I first saw some iSpy cushions, whilst on holiday in South Africa a few years ago. They were in a shop in Knysna, where my husband’s family lives and Lauren Frates, the designer of iSpy products, works. I fell in love with the bold colours and simplicity of the designs.
Lauren trained as a graphic designer. She loves bright, fresh colour palettes and her style is influenced by mid century Scandinavian design. Lauren’s South African roots are evident in many of her designs: the pincushion and protea flowers are quintessential South African icons, to which she has given a retro–contemporary twist. All iSpy products are traditionally silkscreen printed in South Africa by a small family-run company based in Knysna. No two prints are exactly alike, imbuing the finished product with character and creating something that can’t be duplicated.
On one visit I met Beatrice, who with her team of ladies, sews Lauren's wonderful bags, cushions and home furnishings. Beatrice is one of those selfless people who just gives and gives. In her spare time she runs a soup kitchen, teaches art to township children and works with her community to empower them with knowledge about HIV.