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Woman-to-Woman: Designer Crushes

Woman-to-Woman: Designer Crushes

In celebration of Woman’s Month this August, I have decided to share with you my favourite three female South African designers.  We are always influenced by whatever we lay our eyes on each and every day and sometimes we don’t even know that it has influenced us. But we also intentionally pick and you choose what we want to influence us, what we allow ourselves to see, like, eat, hear and do.  Every day, we browse the internet, flick through newspapers and listen to friends, colleagues and family talk. We click on random links, read about new things and listen to interesting conversations and never quite know where things may go from there or quite know what is going to happen next.

I’m really thankful that I ended up on the websites of these three beautiful and talented ladies.  I must confess that I definitely have a woman crush (on all three) and am sure you will have too if you see what amazing things they are doing. Without sounding cliché, they really are inspiring. 

I can really relate to and absolutely love the unconventional choices of designs by Mia Widlake of Studio 19. The Johannesburg based designer started her company in 2009 with the aim of bringing back the care and creativity in their products that is often lost in the commercial production lines of today. The monochrome theme throughout and the recent inclusion of gold and rose gold keeps things trendy and Mia’s décor styling for shoots are really inspiring – she really does complete everything she set out to – encouraging people to make, craft, draw or just try anything. Absolutely love these products:

Lobster Jar - Studio 19 Scratchy Brass Cushion cover - Mia Widlake  Skeleton Set
Lobster Jar Scratchy Brass Cushion Cover Skeleton Set


Love Milo is a boutique homeware and décor studio based in Cape Town and created by the talented Nicki Elis. Using photographs taken of natural elements from in and around South Africa, Nicki has successfully extracted photography and art from its two dimensional spaces and into more functional forms that can be appreciated in daily life. Her combination combined of wooden saucers made from alien trees with geometric ink friendly designs on things like ceramic cups are very on trend and I adore the way she has brought it through her entire range.


Branch Coffee Mugs - Love Milo Tribal Fold Over Clutch Tribal Jar - Love Milo 

Branch Coffee Mugs

Tribal Fold Over Cluth

Tribal Jar


Elsje van Niekerk started Elsje Designs after getting married. Her wealth of experience from journalism and PR to graphic design, calligraphy, fine art and wine led her to create Elsje Designs which swiftly became the trend-setting supplier in the social stationery arena of posh weddings and events. After ten successful years in this niche industry, Elsje sold off the wedding specialist studio and re-launched Elsje Designs with a focus on out of the ordinary decor design that creates things to be touched and treasured. I really like the geometric metal mobile range with the airplants, I want one (or a few of each) for my own home.


Himmeli, Hanging Sculpture - Elsje Designs Orb: Round Table Sculpture - Elsje Designs Geometric Wreath - Elsje Designs

Himmeli 1: Hanging Sculpture

Orb: Round Table Sculpture

Geometric Wreath



I have asked each of the designers 3 unique questions. To mix things up and makes it a little more fun, because we all like some fun, I have muddled their answers, so you have to guess which questions fits with which designer. Three correctly identified users will be selected at random and will each win a prize from one of the ladies. Enter here.

Woman's Month Picks:

For the month of August we are selling 1 x product of each designer on the Sugar and Vice online shop at a special prize just for you! Shop it now here.

Woman's Day Picks on Sugar and Vice

Natalie Van Dijk Signature