The accessories brand Nawalika was formed in 2012 by the mother-daughter team of Celine and Michelle Verwiel with a vision to create awareness through eco-fashion. In the last three years they have focused on creating unique accessories from raw, industrial, recycled and up-cycled materials, experimenting with these materials to “give new life to something old and used.” With the launch of their men’s collection ‘Babalika’ late last year, they have taken this vision to another level with signature items such as the ‘Safe Lock Leather Cuff.’
Nawalika’s style has always fused Africa’s natural products and patterns with contemporary design, drawing inspiration from the environment around them. This has also extended to reaching out to their community to engage them in an exercise of ‘give-and-take’ in the hope that it would change the notion of what really counts as waste by recycling and up-cycling materials they no longer use.
This safe lock leather cuff is handmade from oil tan leather and an old recycled lock safe from Michelle’s uncle who, according to Michelle, “has been playing around with locks since 1976, fiddling... it was always his dream”. In pursuit of this dream, in 1990, he bought a lock making firm from the heart of lock making country in the UK and moved the company to Kenya along with all the tools and components for making hotel room safes. Unfortunately, with the advent of digital safes, some parts, such as this lock, became obsolete.
Nawalika have often used melted down recycled aluminium and the locks were donated with this in mind. However, Celine and Michelle decided to use the whole lock part as it complimented the raw and industrial aesthetic of their men’s line.
Photograph courtesy of Babalika.