South Africa X France
“Those who are beautiful”. This is the meaning of “Amahlé” in the South African indigenous language of isiZulu. For the ethical fashion brand, Amahlé is both a declaration and an invitation. The company was started by two French friends Carole and Chloé after one of them spent time studying in, and being inspired by, South Africa.
Amahlé’s products are not only inspired by South African traditional patterns, but they are also partly handcrafted by South African artisans. A distinctive style is achieved by the meeting of Parisian designers with South African craft.
Each piece, taking between two and eight hours of intricate beadwork to produce, is beaded in South Africa and completed with brass and gold finishings in Paris. The result: one-off Amahlé pieces embedded with the craftsmanship of two continents. Pieces include beaded bracelets, rings and necklaces bearing colours and patterns inspired by traditional South African stories, legends and beliefs. Drawing on Zulu courtship traditions, for example, Amahlé’s Zulu Love Bracelets carry messages of love and belonging. The South African Ndebele culture is another strong influence of Amahlé’s designs – identifiable by colourful geometric patterns. It was these shapes that inspired the company’s first range.
Binding Amahlé to its South African origins is a social mission to the business. The company’s jewellery-makers work with social empowerment organisations that focus on job-creation, healthcare, women empowerment and the preservation of traditional knowledge.
Each piece of Amahlé jewellery therefore carries legacies of good design and a message of being good to one’s community. A global company, Amahlé is sold in stores across France as well as in Spain, Germany, Japan, Seychelles, China and Los Angeles.