Wooden handbags creator Inga Gubeka adds leather to his repertoire
Inga Gubeka is already known in design circles as the creator of the wooden handbag brand Indalo Décor, which has long appealed to ''cool-kid" millennials who love to be Instagrammed carrying these edgy fashion pieces. The young, entrepreneurial designer has now left Indalo Décor to create a new line of handbags called Inga Atelier.
"Inga Atelier is a brand registered with a new company, Superior Africa Brands, which is the brainchild of my wife, Michelle, and of my friends Buhle Lekokotla and Mxolisi Nene, so it's 100% owned by young, black people," said Gubeka.
Soft leathers, simple shapes and a minimalist yet elegant finish are what Inga Atelier represents.
"Inga Atelier fashionably fuses technology with wooden and leather accessories.
"It's a bit of a departure from my previous work, but I've incorporated a bit of what I'm known for - fusing wood with some leather to give it a modern touch," said Gubeka.
"The decision to part ways with Indalo Decor was hard. My former business partners and I had different ideas about the strategic direction of the company."
In a country where young designers are being recognised for superb craft and skills, Gubeka emphasises the need to be relevant, trendy and perfect.
"Designers should learn to adapt to modern times and trends. They must be authentic, remain passionate about their craft and master it. The world has enough mediocre designers. To succeed we need to find that one thing that's not been done before, run with it and create a design DNA of it. We need to own our conceptions and processes," said Gubeka.
A man of many achievements, Gubeka was recently honoured by whisky makers Glenfiddich as their "Maverick of the Year".
"Being named the Glenfiddich maverick is such an honour. As a whisky connoisseur I couldn't be happier about the association, especially since I'm the first African to have a whisky named after him."
With major brand associations, it seems the charismatic handbag designer will have an interesting year ahead.
• This article was originally published in The Times