From Cape Town to Paris with Okapi
June 24, 2018
Posted by MARYANNE MAINA
Amastan Paris has partnership with South African destination store Merchants on Long. The Merchants Aime Paris pop-up will bring an exclusive capsule pop-up installation showcasing contemporary African art and design in Paris this autumn.
The Merchants Aime Paris installation at Amastan is a continuation of the Merchants pop ups, following on from the 2012 Merchants in London pop-up and the 2016 London summer pop-up.
Presented as a blank canvas platform for artistic expression, Pop-In continues the brand’s philosophy of curation and collaboration with a select and eclectic set of creative talents from around the world each free to interpret the space in their own way. Set on a running schedule of residencies spanning between one week and three months, Pop-In will feature art exhibitions and installations, screenings, window displays, showrooms and launches amongst others.
Hanneli Rupert, the founder and creator of Merchants On Long says the Paris successor to the Merchants pop-ups in London aims to bring the best of what Africa has to offer to Paris. The ethos behind Merchants is to curate and showcase beautifully, ethically made and sourced products from the African continent. All the brands stocked at Merchants are vetted for their quality, design and sustainable and ethical practices.
This ethos is shared with all the brands that will be stocked at the Paris installation as well as with her own luxury handbag brand Okapi, which will also be showcased at the Paris pop-up. As an iconic Cape Town brand Okapi sources all of its materials in the Western Cape of South Africa and does its manufacturing in the same province. This focus on skills development and employment creates positive change by developing sustainable jobs on the continent as well as in Europe, where the Okapi store is based in London.
“For Amastan to be able to collaborate with a brand that is so invested in their ethos on sustainability and ethics is something that we really value.” Zied Sanhaji, owner Amastan Hotels.
Alongside Okapi other designers showcasing at the Paris installation will include brands are sourced from various African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. Each brand will present a capsule offer.
The MERCHANTS AIME PARIS pop-up is from September 2nd until October 6th and will be holding designer hosted showcases throughout its residency. Okapi has exclusively pioneered the use of African game skins including Blesbok leather, an exotic skin that reflects the brand’s essence of meeting exceptionality and authenticity, with sustainability and little waste.
This unique skin can only be treated and tanned for Okapi by a select few, highly skilled local artisans in the Western Cape. As a result of the complex manufacturing process undertaken to produce each piece, there can only ever be a limited number of each style made per year, guaranteeing Okapi’s exclusivity.