to them once they are not needed,” she said.
The collection will be available at all Ikea shops in May.Independent On Saturday