Claire Fouché, the former creative director for Fabergé, launched her eponymous jewelry collection in 2014. Produced exclusively in East Africa by skilled artisans, Claire has managed to repurpose Ankole cow horn into sumptuous cuffs and earring that we are dying to wear. This half South African half English designer only uses stones from conflict free mines and co-founded the Maisha Foundation to support talented young people from Kibera, Nairobi’s most notorious slum.
Why Africa? What do you love most about this country?
I grew up between South Africa and England and first traveled to Kenya after grade school in Capetown. I traveled along the East African coast with a friend on 'matatus' (small local minibuses) and then to Nairobi on the overnight train from Mombassa. Nairobi is a vast city of creative and highly skilled craftspeople and I fell in love with the Kenyan culture and lifestyle.
Describe your creations in three words.
Artisinal, sculptural, and statement.
Which materials do you use for your creations?
We use natural locally sourced materials such as wood and cow horn that is a by-product of the local meat industry. The fine finishing is done by hand in London using precious metals such as solid silver and set with coloured gem stones sourced from conflict-free mines around Africa.
What inspires you with your creations?
The design of Fouché jewelry has an Art Déco style that is inspired by the futurist and Art Déco buildings created by Italian architects in Africa in the 1930s. I love the modernity and sculptural shapes of Art Déco that complement the hand carved jewels in Fouché collections. My new designs combine enamel and cow horn and take inspiration from the paintings Sonia Delaunay and early cubist works of Picasso.
Fashion can be ethical. What do you do in this sense? Do you support African communities?
We create jewelry using materials that are sourced from ethical partners and offer fair-trade and sustainable employment to artisan groups across Nairobi and Kibera, Africa's largest slum.