Sophia Bali

Sophia Bali

  1.  What Inspires you to create?

My Inability to observe and experience something or a situation and not be able to respond or give an account of it. The curious nature in me that drives me to consistently look for new ideas anywhere and everywhere. The opportunity to be clever, witty, humorous and  ingenious by providing an alternative use of materials and elevating the end product to luxury through interesting and skilled workmanship. Therefore I am inspired by the human body it’s construct and the way it moves, fashion, society, literature, conversations,my environment, my travels, culture, mine or other people’s experiences.

What drives me the most beyond engaging with someone else through the product is how that person engages with the product as well. The starting point of my design is the end, the goal is to be able to make a piece that is functional and fluid, so that the wearer becomes a part of the design process and is able to add a touch of their character and personality to the piece making it more valuable, relatable and personal. No two people will ever be wearing the same piece in the same way as they are each celebrating there unique identity through the piece.The ability to be able to reflect Africa now, how South Africa and Africa have evolved and continue to grow from generation to generation. We are not a stagnant continent, we are a very dynamic, vibrant and ingenious people who are extremely rich in idea generation and workmanship.

Sophia Bali

  1. When did you decide to pursue a career as a creator?

I have always been a creative, I don’t remember a time when I was not creating something or the other. I always knew that I would have a career in the creative industry, I just did not know how and as what, as I was not subject to one creative outlet. The challenge was in figuring out what in the broader spectrum I was more passionate about and received the most fulfilment from.

I have always had a love for jewellery, unique ethnic pieces that were embedded with history and nostalgia. You would have to troll different markets to find such, the older I got the less of these pieces I found. Then enriching experiences with traders also became less as they no longer had interest in the origin of the pieces they sold or what materials were used and why.  This is one of the reasons that lead on the journey of becoming a contemporary jewellery designer six years ago. I wanted to be able to share this experience with other people as well as challenge the ideas that people had about jewellery and what makes something a luxury good.

  1. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

Having successfully entered the lifestyle market, I think that is my biggest goal that I’m tirelessly working towards. Obtaining and being surrounded by a skilled team so as not to be heavily entrenched in production, but more so in product development. To have expanded into different markets and countries. The long term goal is to be a Uniquely African lifestyle brand that would have worked it’s way not only into your wardrobe but into your living space, your vehicle, work space etc.

Sophia Bali

Sophia Bali

  1. What is your favourite Piece in your collection?

I don’t have a favourite Piece, or rather I haven’t made a piece that will trump everything I have done. Because of the constant flow of ideas in my head I’m constantly creating things, as soon as I have made something that could be my favourite Piece is as soon as it is displaced by another. I’m always on looking forward to the next piece. I think I enjoy the processes you have to go through to arrive at the outcome. Witnessing what came out of the countless decisions that were made at each stage of development, the additions and the subtractions that were made, trial and error, constructing and deconstructing, knowing what element changed the    dire tion of the piece.

Sophia Bali

  1. What three elements that are embedded in South African culture that has inspired your creations?

As a continent we are traditionally known to be a people who upcycled materials and objects that we obtained from trading. The sheer resourcefulness of taking something under valued and giving it a new utility, extending its life is definitely a point of inspiration and contact. You will find this in abundance in South Africa. I love being able to express indigenous aesthetics by using graphic geometric shapes as well as my bold use of colour.

Colour plays a major role in our history and so it remains a predominant factor in our social interactions and perceptions of one another as South Africans. The use of colour in my pieces is used as a vehicle to express and affect a mood and information.

The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity, there is a constant need to be able to integrate former stories and history with the present by celebrating heritage and instilling pride in where one comes from. Historically learning particular skills would mark the rites of passage of one season of your life into another, this is how you would pass down skills from one generation to the next. This has definitely my products being handmade, continually learning and applying new skills to the pieces and the level of workmanship.

Sophia Bali

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