There's nothing better than when design and social impact go hand in hand to create pieces of purpose that look good and do good. We believe that design has the power to uplift a community and employ and empower, with zero cost to the environment, which is why we've become super inspired of late by the wonderful work of Quazi Design.
Based in The Kingdom of Swaziland, Quazi Design is a creative social enterprise that is transforming the mountains of discarded waste magazines and newspapers from the region into unique accessories and home decor pieces. It is run by Doron, a designer from the UK who works collaboratively with local artisans.
Illustration of the making process, courtesy of Quazi Design
We've seen a shift in the UK from flickable magazines to keepable 'bookazines', but in Swaziland magazines are still incredibly popular, making recycling them into a key environmental issue.
Quazi Design products start their life as trees, which are made into magazines, and then cut up by hand and crafted into unique pieces to continue their story.
Heritage Collection Necklace, image courtesy of Quazi Design
The handcraft sector in Swaziland is thriving, which acts as a powerful example to all of Africa of the positive impact of design. Every Quazi Design product is handmade by local women, employing and empowering them through skill sharing so that they can earn a living wage. On average, women will spend up to 90% of their wages on health, nutrition and education, so this employment has a positive impact across the community.
Quazi Design is a founding member of SWIFT, Swaziland Fair Trade, and are active advocates for fair trade principles.
Image of Swaziland, courtesy of Quazi Design
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a stunning landlocked country covering 17,364 square kilometres of magnificent mountains in the south-eastern corner of Africa. Three quarters of its area is bordered by South Africa and one quarter by Mozambique.
With a population of just over one million, about 78.9% residing in rural areas, the unemployment rate is about 37.1 per cent and life-expectancy is 49 years.
Swaziland is a place where kings still rule relatively supreme and tribal traditions remain strong.
We spoke to Doron to find out more:
What motivated you to start Quazi Design?
Can you talk us through the design and production process?
What part of your job do you enjoy most?
Why do you think it's so important that people support independent design and ethical production?
You've lived all around the world! What's been your biggest adventure?
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