Creative & Innovative

The UmhlangaSeptember 6, 2023

The word “design” can be used as a noun and a verb. It is the plan or concept for a project, or it refers to the actual process of creating this plan. It takes great talent and creativity to conjure up original concepts and then bring them to life. We dive into the world of design and meet the incredible local women behind the brands.

Jessica Shuttleworth is a local fashion and textile designer based in Durban. Her brand is minimalist, timeless and Japanese-inspired, specialising in ladies’ apparel. “My garments show off oversized draping, boxy shaping and asymmetrical styling,” she explains. Her design process has been inspired by her trips to the East, incorporating the flowy yet edgy characteristics found in the street style culture of the area. “I focus on three elements – unique designs, comfort and quality fabrics as well as fine details in the construction of my garments,” Jessica elaborates.


“Instead of chasing trends, I focus on pieces that will last for years to come,” she says. Her garments allow for layered wearing. You can dress them up or down depending on the season and occasion. She currently stocks in Umhlanga with an exclusive collab range that highlights slow fashion. This range is characterised by the slogan: “Buy less, choose well, anti-trends and discourage fast fashion.” You can also find Jessica’s collection online and her Instagram @jessicashuttleworth_designer.


Meet Bianca Harvey, a seasoned interior designer from Umhlanga Rocks. With her father in the kitchen design industry and mother in the interior design industry, her career choice was meant to be. “As a child, I would sit alongside my mother as she worked on elite residential design schemes, and thus began a passion that couldn’t be tamed.” Although she was encouraged to pursue a career in IT, she followed her passion and insisted on making a career in design.


Bianca started her own practice in 2016, focusing on niche interior design projects. “I gathered the courage and started my own showroom and employed a team of intrepid designers,” she explains. This is the current HDF Group Pty Ltd that focuses on major interior design projects ranging from luxury residential and hospitality to commercial and corporate interior design spaces throughout South Africa. Follow @hdf_group on Instagram to check out her latest projects! 



We hop from organising your spaces to organising your time. Jayne Frew, born and bred in the 031, designs and creates planners to help simplify your life. “I’ve been working in the industry for over two decades with a passion for textiles,” she shares. 


Having two energetic boys, along with managing a home and working full-time, Jayne’s life was busy, full, and often stressful, “To simplify our day-to-day living, I designed a practical, aesthetically pleasing, wipeable and magnetic monthly planner, which not only helped us stay organised but also brought a calmness to my world.” 


Creating these planners inspired her to start JellyPickle Paintings in 2017. Her range caters to diverse preferences and styles, offering a variety of options. Whether it’s family organisers, daily, weekly, or monthly planners, reward charts, weekly meal planners, student planners, or teachers’ lesson planners, each product is wipeable, and magnetic and comes with a slimline whiteboard marker. You can easily place it on the fridge or pin it to a corkboard.


“I personally design and package every item in the range, and they are manufactured locally using high-quality materials to ensure durability, functionality, and longevity.” They also help to create a “Pinterest style” space with on-trend designs so the planners look pretty and help you to stay on track with your tasks! Head on to @jellypicklepaintings on Instagram to see her awesome products.


Lastly, we have Welicia Canning from Leesha Fine Jewellery. She designs and brings to life beautifully made solid gold jewellery at affordable prices. “Spotting a gap during COVID in 2019, I tapped into the online market and have managed to gain over 20 000 followers on Instagram!” 


Based in Umhlanga, her workshop is a family-owned business and has been around for over 45 years, currently supplying around 400 jewellery stores across SA. “We are a “one-stop shop” which means we supply our own diamonds (GIA and EGL certified) and all precious metals – your pieces never leave the workshop!” she says.


Welicia always loved doing things differently and wanted to incorporate this mindset into her jewellery business. She wondered why traditional jewellery is so expensive and looked for a way she could allow more people to feel the luxury of owning real gold and diamonds. Her fashion, design and sales background facilitated the unconventional twist on the traditional jewellery market. “If a woman feels good on the outside, it gives her confidence on the inside.” Find your dream jewellery on Instagram @leeshafinejewellery


Trusting your gut and creative side can be daunting, especially when it comes to opening your own business and marketing your creations to the public. Let’s hear it for these design dames! 


Words: Cristina Govender

Welicia’s Photos: Michigan Behn Photography